Plus-Size Models Walks the Runway at London Fashion Week

Evans DressesOn the last day of London Fashion Week, a revolution of sorts took place. For the first time ever, plus-sized clothes were shown on the catwalk. You heard me right, sister. Fashion for fat birds, being paraded as if it was something to be proud of, rather than a collection of sludge-coloured, tent-sized garments to be hidden away in a dusty corner of a department store, never to be spoken of again.

London Fashion Week Evans CollectionHere, there were togs for the tubs, dresses for the messes; most of them bright, floaty, lovely things that a woman of a certain size and age might actually want to buy and try.

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Rather than buy and cry over because there was nothing else in the shop that fitted her, except a hideous tarpaulin that once might have kept a van dry in the rain but was now masquerading as a party frock. Or perhaps that was just me?

London Fashion Week Designer CollecitonOn the catwalk for High Street brand Evans’ inaugural show, models in silver sandals and peep-toe booties showed cleverly cut bustiers with matching palazzo pants; plissé dresses in fondant colours; wafty cardigans that floated down to the floor; lots of lovely shifts with sequinned straps; a metallic, pleated skirt that fluttered like gossamer and oyster satin blouses, alongside a number of hugely flattering, all-terrain, bulge-bustin’, hip-skimming skirts and dresses.

2014 London Fashion WeekTrue, there were some frocky horrors, too, but the Design Collective for Evans was a clever collaboration between six high-end designers and the plus-size specialists, which will be in shops next spring. In an innovative and mutually beneficial association, the fashion teams reworked designs from their own collections into plus sizes using the Evans in-house expertise.

London Fashion Week CatwalkSuccessful plus size is all about sculpting and cutting, not just adding more and more fabric and hoping for the best – although tragically, that seems to have been the template for about half a century. The new designs from Clements Ribeiro, Vita Gottlieb, Giles Deacon, Hema Kaul, Lulu Liu and Jamie Wei Huang use an enticing range of fabrics and really are fresh and covetable. Well, almost all of them. I can’t be the only blub tub who is not quite ready for a laser-cut silver pleather skirt, or a bright green evening gown or getting my belly button out, as some of the two-piece combos and slash front tops encourage.

London Fashion WeekThe show was the brainchild of clothing magnate Sir Philip Green, whose Arcadia empire owns Evans along with Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and other High Street – please don’t take this personally, ladies – giants. Green staged the show at the Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden on Tuesday evening, just as Fashion Week ground to a close for another season. Inside the hall, the fashion Press packed on to white benches to see, with their very own eyes, perhaps for the first time, what anything above a size six might look like.

plus size dressesAs the lights dimmed, the atmosphere was similar to those Victorian freak shows, when crowds gathered, consumed with equal parts revulsion and fascination, to view bearded ladies and midgets or perhaps a combination of both.

plus size outfitsOn the front rows, there was a noticeable lack of the kind of high-velocity celebrity big names that have garlanded other fashion shows this week.

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No Kate Moss, no Cara or Poppy Delevingne, no Downton Abbey girls, no Alexa Chung, for no big (famewise, not shapewise) star ever wants to be associated with the taint of tub; the fashion world equivalent of the black spot.

plus size dressThere was not even a glimpse of Katie Hopkins, the fat-shaming, burger-munching controversialist who has put on four stone to show fatsos how simple it is to lose it again. You’d think she could have had the decency to come and heckle, or to throw chocolate biscuits at the models. Who, it must be said, didn’t look much over a size 16 anyway. And in the UK, that is an average size, not a plus size.

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