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Monif C’s new collection: It’s a Look. | Manolo for the Big Girl

Monif C’s new collection: It’s a Look.

So you know how sometimes when life gets rilly rilly hard you sometimes secretly have to pull over on the side of the road in the middle of rush hour traffic and cryandcryandcry and wish that JUST ONCE you could go back to the days where the hardest decision you ever had to make was what color carpet square you wanted to use for nap time and whether  your new scissors REALLY “won’t cut hair” BECAUSE NO ONE BREAKS YOUR BURNT SIENNA CRAYON AND LIVES TO TELL THE TALE, HEATHER WEINSTEIN-TAMAGUCHI!

And then you go buy yourself a $200 bottle of Scotch and a $300 pair of shoes and then realize being a grown-up isn’t so bad?

Basically the flipside to having freedom and being taken seriously is the opportunity for a lot of stuff to go wrong, which is why, from a purely political point of view, I am extremely glad Monif C’s new collection exists. They are NOT muu-muus made out of the curtains of some tragic mid-western housewife who has sublimated her Unmet Womanly Needs into a penchant for gingham, kitties and “Country Cute” décor. Because not that very long ago, those were our options.

Now, thanks to independent designers like Monif C –who is a Very Nice Person– that’s no longer the case, and no matter what we feel about individual collections; we should be grateful not to be held under the tyranny of the shapeless corduroy jumper any more.

That being said:


"Charlie" jumpsuit from Monif C

This isn’t just a hot tranny mess, this is a super-heated tranny mess. This is a tranny mess only reproducible in a controlled scientific environment, after years and years of government funding and Swiss guys in lab coats running around trying to promise everyone that they’re PRETTY SURE they won’t create a black hole and end existence as we know it.

Monif C "Carmen" dress

and I’m just going to say it…that is Too Much Weave.

I love big hair as much as the next gal but I’m pretty sure Chaka Khan, Miss Diana Ross and the Mesdames Knowles (Tina, Beyoncé and That Other one), upon being presented with this look would arch their collective eyebrows and say “uh…that’s a little much.”

"Roxie" dress from Monif C

Now, I am all sorts of down with editorial fashion choices, more so than most of my colleagues in the fatosphere, so I take the broad view of “wearable” and I actually really like the “Lolita” zebra kimono because it’s totally something I would wear when I was 70, lounging by the veranda while some Sweet Young Thing cleaned my pool and I polished my jewelry (those last two may or may not be euphemisms. Hint: they are.)
Lolita dress by Monif C
But the thing about this collection is yes, it’s a mess, but it’s a purposeful mess. It’s tragic in a thoroughly thought-out, committed way and I applaud that. I’m not even sure there aren’t a couple of pieces that couldn’t be de-skanked into something that doesn’t scream “I write off my IUD as a business expense”.
Lola dress from Monif C

The problem, of course, is much of this collection seems to subscribe to the Beyoncé School of Fashion Technology: too tight, too short, too low, too loud and just too, too much. Too bad.

So think what you will about Monif’s wares, but be thankful it exists.  It means the fashion community can support a plus size designer who has her own vision and that is a good thing, even if this isn’t:

Labelle by Monif C


30 Responses to “Monif C’s new collection: It’s a Look.”

  1. Suz October 5, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

    Tyra would like that weave.

  2. raincoaster October 5, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    But…tell us how your REALLY feel, Plumcake!

  3. Twistie October 5, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Channels Tim Gunn: That’s a lotta look!

    OTOH, I do have to appreciate, like you my dear Plummy, the fact that times have reached the point where Monif can let this particular freak flag fly.

    ps: zebra print wraparound + turban? Yes, no, maybe?

  4. Lisa October 5, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    Frankly, if I could find a spare $500, I would buy that zebra dress and wear it EVERYWHERE–to the grocery store, to faculty meetings, to the airport (which is where I am now, and where, if I were wearing this dress I could justify a long cigarette holder which would allow me to flick ashes into the hair of the little snotbag girl who is staring at me with a horrified look planted on her face like howdarethiswomenbefatomigodthankgodi’llneverbethathideous. At least she’d have a reason to stare then. )

  5. Evie October 5, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    Lisa: that is the best possible reaction to a layover, really.

