Tag Archives: beverly johnson

Seeking Fashion Inspiration

16 Sep

beverlyA couple of years ago, I got really excited about the prospects for the fashion industry. Models like Joan Smalls and Jourdan Dunn were killing it on the runways. Designers like Rick Owens were eschewing the standard of rail-thin models and the traditional catwalk for a more in-your-face strut by models of varying sizes. The clothes were great, the shows were inspiring and it left me hopeful for a future with more diversity on the runway.

Sadly, that was just a drop in the can. There hasn’t been much progress made since then. Rail-thin models are still the standard to trot down runways wearing samples that don’t consider different body types. Not only are designers ignoring the different ways women are shaped, they’re shaming women for wanting to wear their clothes. Earlier this summer, a former Hervé Leger executive said curvy women and lesbians have no place wearing the brand’s iconic bandage dress.

‘If you’re a committed lesbian and you are wearing trousers all your life, you won’t want to buy a Leger dress. Lesbians would want to be rather butch and leisurely,” he told the Daily Mail earlier this summer.

The bandage dress was everywhere in the late aughts. From rail thin to super curvy, just about every celebrity was wearing it or some knockoff version. I tried on a cheaper variety once or twice and, to be honest, it isn’t a very forgiving dress. Body shapers, Spanx and prayer are needed to look right. I liken the dress to a good twist out: it may work for you one day, but it will take you forever to replicate the magic of that one day.

But for the glitterati, the bandage dress was a badge of pride. If you could rock it, by all means rock the hell out of it. It’s disheartening when a designer who creates clothes can’t see real people wearing them. Majority of clothed women aren’t shaped like supermodels. If designers don’t want different body types wearing their clothes, they should just create them in one size and one body type.

Luckily, model legend Beverly Johnson disagreed as she rocked the frock at the Hervé Leger show over the weekend. “I’m a curvy woman, so I embrace it. I think that they make dresses for curvy women,” she said. She did follow it up by saying the dress wouldn’t look right on a “stick-thin” woman, but I don’t totally agree. It really depends on the body.

chromatWhich is another reason I saw some small ray of hope with another fashion show during New York Fashion Week. The Chromat collection, meant to be a “structural experiment for the human body,” took more bodies into mind when the pieces were presented. A mix between athletic and couture, the Chromat designs had a futuristic bondage theme and were all exquisitely tailored to the models’ forms. There were pear shapes, thick thighs, large boobs, flat chests, skinny legs, etc. on display. And they all rocked out.

It’s amazing what can happen when designers remember to step out of their comfort zone and try to design for a different shape. The challenge helps acknowledge women who appreciate the aesthetic and artistry of fashion while not excluding them from the process.

That’s all we want: acknowledgement and inclusion in the things we enjoy.

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