Having Full Figured Fashion Week on the horizon, June 16-19 in New York City, the epicenter of the universe, reminded your faithful correspondent of an interview I did with Vassilios Kostetsos during February’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
(The title of this entry is a paraphrase of a famous New York Post newspaper headline; look it up.)
It was bitterly
cold, both inside and outside the tents. The runways were overheated, but the main lobby was frigid. (That was the reason that I fell ill and couldn’t do proper reportage, to my shame.)
In any event, back on February 16, a number of scriveners were invited backstage to the runway tent for a five-minute-interview each with Greek designer Vassilios Kostetsos. It was an icy night. We waited outdoors until the PR crew finally got its act together and led us in. With only five minutes, I decided upon the one question among the several I had written. It was a question I ask every designer I meet:
Would you ever consider designing for a woman my size?
The inevitable answer is a glazed, disbelieving stare, followed by something along the lines of “fashion is for everybody” (translation: are you kidding?).*
The designer was extremely tall, extremely thin, in a tiny brown reptile skin jacket that barely covered the top of his chest, and blondish hair that had been painstakingly styled, gelled and sprayed to look like a frayed plate on one side of his head.
So I asked Mr. Kostetsos this question, including the request that he not say “fashion is for everybody.” I did not have to worry.
His English was not very good, but his answer was clear: no.
Stunned, I asked if that meant he felt that plus-sized women didn’t have the right to wear his clothes.
He nodded, saying (with a great many hand gestures) “Pret-a-porter, yes.” But plus size customers were...“difficult—they want everything. You give them four designs, they want twelve, then they want twenty, all of them." As if customers who weighed over 80 pounds did not deserve to have the radiant majesty of his attire desecrated by their adiposity. "I do not design this. The clothes they look wrong, they look strange. The clothes are not made for those bodies.”
To be quite frank, I was so stunned that I could not think of anything further to say. But then I was ushered out so that the next journalist could have their turn.
To give the man his due, it is hard to imagine a larger woman (or any woman for that matter) wearing this:
But these? Seriously? They would look strange on larger women??
I loudly beg to differ. It is only that his mind is even tinier than his sample sizes. As long as top-flight designers continue to enforce this prejudice, women will continue to starve themselves to emulate the stick-insects that wear these creations down the runway.
As it stands, I hope that every smaller woman who reads this blog will decide against wearing them, since the rest of us cannot.
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog
* the only exception has been the exceptional Marc Bouwer, whom I interviewed last September. You can find that earlier entry in this blog.