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Old 25th September 2010   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default OneStopPlus Runway Show (video)

We were greatly honoured to be invited to the runway show that took place in New York last week, and were most curious to see how it would turn out.

A complete review follows, but let us sum up our reflections with the following general observation: the event was surely notable and groundbreaking, and was very professionally put together, but it was also exceptionally cautious, in ways that we will shortly describe. We hope that future incarnations of the show will be even bolder in their promotion of size celebration by featuring fuller-figured models.

"Future incarnations," you ask? Yes, there will indeed be more OSP runway shows, as the company's creative director Nancy LeWinter told us in a brief interview that we will post in a subsequent thread.

* * *

As we arrived at the Frederick Rose Theatre and ascended the elevator to the Atrium, we were intrigued to see a number of celebrities already present and receiving consideable press attention. Among them was Whitney Thompson, who, as Kaitlynn observed in a previous thread, wore a stunning Adrianna Papell lace dress that clung to her every curve and precisely defined her figure. Whitney is very slim, but seeing her in person, we once again noted the "slight rise" of a "slope toward the throat" in her facial features, which endows her with at least a touch of visible fullness.

However, we were particularly taken with the sight of a group of models wearing black blazers and T-shirts emblazoned with the logo "Curvy Girls Rock." These were the girls from Model Service Agency's plus-size "Goddess" division, most notably the gorgeous Lindsey Garbelman, who was the star of Full-Figured Fashion Week 2010. Seeing her prior to the show was wonderful, yet bittersweet, because it confirmed that she would not be walking the runway on this occasion.

Shortly thereafter we encountered the stunning Andrea Horblitt, who is also with the Goddess division. She wore the most eye-catching and alluring outfit of the day, a daring ensemble that showcased her opulent size 14/16 figure. Like Lindsey, Andrea is even more gorgeous in person than she is in her images. We quickly snapped a photograph of these two goddesses, who were easily the most beautiful girls at the event.

Click to enlarge

Upon confirming our presence at the registry desk, we were honoured to receive a "Backstage Press" pass. However, we could not actually bring ourselves to venture backstage before the show. With memories of Whitney Thompson being forced to publicly disrobe prior to a runway challenge during America's Next Top Model, we didn't want to intrude on the modesty of the participating models, in case they were still in a state of undress.

Click to enlarge

Outside the Atrium, the event's organizers had set up an official backdrop where the attending celebrities positioned themselves to be photographed, as is customary at such events. This has always struck us as a curiosity. Wouldn't one prefer to keep out of the camera's eye rather than willingly step into it? But perhaps this is what it means to be a celebrity--the desire, or even the necessity, of having one's picture taken by the paparazzi.

Click to enlarge

Moving past the press area, we entered the Atrium itself and were absolutely stunned. The physical environment was the most phenomenal aspect of the entire event. Walking into this room of white draperies, white carpeting, white chairs, with pure white light pouring in from the outside, was like entering the Celestial Room of a Mormon Temple. With the high ceilings, it created a sense of awe and wonder and established a posh, professional tone for the ensuing production.

Click to enlarge

As we were waiting for the show to begin, we caught several more glimpses of Miss Horblitt, who looked truly stunning with her golden tresses, flushed cheeks, and plunging decolletage that celebrated her voluptuousness. It was a pleasure, frankly, to see a glimpse of true plus-size beauty at a plus-size runway show.

Click to enlarge

Andrea also wore an abbreviated miniskirt that showed off her full, shapely legs. It was an eye-catching ensemble, and made one dearly wish that she and Lindsey had been chosen to walk the runway.

Click to enlarge

The seating assignments for the show were carefully marked. Each chair featured a glossy program, as well as a thoughtful and pricey but very female-oriented gift bag containing cosmetics and other sundry women's items. Someday, in lieu of fashion/beauty products, some forward-thinking label will instead present its attendees with items of more significant interest--works of literature, perhaps, or CDs of classical music.

The program was an elegant brochure that reflected the top-flight production values of the show. The cover illustration resembled blown glass, and was aesthetically pleasing, even if the body on display was not particularly plus-size.

Click to enlarge

The most interesting page in the catalogue described the concept behind the show and explained why it was dubbed "Belle Époque." When we initially heard that the OSP show would be so named, we were most intrigued, because the period in history deemed the "Belle Époque"--the late 19th century up to World War I--represents the absolute summit of Western civilization, the time of the greatest flowering of art (Academic Classicism) architecture (Historicism) and music (Romanticism). While the OSP show adopted the French term for this time period, in England it is known as the Victorian Era (the time of the British Empire's greatest flowering) and in Germany as the Gründerzeit, the glorious epoch when Otto von Bismarck unified the German kingdoms into one empire under Prussia's mighty hand, forging the greatest state that Germany has ever known.

