Beauty Fashion Fashion illustration

Curvy revolution

February 21, 2017
Christian Siriano fall winter 2017 fashion illustration Al Draws Alessia Landi watercolor new york fashion week curvy plus size

In the moment I’m writing this, New York Fashion Week is over and the fashion world moved their attention on to the runways of London, Milan and Paris.

Everyone and their mother has already talked about this topic and I guess every woman interested in fashion (and with an Instagram account) has already read the opinion on the matter of several bloggers and magazines. I thought “YEAH! I’m going to write an article about this too!” but then life happened and it took me ten days to find the time to make the illustration above. And three days after making the illustration I still had to write a post. And the hype kinda passed… And I was almost about to give up talking about this at all.

But then I thought “Hey, I’m going to write this anyway. All my friends on Facebook probably have no clue* of the little miracle that happened on the runways of New York and it’s cool if they get to know it too”.
So here I am writing this post.
*The majority of my friends is a scientist or an engineer or a researcher and since apparently I like stereotypes very much I am assuming that none of them reads Vogue or BOF :p

So what happened in New York?

Well, what happened was that three (not one but THREE) major designers decided to feature curvy models on their runways, traditionally reserved for an all-size-0 show.

You might think this is a small, stupid issue but it means so much more than just a number on the tag of a dress.
It’s a powerful message that times are changing and the fashion industry, which traditionally used to hide in an apolitical fortress, is embracing this change too.

You see, the real revolution here is that I’m not talking about a runway show entirely dedicated to a plus-size collection, like the ones of Elena Miro’ or similar designers.
I’m talking about adding curvy models to a show traditionally reserved to one and only body type: skinny.
I used to watch those shows and sigh: I’m not plus-size in the technical meaning of the term, I’m wearing a size 8 which becomes size 10 post-holidays. This size is considered to be standard and by all means healthy but still, looking at the models passing by on the runway, I couldn’t help but realize that most of those clothes would never fit me, or fit me well, even if I had the money to buy them.

And the feeling, honestly is kind of depressing. Why do I have to give up wearing all that magnificent beauty just because I was made with a generous butt and boobs? Am I wrong? Am I different?

But this time, looking at the runways of Christian Siriano, Michael Kors and Prabal Gurung I could almost hear the designers talking through their creations and sending out a very positive message: “Women, you’re beautiful! And we’re making clothes that will perfectly fit you, whatever body type you are!”.

This mix of models finally showed that being curvy is actually the most normal thing in the world. And being skinny is the most normal thing in the world.
(If they had added a size 8 or 12 here and there, instead of just focusing on the extremes, it would have been perfect, but can’t pretend too much, even from revolutions).

It’s not that mainstream fashion never featured curvy women. On the contrary, there have been occasions in which a size 14 top model has been put on a fashion magazine spread.
But you know, I’ve always hated those Vogue editorials “dedicated” to curvy women.
I’ve said it in one of my posts before as well, I’ve never liked this huge pat on the back that Vogue gives to itself every time this type of article appears on its pages, saying “great, also for this year you’ve published the politically correct article on curvy bodies, now you can finally avoid to think about fat women – because hey Anna, we know that’s what you’re actually thinking – for the rest of the year”.  Also, honestly I’m a bit tired of seeing these models used only in sexy and lingerie-themed photo shoots. Like the only thing you can be good at if you have a decent pair of boobs and a round butt is to go around half naked in a provocative pose.
Euh, nope.

Why can’t we just see an editorial with a curvy woman wearing clothes?
And with “clothes” I don’t mean a swimsuit or a blazer open to show a lace bustier (with accompanying cleavage of course).

Why can’t we just see an editorial with curvy models, instead of only editorials about curvy models?
Is that because a size 12 woman is not elegant or fashionable enough to represent the latest collections of Gucci or Chanel? Please explain me this one, ‘cause I don’t get it.

But I sense that finally this is all changing.
Because when you put a (so called) plus-size and a size 0 model next to each other on the same fashion show and you’re not relegating her to some kind of annual curvy-only special feature, that is a big change.
And it’s good.

I’m not that optimistic to see this revolution touch the runways of London, Paris and Milan yet because I think Europe is still not ready for this somehow. I think it’s all happening in America (open political bracket) because Trump’s presidency disaster is opening everyone’s eyes and one of the consequences is this huge feminist movement that it’s starting right there, in New York and in the States (close political comment).
And it’s beautiful that fashion is reacting too, because it’s such a huge part of women’s life and America’s economy.

I hope it won’t stay just an act of protest though.
I hope that this awakening of the fashion world will continue and little by little the presence of every body type and skin colour in fashion will become so normal that we won’t even notice it anymore.
I hope one day diversity won’t be called like that anymore because it will simply be normality.

It might just be a wish but I am optimistic because I see beautiful things happening and I don’t want to believe that this awakening is simply going to end when the political situation will be stable and favourable again.

And while I keep hoping, I will just sit back, relax and enjoy this beautiful show.

xx Al

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