Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times
As the debate about model size and weight rages on in fashion, several designers showed collections that celebrated a woman's curves. The more classical, rounded vision of the female form was not only a comment on body politics but also its own kind of answer to fashion's frenetic obsession with the new.
The trend appeared three weeks ago in New York at Marc Jacobs' namesake show. It made its way to Miuccia Prada's collection in Milan too, where she used a few fuller-figured models to showcase her retro designs.
In Paris at Louis Vuitton, Jacobs staged a Parisian love story set around a shooting fountain, with clothes designed with voluptuousness in mind. Fifties fit-and-flair dresses, or pinstripe wool bustier tops worn atop pleated dirndl skirts, pushed the bosom up and out.
An hourglass-shaped jacket came with crystal buttons, and a girlish popcorn knit sweater with tiny fur pompoms at the collar. Add pointy-toed pumps with bows on top, and structured handbags embroidered with sequins and lace, and it made for a scene out of a Fred Astaire movie.
There were no sharp angles or lines at the Giles Deacon show either, where the designer worked with a silhouette based on the pronounced bust and bum of the "Mad Men" era. Bustier dresses had flying-buttress-like pleating accentuating the hips, and skirts rippled with scallop-edged layers.
At Comme des Garcons, Rei Kawakubo added bulk to the parts of the body most women spend their lives trying to slim.
Lumps and bumps of padding rounded out the hips, stomachs, bust lines and backs of frock coats and tartan dresses, suggesting the body was so pumped up, clothes could barely restrain it.
Other times, placement of the padding evoked the hip panniers on dresses fashionable during the 18th century, when a woman's status was proportional to how much space she occupied, not how little.
Was Kawakubo addressing body image as a feminist issue, the epidemic of obesity or plastic surgery? The only thing for sure is that fashion's great size debate won't be ending any time soon.
Photo: Prada's fall 2010 runway in Milan.
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