    And I have to admit that my initial reaction to this collection was “when did Monif C. do a collaborative line with House of Dereon (or whatever)??” Although, that leopard wrap would make for an AMAZING Halloween costume…

  6. Mrs. Hendricks October 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

    Lisa: I’m with you. I would wear that zebra kimono all the time. And yet I agree with Plumcake’s vision of it, too: something to look forward to, no? I saw this collection last week and while I couldn’t put my finger on it (except to say that the vast majority of it wasn’t for me) Plumcake did with her reference to Beyonce. That being said, did anyone see the fabulous black zipper “Angelina” trench? If I had spare cash around, I’d snap that up in a heartbeat.

  7. Margo October 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    I love Monif C’s palette. The colours are clear, bold, beautiful.

    That fulfils my Say Something Nice quota for the year, right?

  8. Margo October 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    P.S. Lisa: you are my heroine.

  9. daisyj October 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    My well-reasoned fashion commentary:


    (Also: As much as I respect the idea of a wide variety of styles being available to all women, the jumpsuit is a cruel joke being played on us by the fashion industry, and I firmly believe we should all just ignore it until it goes away.)

  10. Style Spy October 5, 2009 at 5:10 pm #

    That black Num-Bah is a rip-off of a McQueen dress from a few seasons ago that I have tried on repeatedly in the hopes that somehow a miracle would have occurred in between trips to the dressing room and it wouldn’t be the single most unflattering garment I’ve ever stuck on my body. If Miss C. has out-thought Mr. McQueen and managed to make that design flattering, more power to her. Methinks, however, it is unlikely.

    OTOH, I LOVE that zebra thing. LOVE. IT

  11. Alicia October 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    The first look is terrible ALLTOGETHR But maybe if it was two separate pieces…or just a top…OR ugh never mind

    The rest of them are doable

    But I LOVE the pink zipper dress

  12. gabi October 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    i have to strongly disagree–love these looks! and the hair is fly.

  13. Bella Jewel October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    I actually really dig the collection and I’m missing the ‘skank’ factor that’s been pointed out. These are not the outfits you wear to work on Monday, they’re the things you rock out on Saturday night!

    The jump suit is super-cute, so is that black dress with the red stripe.

    I’m definitely happy that someone thought to make cute ‘go out and be sexy’ stuff for curvy girls.

    It certainly isn’t for everyone but most fashion-forward clothing isn’t.

  14. Meredith October 5, 2009 at 6:39 pm #

    I’m seriously digging the zebra wrap dress, and I think I’d find reasons to wear it. The rest of it isn’t for me. But really, the zebra wrap smacks of uber-fabulousness that I need more of in my life.

  15. rainebeaux October 5, 2009 at 6:59 pm #

    Because she was frustrated at how the models’ hair distracted from the clothes (“why won’t you let the frocks be great!?” she screeched at her laptop), Solange (“That Other One”) then decided to cut off her hair. *end conspiracy theory*

    [also, how many cases of Aquanet and Elnett were sacrificed for the hair/weave, man?]

    Lisa, I’ll see your cigarette holder and raise you a turban and a big ole brooch pinned onto same. :D

    That zippered dress has me feeling some kinda way: yea?nay?make a way? The mind boggles…

    the jumpsuit must die. The end.

  16. Becs October 5, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    I actually really like the black bat-wing dress, most of the rest I could do without, and someone needs to kill that jumpsuit with fire *shudderrrr*

  17. Catherine October 5, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    I luuuuuvvvvv the Zebra thing. Nothing would make me happier than walking into a restaurant and seeing a big, tall, beautiful woman wearing the hell out of it. Preferably, while on a date with a man much smaller than her, looking at her with adoration. The rest seems kinda much. P.S. I have been quoted many times saying “more is more”. Never again. The rest of this has proven me wrong.

