Gwen DeVoe’s Fuller Figured Fashion Week is covered by The New Yorker. Photo: Pari Dukovic / Trunk Archive
Plus sizes had a huge year. Whether it was Denise Bidot walking in the Chromat show during New York Fashion Week or Candice Huffine posing in latex for the Pirelli calendar, in 2014 women size 14 and up moved from the fashion industry’s margins to its center.
On the runway, former plus-size model Gwen DeVoe’s Fuller Figured Fashion Week was covered by The New Yorker. “The atmosphere is celebratory, rather than cutthroat,” reporter Lizzie Widdicombe wrote. Lane Bryant and Isabel Toledo put on a plus-size show in New York that was attended by editors from Glamour and Vogue. And Bidot opened Chromat’s show in a Jetsons-style leotard—with the skinnier models trailing behind her. “Being a curvy girl, it was neat to say, ‘Hey, I can get this,’ ” Bidot told Elle.
The clothes, too—once shoved aside as “fat-girl clothes”—have become less shapeless and more stylish. Nicolette Mason, the blogger who writes Marie Claire’s “Big Girl in a Skinny World” column and her own eponymous style blog, collaborated with ModCloth on a line that anyone can shop (seriously). The long sheer skirts, fitted sweaters, and flirty dresses are available in size XS to size 4X.
Nicolette Mason—blogger and Marie Claire’s “Big Girl in a Skinny World”—launched a line with ModCloth for ALL sizes, from XS to 4X. Photo: ModCloth
In addition, borrow-a-dress website Rent the Runway improved the party-outfit scene. They now have dresses to loan in sizes 14W-22W from designers like Badgley Mischka, Kay Unger, and Anna Scholz. And actress Melissa McCarthy is launching a plus-size collection next fall that definitely won’t be dark or tent-like. “I always said, ‘Why can’t I find great stuff?’ ” she told People.
(L) Plus-size model Denise Bidot opened Chromat’s runway at New York Fashion Week—she led the straight-size models. Photo: Getty Images® Rent The Runway now has dresses available in sizes 14W-22W (from designers like Badgley Mischka, Kay Unger, and Anna Scholz).
The numbers back up the big year: Plus-size apparel sales have grown 3 percent and now make up almost $18 billion of the $116 billion women’s apparel business. “Before, in the plus-size modeling community, the girls rarely wanted the clothes they were modeling, and now they’re posting them on Instagram at the shoot,” Gary Dakin, who runs the modeling agency JAG, which represents only women size 6 and up, told YahooStyle.
Candice Huffine is the first plus-size model ever to be in the sexy, provocative Pirelli calendar.
Lingerie especially was entwined with the curvy women who can wear it best. Candice Huffine became the first plus-size model to be featured in the provocative, selective Pirelli calendar—in a rubber leotard that stopped just short of covering her breasts. Vogue.com published a lingerie editorial—shot by Cass Bird—featuring bigger chests than it usually does; the story was called “The Best Lingerie Comes in All Sizes.”
“In betweener” model Myla Dalbesio is featured by Calvin Klein lingerie: It’s controversial. Women think the brand is trying to pass her off as plus-size—at a size 10.
And even though Calvin Klein hiring “in betweener” model Myla Delbesio for its “Perfectly Fit” lingerie line was controversial—some women said that a size 10 shouldn’t be the representative for larger ladies—it was still a move in a more inclusive direction. And she looked stunning in those ads.
Nickolay Lamm made a Barbie that has an average woman’s proportions, and little girls loved it.
What may create the most change, however, is a doll. Nickolay Lamm, 26, developed what he describes as “average Barbie,” a plaything with a real woman’s proportions (as determined by Center for Disease Control’s data). Little girls—who have most likely never even heard the term plus size—loved her. One second-grader told Time, “She’s not like other dolls… she looks real.” Here’s to the future.