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Old 3rd November 2010   #1
HSG
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Join Date: July 2005
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Default A look at FFFWeek L.A.


The highlight of every Full-Figured Fashion Week is, of course, the grand finale--the main runway show, which takes place on the Saturday night. Two girls proved to be the most gorgeous girls on the catwalk at the L.A. event: Rosie Mercado, who wowed the audience when she closed the Igigi fashion show in a gorgeous white bridal gown, and a new talent named Jamie Bruce (whose efforts we will discuss presently).

All in all, the runway show was a splendid presentation, full of life and energy. The models were all size 14 or higher--a fact that remains FFFWeek's greatest claim to fame, the stipulation that sets it apart and above every other plus-size runway show in the world.

Having attended the One Stop Plus runway show earlier this year, we must affirm that there is simply no comparison between seeing meagre faux-plus size 10/12s on the runway and seeing gorgeous, voluptuous, well-fed goddesses in sizes 14, 16, 18 (and even a size 28) on the catwalk. The bigger girls who populate FFFWeek are simply far more impressive in terms of their physical presence. The clothing visibly and indisputably looks better on their more generous proportions than it does on their underweight size-10/12 rivals.

By this fact alone, FFFWeek surpasses OSP, Elena Miro, and even the Lane Bryant Cacique shows of the early 2000s. As the only internationally recognized plus-size fashion show that puts genuinely full-figured female bodies on the runway (apart from Brazil's FWPS), FFFWeek is in a class of its own. Not even the extraordinarily high production values of the other shows can make up for FFFWeek's superiority in having luscious, abundant, opulent models, because ultimately, in any plus-size fashion show, the promotion of the larger female figure must come first. Everything else is secondary.

FFFWeek L.A. was also a step above the One Stop Plus event in terms of clothing. True, the comparison is a bit unfair, because OSP only fielded a single collection, whereas FFFWeek fielded 13. But if we consider the overall quality of the fashions that appeared on the runway in L.A., they were far younger and more body conscious than those from One Stop Plus. The attire was roughly comparable in allure to the styles that appeared at this year's New York FFFWeek, perhaps even a bit more daring.

The L.A. event does have a few areas in which it could be improved, however. The New York incarnation of FFFWeek had a much more impressive setting, far better lighting, and most notably, better music. (These also happened to be the areas in which the OSP show excelled.) However, as said before, those elements pale into insignificance compared to the aspects that matter most in plus-size runway shows: model size (and beauty), and fashion stylishness. And in the latter two areas, FFFWeek is untouchable.

* * *

Each incarnation of FFFWeek brings with it at least one or two especially gorgeous models who command public attention, from Katherine Roll to Kailee O'Sullivan to Lindsey Garbelman. Apart from Rosie Mercado's surprise runway turn--which garnered the loudest cheers of the entire evening--we were particularly struck by the beauty of an up-and-coming model named Jamie Bruce, an Idaho native based out of L.A.

Jamie walked in five shows, opening one of them and closing two. Here she is in her most attractive piece of the night--and perhaps the finest outfit of the whole show--a fitted, abbreviated dress adorned with ruffles, from Forever 21+.

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Jamie is a full size 16 with amazing measurements: 48-38-49. She combines the best features of the hourglass (voluptuous bust), apple (full waist) and pear (womanly hips) body types. Her fullness in every aspect of her figure enabled her to beautifully fill out this dress. No faux-plus model could have made it look this good.

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Jamie even exhibits some attractive weight in her face. The hat was a stylist's whimsy, but it is easy to imagine this dress without the headgear and the cardigan, and to see how effectively it showcases the soft, generous physique of a true plus-size goddess such as this.

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Incidentally, for our images of the event we are merely using video stills rather than professional photographs. Anyone wishing to see the traditional head-on account of the runway can view the Webshots album of Michael Anthony Hermogeno, who took professional photographs of every look.

Jamie's second outfit of the evening was a brown, sleeveless dress from an up-and-coming plus-size designer named Jill Alexander. Notice, once again, the abbreviated length. This was one of the keynotes of the evening, as many of the pieces showed off the models' shapely legs.

