The Curvy Girls changing the face (and shape) of Fashion.

Last year, curvy girls seemed to explode onto the fashion scene. Christina Hendricks led the way with her much-lusted after hourglass shape that she showed off to great effect in her role as Joan in ‘Mad Men’. She became a Grazia cover girl, and went on to become the face of Vivienne Westwood’s jewellery collection. Beth Ditto sashayed down the catwalk for Jean Paul Gaultier, exuding confidence and stealing the show. Amber Riley became a major star in Glee and also began to feature on best dressed lists, whilst Crystal Renn, the most famous plus sized model, became one of the faces (if not the body) of Chanel. It seemed that the fashion world had finally woke up to the fact that women actually came in different sizes, and decided to act upon this fact.

2011 has seen more positive moods towards positive representation of curvier girls in the world of fashion. This week there has been much excitement about the Cover of Vogue Italia, which features three plus sized models in a photograph which could’ve been taken on the set of La Dolce Vita. Featuring Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley in their underwear, and shot by Steven Meisel, it is a stunning shot. Editor Franca Sozzini says ‘A growing number of readers are now asking to see – even in fashion magazines – a real world, made of real people who are not obsessed with staying thin, but are able instead to naturally accept and respect their bodies as they are.’

This is Robyn Lawley’s second important magazine cover this year, in March she was featured as the cover girl for French Elle magazine. It was a fabulous high fashion shot that belied the argument that clothes look better on thin girls.
But Robyn is not the only curvy model making waves. Marquita Pring is building up a fabulous portfolio of fashion shots, including a recent shoot for Evans. She has also been supported by the influential Huffington Post. Toccara Jones has also continued to have a high-profile, featuring in a Now fashion  feature which proves that plus size fashion is starting to make an impact on mainstream magazines. Look magazine has a real commitment to ‘real’ women, featuring models who range from tiny size 6, right into the realms of plus size, both in the magazine and in their fashion shows.
Marquita Pring
Look curvy models

Toccara Jones

Tara Lynn

There are now far more visible role models for women who are not the perfect size 10, or, heaven forbid, size 0. Queen Latifah is a spokeswomen and model for Cover Girl cosmetics. Adele, the musical breakout star of the year, has graced numerous magazine covers,including US Elle. Glee’s Amber Riley has proved a stunning presence as a cover girl for Essence magazine. Hayley Hasselhoff, daughter of David and a new curvy role model for teenage girls everywhere, is making a splash as the face of

Queen Latifah for Cover Girl


Hayley Hasselhoff for


The High street is also making really effective moves towards catering for a plus-size market. Evans has further updated its collections with a stunning range of Ruby Rocks dresses, whilst Primark has expanded its sizes to go up to a size 20. New Look have launched a fabulous campaign featuring real women, using its staff of all shapes and sizes.

I think these are real positive moves towards acceptance for different body shapes. The fashion world needs to understand that we all come in different shapes and sizes, and that the diversity needs to be embraced rather than ignored.  Just as some women are size 6,  some women will be size 30, both want to be accepted, the opportunity to be fashionable, and to see positive role models who they can identify with. Maybe we are finally moving in the right direction.

Has plus size fashion finally broken the size barrier?

Toccara Jones at the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atl...

Image via Wikipedia

The last few weeks have seen a sudden explosion in the fashion world. Suddenly plus size fashion and fashionista’s are everywhere. At the Emmy’s the fabulous Christine Hendricks and Glee‘s Amber Riley shone like beautiful beacons of voluptuous style, totally at home in the company of equally beautiful, but noticeably slimmer stars. In the case of Amber Riley, praise for her lovely white Grecian dress came from no less a doyenne than the notoriously bitchy Joan Rivers on ‘Fashion Police’.

The amazing Crystal Renn is EVERYWHERE! Whatever magazine you pick up seems to feature something about Renn. ‘Elle’ magazine featured her in its Q&A session, Look magazine gave over both an interview and a fashion shoot to the curvaceous fashion star, whilst the news that she is the new face(if not body) of the latest Chanel campaign has raised more than a few fashion eyebrows.

Beth Ditto is talking fashion and her new collection for Evans in this months Marie Claire, which calls her ‘the unstoppable Beth Ditto’. The gorgeous, sexy new lingerie collection from Simply Be has had features in Reveal and Sunday magazines.

America’s next top model star Toccara Jones stars in today’s Sunday Mirror magazine modelling the fab new range from Evans clothing. Jones counts Jay z amongst her fans and is quoted in the accompanying interview as saying, “Plus means more, there’s more of me to love…” and later “look plus up in the dictionary and tell me where is the sadness or negativity…”

It’s been reported that Marc Jacobs is now going to expand its clothing range up to a size 16+.  Great plus size ranges continue to go from strength to strength, with Evans, new look inspire, Rogers and Rogers and Anna Scholz producing great new collections.

So why is this happening now. Who knows. Fashion is fickle, but I feel the recession has a lot to do with the new respectability afforded to the plus size fashionista. After all, when times are tough, can you really afford to cut out more than 60% of your possible market by excluding them from fashion trends? In addition, there are a few more plus size fashionistas out there, Christine Hendricks, America Ferreira, Toccara Jones, Crystal Renn, Amber Riley, Gabourey Sidebe, Nigella Lawson and Mia Tyler are all flying the flag for fuller figures, with Cosmopolitan magazine claiming more girls would now like to look like Christine Hendricks than Kate Moss. In addition, normal size girls are now getting more coverage, with the curvy figures of Holly Willoughby, Natalie Cassidy and Gemma Arterton in the public spotlight.

the lovely Mia Tyler, plus size model.

The battle is by no means won. Beth Ditto has a great article in Marie Claire, but the more conventional Blake Liveley from Gossip Girl is the cover star. Renn’s beautiful face is the star of the Chanel add, rather than her beautiful body. But lets accept small victories. Fashionista’s know she’s a plus size model, so does the press and most importantly, so does the fashion industry. And that must be a good start.