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New York Fashion Week designers are increasingly embracing size diversity — and this season, they’re being more honest about the decision to do so: It’s smart for business.
“It’s important to diversify. We’ve all seen what’s happening in our business and in the world — it’s clearly not enough to be just one thing,” said Christian Siriano, backstage before his show on Saturday. “Department stores are going under, we have no idea what’s happening with retail, we have no idea what’s going on. It’s by celebrating all these different types of people that we’re able to gain customers from all walks of life. You can have glamour and fantasy, and all those things, and still celebrate different types of people.”
At her show at Pier 59 on Saturday, Rebecca Minkoff launched for fall 2019 an eight-style capsule collection created in collaboration with personalized styling service Stitch Fix. The pieces, priced $138 to $249 and immediately available to purchase through Stitch Fix and rebeccaminkoff.com, are the brand’s first in sizes beyond 14 and XL; all range from 00 to 24W or XXS to 3X.
Rebecca Minkoff said partnering with Stitch Fix was necessary to enter the new territory.
“We’ve been working with Stitch Fix since 2017, and they said, ‘We really want to launch this category with you,’” she said, as the doors to her presentation were opening. “We’ve been waiting, because when you [expand sizes], you can’t just grade up. You have to get specific data, and [Stitch Fix] had it all. They said, ‘You know what? We’re actually going to fit the garments, and we’re going to tell you the customer feedback, so that when you go into the design of this, you can do it right.’ So this is the magnum opus.”
Stitch Fix first launched plus sizes in 2017, with 90 brands including Eloquii, Universal Standard and private-label lines. And Rebecca Minkoff’s been showing women of diverse sizes on the runway since the brand started offering see-now, buy-now and, at the same time, featuring influencers in shows. “Women want to see women who look like them,” she said.
Minkoff said the data provided from Stitch Fix for her company’s core line has been invaluable. “You’re not getting that data from traditional brick-and-mortar,” she said. “And that feedback loop is incredibly important. We get it from our own site, but then to have another big partner that’s providing direct customer feedback is priceless.”
Katie Underhill, senior director of marketing at Tanya Taylor, said last month that the company only recently started showing the same looks in both straight and plus sizes alongside each other on the brand’s e-commerce site. Since, sales of extended sizes have increased to make up 40% of total online sales.
It’s a safe bet that looks in both size groups will have good representation in the brand’s presentation on Sunday.
Backstage at NYFW shows on Saturday, two top makeup artists weighed in on the evolution of beauty’s standards.
“When you look at the Instagram idea of beauty. It’s a little bit disheartening because it feels as if it’s not really celebrating women for their essence. It’s suggesting that you need a transformation, and you’re not good enough the way you are — you need a filter or multiple filters, and you need a surgical enhancement, and you need transformational makeup. I feel like, ‘What is happening?’ We’re in two completely different parallels because on one end, we’re really celebrating women for all of their power and their amazing attributes, but on the other hand, we’re taking all of that away by saying, ‘You can’t gain affirmation unless you go through all of this.’ Also, who has the hours to do all of that, and who wants to? I feel like it takes away from our credibility and our awesomeness.” — head makeup artist Gucci Westman, founder of Westman Atelier, backstage at Khaite
“Today, it’s more about individuality. We’re putting on the makeup the way she wears it; we’re basing the eyeliner on her and the way she wears her eyeliner. I love that, because it gives all of us someone to look at and someone to connect with, and allows us to also like who we are and not just one standard of what beauty is. Sometimes, as a makeup artist, there’s this feeling to want to do more, and then you sometimes do what they call ‘gild the lily,’ when you start going too far. The lily is already beautiful. We’re fine; we don’t need to put on extra makeup. When we want to do it and go that extra beat, it’s nice — but it’s not a necessity. And that’s great — you can use makeup to make you feel good and how you want to feel.” — Maybelline global makeup artist Erin Parsons, backstage at Kate Spade
“There’s no front-row seat saved for Whoopi Goldberg! Who do I need to talk to about this?” –frantic PR rep, backstage at Christian Siriano
According to the ticket, tonight’s Chromat runway show at Spring Studios will have the added attraction of an on-site pop-up, selling select looks direct from the runway. See-now, buy-now is alive and kicking.
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