Full-figured women will have their day on the catwalks of New York on Friday when hometown designer Eden Miller unveils her plus-size collection — a fashion week first.
In the ultra-skinny fashion world, where angular models typically strut the runways, Miller will send out voluptuous models sporting looks from a colorful mini-collection in which prints reign supreme.
Miller, who has been a designer for 25 years, launched her line Cabiria in April to “good but unexpected” reviews.
In July she was approached by the Fashion Law Institute — a non-profit organization which advises and supports talented designers who do not have the resources to put on shows themselves — to stage a show.
“It’s an incredible honor, it is absolutely fantastic,” Miller told AFP ahead of her show.
“It is also a wonderful opportunity for showing the legitimacy of plus-size fashion. It is real fashion. It can be measured in the same way that other kinds of fashion can be.”
Miller, herself proudly curvaceous, explains passionately how she uses cut, angles and silhouettes to flatter fuller figures.
She says her pieces are “simply cut with a consideration for a plus-sized figure. They put it on, and they feel beautiful and that’s such a gift to me — that fuels me to go further.”
While still a rarity on international catwalks, plus-size models have been seen in Paris and Milan, and London has a fashion week dedicated to clothing for the more generously endowed.
New York got its first plus-size show almost by accident.
“When I first met Eden, she was wearing one of her dresses,” said Susan Scafidi of the Fashion Law Institute.
“My first thought was not, ‘nice plus line’, but ‘nice collection — I wish she made it in my size.’
“I actually didn’t realize until later that Cabiria would be the first plus line in the tents. In other words, making accidental history was simply a plus.”
Scafidi said that in the fashion world, the distinction between skinny models and larger models was made in the same way as one would distinguish between being gay or straight.
“The straight-size models and the straight-size designers are out there, the plus have stayed in the closet. So I am so thrilled that the plus world are coming out of the closet,” she said.
Miller, whose collection is aimed at women who wear American sizes 12 to 24 (42 to 56 in Europe), loves bold prints and doesn’t shy away from them.
“If you have a bigger body, you shouldn’t pretend you are a tiny person — there is no point,” she said.
“If you scale up the pattern, it fits the body the way a smaller pattern would on a smaller figure.”
The same applies to her own body, which she has adorned with some 50 tattoos, including a bat, a rat, two ladybirds and a beetle on her arms and snakes on her calves.
“I love animals,” she says, laughing.
By offering a small place to bigger women at New York fashion week, Miller says she hopes to make a larger impact in a country where the average woman is a size 14 (European 44).
“I really wish that the lines that would qualify to be part of the tent show, but have been excluded because they are plus, can now be invited on the same grounds,” she said.