Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Full Figured Fashion Week & The State of The Curvy Community


So, where was I? Oh, yes, Full Figured Fashion Week, Day Three! A day of educational panels at the Hotel Pennyslvania on 33rd Street. Appropriately, in the heart of the garment district. The panels were held on the top floor, which offered a panoramic view of the city. There was a panel on getting a plus size business started, as well as a panel on plus size modeling.

Your faithful correspondent on was a panel in the afternoon, “The State of The Curvy Community.” My fellow panelists were Erica Watson, actress and creator of the solo show Fat Bitch; Golda Poretsky, founder of Body Love Wellness; Hattie of Plus Size Model Magazine, and Yulilya Raquel, designer of Igigi clothing.

From the FFF Week website (
This panel discussion addresses the current state of the plus-size community and the significance of Full Figured Fashion Week™, through the eyes of the industry’s leaders, bringing different perspectives from various experiences and points of view.

Call me whatever, but I do love being acknowledged as a leader of the plus size industry. The panel was moderated by Sharon Quinn, who did a marvelous job of fielding questions from the audience and commentary from the panel.

Sharon Quinn, "The Original Runway Diva"

The panel mostly focused on fashion, of course, and what plus-sized women are looking for. We come in all shapes and sizes, and muumuus simply do not cut it any more. I voiced my dissatisfaction with the lack of natural waists in plus size clothing. As Gwen DeVoe had said on the first night, we are ready to vote with our dollars. Many women are tired of seeing the same shapes, the same hideous prints, the same poor quality.

I should mention that I was wearing a gorgeous denim cocktail dress by SK Wilbur, with dark blue pleated organza on one side of the bodice, and a wide gray felt hat by Ellen Christine Millinery.

Erica Watson was extremely funny, but had a tendency to slather her comments with show business butter (“When I was on Dr. Phil, I got death threats;” “Jillian Michaels is my personal trainer;” “When I do parts in movies and television” etc. You get the idea.) But anyone with the cojones to create a show called Fat Bitch deserves kudos.

Erica Watson, comedian and creator of Fat Bitch

Yulilya Raquel might well be the most life-affirming person I have ever met, and that is not meant sarcastically. She is full of joy and love for her fellow man/woman, with a contagious enthusiasm that is absolutely genuine. She urged us all to embrace ourselves because every human being is beautiful, that the essence of humanity is beautiful.

Yulilya Raquel, designer for Igigi clothing

As for moi, unfortunately most of what I said escapes me, but I am certain it was pithy. (The panel was recorded, so I hope to get a copy in the near future and refresh my memory.) Ms. Watson managed to get quite a few laughs with jokes I had uttered not a second before; not a surprise that her background is stand-up comedy.

What struck me, sitting there, that despite the pride in ourselves and others, there was an undercurrent of shame, which was accurately blamed on the “diet culture” we live in. Golda Poretsky was quite eloquent on this point.

Golda Poretsky, founder of Body Love Wellness

Many in the audience mentioned wanting to lose weight, or bragged about losing weight (which for obvious reasons was not well-received), or otherwise seemed to feel obligated to mention diet and exercise in some form.

One of the attendees, Sharon Jones, the organizer of FFF Week, told me the next day that I had said “Where is the woman who will stand up and say I don’t exercise and I eat whatever the fuck I want?” I do remember laughing and cheering but if it hadn’t been for Sharon I wouldn’t have remembered a word of it. Probably because of my use of profanity, I had blocked it out.

Afterwards, a group of us went to dinner, including a divine woman who had flown from Paris to be there! As before, I felt a glow at the end of the day that did not come from Sonsi-tinis.

A note: there was some sort of workshop to be held in another room, about how to be a real woman. Each sign was covered with pink feather boas. The women who were going in were all pencil thin, which seemed absolutely unreal after three days of voluptuous curves. If you want to be a real woman, eat an eclair.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog


rachel said...

You said all manner of wonderful things and you looked fetching!

Glen said...

LOL I was wondering what that pink boa was all about! I enjoyed everyone on the panel and bypassed the pick boa to go downstairs to nathan's and have a few hot dogs.

Les Pitreries de Vanoue said...

well hum seems that the divine woman was me! hehehe
Really nice meeting you!

Mad Fashionista said...

The pleasure was all mine--well, not ALL of it, as I am a delightful person. But a great deal of the pleasure. You were tres chic.