On Thursday, feeling terribly important, I went to my first fashion show. Not coincidentally, it was also the very first plus-size label to hold a runway show as part of a mainstream Australian fashion event. City Chic were unveiling their new Spring/Summer 2009 collection as part of the Rosemount Sydney Fashion Festival (not to be confused with Australian Fashion Week, which is earlier in the year). A big fat thank you to City Chic for kindly inviting me along to the show!
There was quite a fun vibe outside the giant tent (also known as the ‘Rosemount Runway’… it was a tent) as we waited to be let in. There were fatties everywhere. And we were milling around waiting for a fashion show that was targeted at us.
Some were obviously very excited about this, as they had made a real effort to dress up: full face of make-up, nice hair, good clothes, high heels. I, however, had gone to the show in my lunch hour. Sure, I was wearing my lucky yellow tights from We Love Colors and my wicked fatty necklace, but I’d still come straight from work. I probably smelt like old printer cartridges and disappointed hopes.
Once we got inside, I instantly I spotted an error in planning. The seats were placed close together with quite a narrow gap between rows. If you put on a fashion show for a plus-size label, fatties are going to attend. The thing about fatties is that we take up more room. You can’t organise the seating in the exact same way you would for a mainstream fashion label. The lack of space between rows meant I got to know some women extremely well as they nudged past me to their seats. I could see fatties squished into the front row, hip to hip and flibbety arm to flibbety arm. I was in a row that was half empty, so at least we were able to shuffle our seats around for a bit of extra room.
The show opened with one of Australia’s most successful plus-size models, Elizabeth Green. She is based in New York and has signed with Ford Plus.
Now, I’m not a fashion-y kind of person. I don’t attend fashion weeks, I can’t say whether a garment is channelling A/W04 Alexander McQueen, and I don’t really know anything about modelling. (I’m way into Crystal Renn, but that’s because she makes me sexually confused, not because I love her ‘craft’.) I figured models just walked down a runway. Whatev. But when Elizabeth Green strutted past wearing a gorgeous jewel maxi by Julie Beach, I understood.
She’s fantastic. Some of the other models looked inexperienced; they seemed nervous or they looked like they were concentrating too hard on their walk. Green is supremely confident, and may I add, totally fierce.
I have to admit that I didn’t have high hopes for the show. After the disappointment of the Full Figured Fashion Week runway show, I just assumed that City Chic would be trotting out the predictable display of jersey and floral maxi dresses. And there was a bit of that:
But that was far outweighed by the number of pieces that were firmly on trend and youth-oriented.
The bulk (teehee) of the collection was divided into two camps: bright spring dresses (‘Garden Party’ and ‘Formal’) and rock-inspired casual threads (the Ed Hardy line and ‘Rock Chick’).
The dresses were mainly bright, mainly short and mainly strapless. I don’t really wear cocktail dresses and I never wear strapless (looks terrible on me), so this part didn’t hold much personal interest. That said, I know this range will be popular, especially when our Spring Racing Carnival rolls around.
Next up was the Ed Hardy plus-size collection, which is launching at City Chic next month. I’ve never been one for Ed Hardy. The tattoo prints and excessive use of diamantes always cried ‘Motorcycle Slag with her own Bedazzler’.
But then, of course, the bitches had to go and prove me wrong with THE BEST SKIRT EVER.
Super super super short and… is that acid wash? It looks like acid wash (help me out, I told you I wasn’t fashion-y). I am a massive sucker for the 80s heavy metal look and for showing off some leg, so I am crazy about this mini.
Speaking of minis, I read in this article that City Chic made a point of not dictating what they thought was suitable for their 18 to 28-year-old target market. According to the general manager, “if we do a skirt to the knee it doesn’t sell.” Love it.
It got better with the ‘Rock Chick’ range - plenty of studs, chains and zips. Further proof that the company are willing to let fatties dress for themselves was this outfit:
I was completely floored that they have actually made a sexy midriff top for fatties. TAKE THAT, MAGGIE T.
This is Courtney Maxwell and she’s a total babe. She’s also the main model on the City Chic website, and got a huge reaction from the CC staff in the front row when she stepped out onto the runway.
I really liked the look of this crossover zip dress, but I suspected the fabric wouldn’t be all I hoped for. A look at the website confirmed that this is a polyester/elastane blend and I’m not willing to fork out AUS$149.95 for polyester.
What I am willing to fork out cash for is this:
Corazones Rojos started my love for slashed leggings. When I saw her wearing them in the Daily Beast picture gallery, I wanted to jump her for her outfit. With these gorgeous leggings, I don’t have to resort to assault and robbery! *high kick*
This outfit almost made me squeal:
The zip vest and studded jeans look like they were taken straight from a 1990 Motley Crue video. I am a shameless fan of 1980s cock rock, so this outfit was very very exciting for me. (Nikki Sixx, you have an open invitation to come live in my pants.)
Then came the evening wear which, like the cocktail dresses, has limited use for me. I’m sure fatties in Year 12 will be very excited by these options for their formals (aka ‘proms’, for all you weird Americans).
The grand finale outfit was completely unexpected and completely, utterly awesome. It featured a City Chic lace corset and couture skirt by Kamikaze, designed by Tealia Scott.
Plus. Size. Couture. And it looked amazing. Any designer that pooh-poohs couture for the corpulent can, obviously, go shove it.
Of course we all lost our minds when she tore off the skirt and strutted back past us sans pants.
End with a diva performance from chubby ex-Australian Idol contestant, Natalie Colavito:
There it is. The first big fat runway show in an Australian fashion week. It was good, but of course there is room for improvement; better quality fabrics (less polyester, please!) immediately spring to mind. But, after decades of sexless plus-sized clothing, this was a strong start from City Chic.
City Chic has posted a bunch of videos onto their website covering the preparation, the show itself and the ensuing media coverage.