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The dress fit Jamie's body beautifully, snugly embracing her luscious proportions. In particular, the close fit around the model's middle created a very seductive effect, defining her every curve.

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As is the case with many runway shows, the models were given a uniform hairstyle--in this instance, a tied-back bun. Jamie benefitted from this style more than anyone else, as the pulled-back hair showcased the gorgeous roundness of her facial features, and gave her an elegant yet sensually well-fed look.

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In her third ensemble of the evening, the model donned her most conservative outfit. This top/pant/jacket combination was the opening look from Abundance, an L.A. shop that caters to a more mature customer. Yet even in this wardrobe, Jamie demonstrated how much any outfit benefits from being showcased on a buxom, fleshy model. Observe the business that Jamie undertook as she walked down the catwalk:

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What she was doing was opening her jacket, and as she stood at the head of the runway, she proudly exposed her magnificent figure. Observe how even the two female audience members to the right (who helm the popular Sonsi plus-size shopping site) were awed by the revelation of Jamie's glorious curves.

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Gwen DeVoe introduced this line as being for the more mature woman of classier tastes "who might not be interested in going to the club"--to which one wag from the audience responded, "But she can if she wants!" On a model with the kind of dangerous, sinful body that Jamie possesses, such a possibility is entirely conceivable. To be certain, no skinnier model could have made this conservative outfit look so desirable.

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Jamie's fourth look was a show-stopper, an outfit from the lingerie label Hips and Curves. We at the Judgment of Paris are not at all fond of corsets, as they artificially constrict a plus-size model's most gorgeous figure feature, her full waist; yet one cannot deny that this ensemble had its charm.

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In particular, Jamie's presentation of this outfit revealed the hitherto-elusive appeal of thigh-highs with garters. On thinner models, this type of lingerie always seemed pointless, but on a shapely model such as this, the sensual aspect of the style is revealed: it showcases the model's full thighs.

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The corset also seductively displayed the soft, swelling curves along the model's back.

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If anyone needed further convincing as to why FFFWeek is such an inspirational event, so effective in promoting a size-positive mindset, they need look no further than to the next two images. Not only did the Hips and Curves thigh-highs show off the model's gorgeous proportions, but even the "dimpled flesh" of her legs--a natural characteristic that magazines insultingly Photoshop into oblivion, but which is in fact an attractive, normal feature of womanly fullness.

Click to enlarge

For years, size-celebration advocates have been clamouring to end magazine airbrushing and to have plus-size models presented as being both gorgeous and natural, exhibiting all of the lovely, human traits that characterize true femininity. FFFWeek is one of the few venues in which such natural beauty can be seen.

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Jamie's final look of the evening was a creative, exotic style from a designer named Youtheary Khmer (a Cambodian talent, as the name implies).

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Although the furry top did not define the model's figure, one has to applaud the styling, and particularly the creative headpiece that the model was given to wear. It is always a pleasure to see young designers visually referencing their ethnic heritage.

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Not only did Jamie close the Khmer show, but she was also the final girl to take a turn on the runway in the concluding model parade. No one could have been a better choice to end the show, as her beauty had been the visual high point of the night.

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As a coda, here is a candid of Jamie backstage. If you find that her soft facial features remind you of a young Kate Winslet, except with dark hair, you won't be the first.

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Bravo to Gwen DeVoe and to the entire FFFWeek production team (designers and models included) for another stunning success. Let the critics say what they want about the minor technical glitches. The fact is that in a plus-size runway show, two things are paramount: models who are gorgeous and genuinely full-figured, and attractive fashions. As the above images demonstrate, Full-Figured Fashion Week L.A. delivered on both counts.

FFFWeek is one of the world's most powerful delivery devices for size celebration, and every incarnation of the event brings us one step closer to the restoration of timeless beauty.

(Click images to enlarge.)


Last edited by HSG : 4th November 2010 at 06:39.
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