  18. Jane October 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    I adore you, Plumcake.

    I might wear the zebra thing too. But at that price it had better come with the pool boy.

  19. jinelle October 5, 2009 at 8:29 pm #

    i met monifc for the 2nd time in l.a this weekend and purchased a sequin dress and the zipper dress in a cobalt blue. i look like sex in a dress in both dresses =-) monifc’s designs aren’t for everyone, but i enjoy that she doesn’t give a rat’s ass and styles for the woman (like me) who also doesn’t give a rat’s ass….

  20. jinelle October 5, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    oh and someone mentioned the zipper trench…it’s freaking awesome; extremely well made and can be worn as dress (which is how i plan to wear it…just gotta find some drool worthy lingerie to go under).

  21. Ripley October 5, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    I love the zebra dress, and if it were knee-length, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

    “I write off my IUD as a business expense” is my new favorite way of describing women of questionable moral character.

  22. Jessica October 6, 2009 at 2:16 am #

    For the most part I agree with you Plumcake, however…That zebra dress is fantastic! I would totally wear it out on a Saturday night and ROCK it. Lisa & rainebeaux: I see your cigarette holder and turban with a big ole broach on it, and raise you a glass of scotch on the rocks.

  23. Melissa Hatfield October 6, 2009 at 8:28 am #

    I have to say I was disappointed. I’m in my early 40s and there wasn’t a lot for me there. Even if I looked good in some of it, it would be a lot to carry off. Having said that, I love the model. She’s been one of my favorite plus models for a long time, and anything she puts on gets a second look from me. Unfortunately, I thought several of the looks were unflattering on her. If she can’t wear it, there’s no way I will.

  24. zuzu October 6, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    That zebra dress is for when you’re ready for your closeup, Mr. DeMille.

    IOW, it’s fantastic. If it weren’t 500 bucks, I’d be all over it.

  25. Nemtynakht October 6, 2009 at 9:40 am #

    Can we discuss the pantsuit?

    I mean, if it doesn’t flatter the model, how do you expect it to look on me?

  26. ChloeMireille October 6, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    This post pretty much nailed my whole thought about it. This collection is not for the conservative dresser, nor is it for the faint of heart. That’s exactly why I love it.

    Now, while I see the Beyonce-ness shining through, it is far from the mess that comes out of House of Dereon.

  27. Evie October 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    I don’t know, looking at the whole collection again…it feels like I’m looking at the plus size version of Express. Cute, revealing (not necessarily a bad thing, in my book), but some pieces are so aggressively trendy that they end up looking cheap, which is a shame because I’m sure the quality is good.

  28. Alexis October 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    …and you didn’t even address the wrong-ness that is the convertible dress. I am tired of someone trying to sell me a few yards of fabric and asking me to make my own dress. No, that’s what I paid you for, madame.

    I think that what gets me about these looks is that they look like clubwear–which should be cheap because a) you will get a lot less use out of it and b) if you spend a lot of time in clubs you may well be young enough not to be spending $200 on a dress ( not to make sweeping generalizations or anything) and c) they just look cheap.

  29. BrooklynShoeBabe October 6, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    I think the make-up and the two tons of weave is distracting from the collection. The collection does look too shiny and too tight and very Beyonce and Wendy Williams. For what it’s worth, I do like Zebra Kimono and would wear the hell out of it at home. I’m sick of my red flannel robe. I also kind of like the black color black dress. It’s fun.

    What kills me is how the animal print dress is filed under “casual.” HA!!

  30. emmme October 11, 2009 at 2:31 am #

    I’m all over the leopard Carmen dress, WITH gloves, please. I actually like most of the collection. If you’re a plus size woman in a fashion-minded industry, you NEED big, honking statement looks like these to help establish your power vibe–that well-cut and accessorized jersey dress just won’t cut it.