Fatshion on the Runway: The Rundown on City Chic

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.

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

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:

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Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images

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Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

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.

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Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

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’.

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Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

But then, of course, the bitches had to go and prove me wrong with THE BEST SKIRT EVER.

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

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:

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

I was completely floored that they have actually made a sexy midriff top for fatties. TAKE THAT, MAGGIE T.

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

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:

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Photo by Justin Lloyd

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:

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

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).

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

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.

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

Plus. Size. Couture. And it looked amazing. Any designer that pooh-poohs couture for the corpulent can, obviously, go shove it.

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Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

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:

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Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images

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.

Pippa – the person behind one of my favourite blogs, Runway Revolution – also went to the show and posted a review, which you can find here.

City Chic has posted a bunch of videos onto their website covering the preparation, the show itself and the ensuing media coverage.

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29 Responses to “Fatshion on the Runway: The Rundown on City Chic”


  1. 1 christina 22 August, 2009 at 12:11 am

    amazing, amazing. amazing! this is definitely how a plus sized show should be done! so jealous of you guys :(

    ps. added a link to your review to my post!

    • 2 Frances 22 August, 2009 at 12:15 am

      We’ve been jealous of you Yanks for years – it’s about time we had something! The next time we have a fatty fashion show over here, you should visit – you can totally crash on my couch.

      Cheers for the link, love.

  2. 3 Bianca 22 August, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Oh my God, that looks like it was so much fun! How awesome was the last dress? Bianca want, like yesterday!

  3. 5 Mandy 22 August, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Great article. :) LOVE the pictures, and totally agree about the couture.
    <3
    Mandy

  4. 6 thepocketrocket 22 August, 2009 at 1:33 am

    This is fantastic! Thanks so much for the report, really good to see it from someone who was actually present! x

  5. 7 Bree 22 August, 2009 at 2:08 am

    I love Natalie’s dress…that’s more my style. The fuschia maxi is pretty, but with that neckline, there’s no way by boobs o’doom would every stay put!

  6. 8 noceleryplease 22 August, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Loving the tear-off skirt!!!

  7. 9 hannah 22 August, 2009 at 3:59 am

    Sounds like a blast! some of those outfits and dresses are lovely, and just amazing. Hopefully next time it’ll be even better.

  8. 10 Melissa 22 August, 2009 at 6:00 am

    Okay I wanted to buy that last dress. I have no idea where I would wear it, but it was hot!!!

    Great show!

  9. 11 Dee 22 August, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Nice, but I’d love to see those clothes on some larger women.

  10. 12 Tracy 22 August, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Frances,

    Most of those clothes are great, but for the love of dog, DO NOT get excited about Ed Hardy. That crap has sullied the American fashion scene; I am sorry that it is sullying your shores.

    • 13 Frances 22 August, 2009 at 12:30 pm

      I know, I know! Their ghastly trucker caps have been slowly infecting our youth for a few years now. It’s just… the acid wash mini… I can’t help it…

  11. 14 Literal Gemini 22 August, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Great Thorough review.

    Sounds like a lot of fun, but some of the girls in the front don’t look that impressed.

    I’m not really digging that prom (aka formal) dress. It looks kind of bunchy, like something you’d get second hand.

    I think they could have done better. But I would have loved to see more of the Ed Hardy stuff. Although it is not my style, I like that City Chic is stepping out of the typical “fatty” boundary by having him design some things…

    Again, great job…Gonna have to start reading your blog!

  12. 15 Sexy Lingerie Nights 23 August, 2009 at 4:10 am

    Congrats to City Chic for unveiling their new Spring/Summer 2009 collection as part of the Rosemount Sydney Fashion Festival. Great to see Plus Size continue to be represented in the fashion world. We deal with a lot of demand for plus size and look forward to more in the future. Stay Sexy Everyone :)

  13. 16 Ms Constantine 23 August, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Fantastic recap! It’s so great to see pretty clothes on actual models that are bigger than a size 6.
    Too many times I’ve tried on clothes that look great on the models and mannequins and look terrible on me.
    I’m a pear shaped size 12/13 and need to see clothes on someone with my body shape to assess the merits of wearing them myself.

    It’s nice to see beautiful thighs that touch, instead of toothpicks that are the same width at the top as they are at the bottom.

  14. 17 bri 24 August, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Excellent review! I only realised now that I misread the article I linked to in my post about the parade. I missed the “a” which was kind of pertinent to the fact that this was the first time there had been a fatty parade in A fashion week in Australia, rather than in Australian fashion week as I wrote! Shows I don’t follow the fashion schedule much lol.

    I am dying to know what was in the good bags…

    • 18 Frances 24 August, 2009 at 9:12 am

      We got some catalogues, some vouchers (including one for Curves gym…), some plain bangle-ish accessories from City Chic, enough U sanitary items for about a year’s worth of periods, a tiny vanilla soap from Lush and some Redken hair gel (for curls! I was stoked).

      I do love a freebie.

  15. 19 CurveSmart 26 August, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Hey Frances,
    Thanks for linking on my blog – I really enjoyed your review and I have to tell you, I spotted you in your yellow opaques waiting to get in and I thought they were amazing!

    I’m going to add more show video when I get the chance, so maybe pop back over if you want to cross link. :)

    ~The Librarian
    Every Body Is Beautiful

    • 20 Frances 27 August, 2009 at 9:06 am

      Haha, thank you! I’ve been reading your blog for months (I promise to post more comments) and I had no idea you were a Sydneysider too.

      I’ll include a link to your review in this post. You took some ace photos; my camera is rubbish so I ended up with some brightly coloured blurs in my pictures…

  16. 21 Julie 31 August, 2009 at 10:41 am

    All so beautiful.

    Great post and pics.

  17. 22 Ida 2 September, 2009 at 2:10 am

    First off – excellent blog!

    I was one of the models in the show – glad you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed being involved!! I wrote a bit about my eperiences in my blog: http://www.plussizegangsta.blogspot.com/

  18. 24 PJ 17 April, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    For anyone reading this thread, the posting of the show at Every Body is Beautiful has changed as the site is under a new domain name.

    It’s now at : http://runwayrevolution.com/2009/08/chic-in-the-city/


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