OneStopPlus undoubtedly chose the French term for this era due to Parisian fashion associations. The show's tag line, "Opulence is obtainable, Shape is sexy, Plus is perfect," was brilliant conceived, particularly the use of the term "opulent," since opulence was the governing aesthetic of this time period, and vividly characterizes the appeal of the plus-size female figure.

Click to enlarge

Indeed, Belle Époque elements should have been more prominently represented in the show, given that the era's aesthetic so perfectly harmonizes with plus-size beauty. While we loved the Atrium's pure white environment, New York abounds with venues that were actually built during the Victorian Era and could have provided an authetnic Belle Époque backdrop for the show. Furthermore, the OSP clothing had only the slightest Belle Époque touches and would have greatly benefitted from more.

* * *

Another page in the catalogue listed the sequence of looks that appeared on the runway. Please refer back to these as you view our complete video of the runway show, posted below.

Click to enlarge has already posted a series of stills from the event, along with an official video. However, despite the fact that our own camera work is shaky and amateurish, we are pleased to offer readers this additional visual record of the event. The press lights at the end of the OSP runway had a slightly bluish tinge, whereas at the head of the runway, where we were fortunately situated, the pure white light coming in through the window offered a much more pleasing and natural look, and better displayed the garments.

Furthermore, the official OSP video has replaced the original runway music, which YouTube calls "M.A.N.D.Y. & Booka Shade - Donut (Gui Boratto Remix)," with a different, more sedate track. Our own amateur video retains the original music, captures more of the energy of the original show, and demonstrates what the event actually looked like from the perspective of the audience members.

The models walked very well, with no trips or falls. While some of the girls failed to adopt the type of stable runway facial expressions that produce good still photos, their runway technique was uniformly excellent.

As to the clothes themselves, we have encountered a wide variety of reactions. We will only add one observation: that some of the styles could have been a tad more body-conscious. In particular, we noted that the two size-16 models in the show were regrettably given the loosest styles to wear, while the thinnest models were given more form-fitting fashions. This reflects the point that we made at the beginning of this review--that future OSP productions would benefit from greater body confidence, with more fitted styles showing off the curves of more generously proportioned models.

It is in the area of model size that OSP has the greatest potential for improvement. Model size is ever the most crucial point, compared to which all other factors pale into insignificance. After all, the show's whole raison d'être was to put plus-size bodies on the runway.

Arguably, it was only the fact that there were two size 16s in the show that qualified this as a plus-size event at all. If had merely gone with size 10/12s, à la Elena Miro, then one would have had to ask, "What was the point?"

Having two size 16s was certainly something. However, "Belle Époque" inevitably invites comparisons between itself and the final runway showcase of Full-Figured Fashion Week, and between these two groundbreaking events, we have to give our nod to the latter. At Full-Figured Fashion Week the models began at a size 14, with most being 16s, 18s, etc. Furthermore, the FFFWeek fashions were more daring and body conscious.

Also, while the Belle Époque show was flawless, it was extremely brief--15 minutes in total, with no introductory or closing statements. At its conclusion, most of the participants could hardly believe that it was already over, and an encore performance would not have been unwelcome. At Full-Figured Fashion Week, by contrast, up to 13 designers stage full-figured shows, one after another, in an event that lasts several wonderful hours.

Moreover, while the the show certainly excited the fashion crowd and the press, FFFWeek had the significant advantage of being a multi-day event, thus creating a complete environment of size celebration, an entire world apart suffused by plus preference and a pro-curvy mindset. Emerging from the OSP show, one was thrust right back into the world of straight-size fashion, in all of its anorexia worship.

* * *

In conclusion, we enthusiastically applaud for their efforts, and for the considerable time, care, and resources they devoted to producing a show that had the highest possible production values and displayed an unassailable feeling of legitimacy.

However, we earnestly hope that future incarnations of the show will feature fuller-figured models. Thankfully, the Belle Époque runway was not exclusively peopled by 5'11 size 12s, as we initially dreaded that it was going to be, but featured at least two size-16 models. But to earn the most enthusiastic accolades of the full-figured public, future incarnations of the OSP fashion would greatly benefit from more 14s, 16s, 18s, and 20s.

Why not? Both FFFWeek and its Brazilian equivalent, Fashion Weekend Plus Size, have demonstrated that genuinely full-figured models can and do look absolutely stunning on the runway, and make the fashions that they exhibit appear gorgeous and feminine. If OSP retains the level of quality that it exhibited in its inaugural show, but becomes bolder in size celebration, it will create an event that will inspire every full-figured woman and will change the fashion world forever.

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