When I went to my first New York Fashion Week show more than a decade ago, any model over a size 2 was considered "plus-size." Most models looked borderline anorexic and certainly in need of a good meal.
Thankfully, that kind of thinking in the fashion industry has changed over the years as U.S. designers like Christian Siriano began touting great-looking styles for women of all shapes and sizes. Now, several major European design houses are banning super-skinny models from the runway in upcoming shows in Paris, Milan, and London under a law passed by the French government.
Moreover, Addition Elle, the Montreal-based fashion brand that offers sizes 12-26, has pushed the boundaries of what it means to be beautiful even further with its first runway show as an official part of New York Fashion Week. Before an enthusiastic audience that included Precious star Gabourey Sidibe and Orange is the New Black's Danielle Brooks, curvy models showcased a range of clothing from day to night as well as sexy undergarments.
Model Ashley Graham, who has led the charge for the acceptance of full-figured models on the runway (please don't call them "plus-size"), appeared twice on the catwalk and unveiled her Purple Rain and Ritz lingerie lines, closing the show in a Diva bra and matching panty set to wild applause.
"Dream come true having my designs worn by gorgeous women walking down the runway," she said on her Instagram account, with hashtags #sexystateofmind and #beautybeyondsize.
In addition, model Jordyn Woods showed her Love & Legend ready-to-wear capsule collection, which includes a figure-flattering, wine-colored crushed velvet cocktail dress, leopard print blouse, velour hoodies, and kimona dresses and tunics in bright florals.
Graham, who was the first curvy model on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, has walked in the Prabal Gurung and Siriano shows this week, but the Addition Elle appearance seemed especially meaningful to the 27-year-old model.
"I'm just fighting a fight for the women who don't want to be placed apart from other women because of the size of their hips," she told reporters at the show.