Tag Archives: fashion industry

Michelle Obama and McQueenGate

Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg and the entire Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) are wicked mad at the First Lady Fashionista In Chief, because she wore this unbelievable Alexander McQueen dress to the state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao. de la Renta told WWD: “My understanding is that the visit was to promote American-Chinese trade — American products in China and Chinese products in America. Why do you wear European clothes?” And CFDA backed him up with this official statement (via Fashionista):

CFDA believes in promoting American fashion. Our First Lady Michelle Obama has been wonderful at promoting our designers, so we were surprised and a little disappointed not to be represented for this major state dinner.

Color me conflicted. On the one hand, I see their point: The Cut reports that “a study published in the Harvard Business Review placed an estimated value on the public appearances Michelle made wearing clothing from November 2008 to December 2009 at $2.7 billion.” J. Crew is basically ready to submit her for sainthood because she and her daughters look so gosh-darn adorable in their twinsets and frilly blouses. And with Obama’s State of the Union revolving around how Americans need to out-innovate everyone else to build our future, wearing American-made clothes does seem like a great way to stay on message.

But. Two things. Continue reading

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Filed under Beauty Labor, Happenings

[Glossed Over] Plus Size Women Are Shaped Funny.

Photo of scary clothing mannequins

Or so concludes the fashion industry, according to Plus Size Wars by Ginia Bellafante in Sunday’s Times Magazine. I give you Exhibit A:

The most formidable obstacle lies in creating a prototype. If you already have a line of clothing and a set system of sizing, you cannot simply make bigger sizes. You need whole new systems of pattern-making. “The proportions of the body change as you gain weight, but for women within a certain range of size, there is a predictability to how much, born out by research dating to the 1560s,” explained Kathleen Fasanella, who has made patterns for women’s coats and jackets for three decades. “We know pretty well what a size 6 woman will look like if she edges up to a 10; her bustline might increase an inch,” Fasanella said. “But if a woman goes from a size 16 to a 20, you just can’t say with any certainty how her dimensions will change.”

A paragraph later, Fasanella follows that up with this:

“You’ll have some people who gain weight entirely in their trunk, some people who will gain it in their hips,” Fasanella continued. “As someone getting into plus-size, you can either make clothing that is shapeless and avoid the question altogether or target a segment of the market that, let’s say, favors a woman who gets larger in the hip. You really have to narrow down your customer.” A designer must then find a fit model who represents that type and develop a pattern around her. But even within the subcategories, there are levels of differentiation. “Armholes are an issue,” Fasanella told me, by way of example. “If you have decided to go after the woman who is top-heavy, well, some gain weight in their upper arms and some do not. There are so many variables; you never win. It’s like making computers and then deciding you want to make monitors; a monitor is still a computer product, but it’s a whole new kind of engineering.”

All of which leads Bellafante to surmise: “Thin people are more like one another; heavier people are less like one another. With more weight comes more variation.”

Well, I call bullsh*t. Continue reading

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Filed under Beauty Schooled, beauty standards, Glossed Over., week 36