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Honey, No: Kate Mulleavy. I Hate to Do It Edition | Manolo for the Big Girl

Honey, No: Kate Mulleavy. I Hate to Do It Edition

Kate Mulleavy –also known as “the chubby sister from Rodarte”– and I are totally best friends in my head. I could see us hanging out and talking about how old Agyness Deyn really is and how we love Kate Moss despite ourselves because all the other models do just as much coke and are STILL dead boring.

I bet she’d be a really good break-up buddy too, like I’d go over to her place and we’d drink way too much cava, watch Spiceworld and then sometime after the third bottle we’d try to prank call Victoria Beckham but not be able to carry it off without collapsing into piles of laughter. Then in a few weeks when she’s feeling down because Anna Wintour keeps bullying her to lose weight I’d pick her up in the Cadillac and teach her how to shoot a .44 and although Texas law prohibits shooting at paper targets with faces on them, I’d surreptitiously draw a severe bob on one of them and hijinks would ensue.

I also would talk to her about this:

Laura, La Dunst and Kate

Kate. This is not your best look. I’m not going to talk about the hair because I get that it’s a branding tool (although I will say it’s a leeettle mid-90’s Carnie Wilson for my tastes)  but the rest of the stuff, which you’ve apparently made your uniform, is not working very well for you.

You’re an actual real-life fashion genius, so WHAT is this about? You’re better than this. You look like a secretary I had to fire once because she wouldn’t stop crying at her desk.

It’s not that you look actively bad, but you’re at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Award, and you HAD to know you were going to win the big one, so black knit separates and a pair of skimmers (which is pretty much what you wore to last year’s CFDA’s)? Seriously?

CFDA 2007

The problem here isn’t that you look actively bad (which you don’t) or that you’re inappropriate for the event (which you are, even though I get this is your uniform) it’s that you’re committing three of the biggest crimes against style in the Big Girl book.

1) The bad bra. A big girl’s best friend is her bra, and yours could be better.  I think we’re similar in that we don’t have hugely enormous breast so often we can buy off the rack (as it were) as opposed to our more massively-mammed sisters who,  in trade for never having to buy their own drinks, have to get the army corps of engineers involved every time they need get their usuals in the upright and locked position. Everyone needs a well-fitted bra, but big girls need them the most, regardless of breast size, because we have to fight the battle of the schlub, and it doesn’t matter how great the outfit is; if you’re wearing the wrong bra, it’s a nonstop train to Schlubville Heights.

2) Slouching. I want to poke you in the back and make you stand up straight. I was ready to give you a pass because sometimes a slouch is inevitable in a group picture, but check it out:

Met Costume Institute Gala 2008

It just goes on and on, and your sister isn’t much better.  Here’s a hint from the classical music world, before you go on stage, roll and set your shoulders back. It will feel funny at first but it’ll set your posture beautifully. Of course you could always get one of these or, better yet, just pay me to travel around with you and nag.

3. Injudicious Black. I love black. I wear a lot of it. I’ve got dramatic features and coloring and black suits me extremely well, but when I wear black, I decide to wear black. It’s not a default. It’s not slimming by default, it’s not chic by default and it’s not flattering by default. Attention must be paid, and it’s not just adding a pop of color, which would do wonders, but it’s about paying attention to line and drape and proportion. Especially if you’ve got a short neck (which Kate and I do) You’ve got to create some visual space to rest the eye. To put it in other terms: Your body and face is the painting, your clothes are the frame. The space you don’t cover is the mat. 

with Mandy Moore

I get having a uniform as a designer;  Carolina Herrera has been working her impeccable shirtwaists for the past 30 years to great success (she’s also the only woman designer I can think of who was truly traditionally beautiful) and head to toe black is yours but maybe consider a little dash of something. After all, the uniform for the uniformly delicious New Zealand All Blacks aren’t even, well, all black.

The New Zealand All Blacks performing their Haka ritual

(Helllllooo Kiwi thighs…is it warm in here?)

And by the way. Don’t think I didn’t notice you’re wearing the same shoes in every photo I’ve found of you, going back to 2006. I know, how hard it is to find cute flats and I wear mine into the ground too, but if you insist on wearing skimmers to Important Fashion Events, at least get some new ones. Every season Valentino makes incredible slippers in a sort of burnished silver. They’re TDF. Git you some. Fetch me one of those Kiwis while you’re at it. I’ll be right over, and I’m bringing wine.

20 Responses to “Honey, No: Kate Mulleavy. I Hate to Do It Edition”

  1. Margo June 16, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    Pssst, sweetheart, fix that apostrophe in the second-to-last sentence and I’ll hook you up with my tanes from Aotearoa. Ka pai!

  2. klee June 16, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    mmmmm, kiwi……..

  3. Olivia June 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Blast, Margo, you beat me to the punch.

  4. Plumcake June 16, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    awww, I love my little pedants!

  5. Icy June 17, 2009 at 2:30 am #

    Hmmm, Kiwi thighs are yummy, even if they are from the wrong side of the Tasman. Wait a minute, this post was about something else wasn’t it… Oh yeah, black = good, unfitted unconsidered black = bad. A little pair of lepoard print flats would be fab as well.

  6. raincoaster June 17, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    Ahem. You might like this:

  7. Patti June 17, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    I am so glad I discovered you Manolo! You are wonderful, witty and dead on with the hints. You are assisting me in finding my mojo honey, and you are probably only old enough to be my daughter. Never mind that, I see us as friends in my mind and I just want to wish you continued success!!!!!!!!

  8. ChloeMireille June 17, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    I think that once the good bra is found, the posture will improve somewhat on its own. Either that or she just needs to avoid the cute bras and order the “old lady” posture bras for sheer function.

  9. Jane H. June 17, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    Stand flat on your feet and not on the outside edge of them – you look like you are ready to flee . . . or someone shoved you into a photo you don’t want to be in.

  10. Plumcake June 17, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Thanks Patti! We’re glad you like it. I’m Plumcake, the other editor is Francesca and our weekend gal is Twistie. Manolo is our benevolent overlord and publisher who stays mostly at his main site http://www.shoeblogs.com which is well worth a gander. Hope you’ll stick around!

  11. Rubiatonta June 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    Yes, as my mother always says, “Stand up straight and stick ’em out.” And smile like you mean it!

    I’d love to see our Kate with a v-neck a bit more often — as I too am a short-necked swan, I have learned to love the v-neck. Plus it sorta acts like an arrow, pointing down at the bazooms, which once properly secured, should be a source of admiration. All good.

  12. the misfit June 17, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    I’ve no special expertise in this sartorial area, but I will say (a) her posture looks like she is apologizing for her presence and (b) she is hiding in those clothes. Although I can certainly understand lousy body image, this woman is a fashion designer. Bodies are sort of interchangeable parts for her line of work and all of the ones she deals with are sort of contorted and unnatural – and, in their way, hideous. (I mean, especially with the death makeup. They’re more sculpture than people, which is how it’s meant to be, of course.) So what is she self-conscious about? Specifically, I would say that the hair was better a year ago, with her coloring she should have vibrant red lipstick, and I see no earthly reason she can’t have amazing posture, an artistic skirt (black if she must), a well-tailored top or one whose function doesn’t seem *expressly* to accentuate tummy rolls, and one piece of serious jewelry – and a self-confident facial expression! How hard is that???

  13. Patti June 18, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    OHHH! Girl friends. I love you girls, for real, for real. So I will stick around. Plus your taste in music is impeccable and anyone who can still hold appreciation for Pinetop after being felt up is truly a music buff. Love you madly!!!!!!!!!!! I love this blog and you are my favorite feed read.

  14. Style Spy June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    I’ve been worried about Kate for a while now. Laura has been getting increasingly UN-schlumpy, but Kate seems headed in the opposite direction and I worry about what this will do to the dynamic of one of my favorite design teams. (Because it’s all about how it affects ME, doncha know.) Plus, it makes me sad: she’s so talented and they’re having such great success and they deserve to be happy about it but that? Does not look like a happy gal.

  15. Lady June 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    i agree so thoroughly with all the points you mention. It actually makes me angry now that i think about it. Here she is, clearly doing well financially. Could no doubt afford buy or MAKE anything her little heart desired. i believe structure would help her immensely. i will let go of the black. ok. i get that its her look. but whats wrong with accessories? what’s wrong with breaking up the black with a great metallic? why the heck is she sooo very sad looking?

    she looks like she doesnt believe she belongs. and thats sad. bc she clearly does. i say she liberate herself and begin designing a line of clothes that she herself could wear right now. not when she loses the weight. or what she wants to wear in her head. she should design fabulous clothes for her body so she can feel better.

    and wear some color on her face. she could really make a statement if she moved away from the Bobbi Brown collection with all of its same ole d r a b neutrals and punched it up a bit!

  16. lowbudgetdiva June 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    It’s long been one of my biggest disappointments that Kate is such a schlump. I remember catching a glimpse of her somewhere on TV and almost gasping because I was so stoked to see a plus-sized female designer out there, but she always looks depressed and like she hates herself. Girlfriend seriously needs to hire a stylist!

  17. La Petite Acadiene June 21, 2009 at 10:48 pm #

    raincoaster, that video was the most delightful thing I’ve seen in ages. Hot Kiwis, hot Scots, muscled thighs, kilts, and flashing. What’s not to love?

  18. Laura July 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    “2) Slouching. I want to poke you in the back and make you stand up straight. I was ready to give you a pass because sometimes a slouch is inevitable in a group picture, but check it out:”

    THANK YOU! Every time I see public people (actors/models/whatevers) I want to yell “stand up straight!”. It makes me nuts.