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Tom and Lorenzo Get it Right.

Tom and Lorenzo over at Project Rungay have an excellent piece on Crystal Renn’s amazing spread in ELLE Canada AND they earn extra fabulon points for writing the following, which could have tripped from my flawlessly maquillaged lips:

“So why not put them in the correct size or in clothes that flatter them? It’s what a photographer and stylist would do with any other model, so why do the bigger models get the tighter, more revealing clothes? You never see plus-sized models in these editorials wearing something classic and tailored or flowing and goddess-y. No, they always look like they’re heading out to the road house on a Saturday night, where ladies drinks are half off. In fact, the more we think about it, we can’t ever remember seeing a “plus-sized” editorial (and it’s not like there have been so many that we have trouble recalling) where we liked the clothes. It’s always super-tight, super-short, super-revealing. We get it. “Big is Beautiful.” They want to promote the idea that bigger women are sexy. Well you know what? Bigger women are fabulous too. Can’t we have a “Big is Fabulous” spread some time soon that doesn’t roll around in the old tropes that fat women are sexually ravenous and a little sloppy to boot?”

You MUST click, if only to see the incredible spread.

In Which Plumcake’s Heart Grows Three Sizes That Day

When it comes to the fashion world, especially the modeling world, I am a cold, cold jaded shrew.

I know most plus-size models are size 10/12 and travel with their own set of pads to make them look bigger. I know there’s only ever one famous plus-size model at a time and I know nine times out of ten, if there’s a plus-size model in a straight-sized shoot, she’s there like a token black model would’ve been in the early 70’s.

And it’s not that I’m bitter. I had a blast when I modeled. My neck was too short for me to ever be a real success, but I was popular enough as an artists’ model to pay my bills for a while and I got to do the occasional charity runway thing which was all kinds of fun (Mama can STOMP. IT. OUT.) and I got to meet all sorts of cool artist guys I’m glad I never slept with. If you’ve ever wanted to model and have the required beauty, thick skin and good head on  your shoulders, I say give it a try.

But when you’ve been in and around the industry for a decade or so, you can get a little jaded. You realize Crystal Renn is just the new Mia Tyler, who was the new Kate  Dillon who was the new Sophie Dahl etc etc etc.  Now granted, all those girls –except for Sophie who is back to a straight size and just as gorgeous as ever– are still working as plus size models, but only Crystal is getting the covers.  Crystal is a damn good model but I’m just about exhausted of all the kerfuffle made over her each time she gets an editorial. It’s nothing new. She’s just the token “fat chick” who is virtually indistinguishable from a skinny chick.

THIS, however, is new:

V Magazine preview courtesy of models.com

V Magazine preview courtesy of models.com

(click on the photos to view more previews, you know you want to)

What we have here are four gorgeous undeniably plus-size models in V Magazine’s upcoming “Size Issue” and you know what these photos say to me?

Supermodels are back.

Good old-fashioned Gianni Versace schmoozing, George Michael lip-synch, don’t-get-out-of-bed-for-less-than-$10,000 quoting, early 90’s supermodels and it’s




Because this? Is gorgeous and lush and LONG overdue. It is full on glamor and I LOVE it because dammit, life is HARD right now for a lot of people and by God if ever there’s been a time to be allowed to do a smoky eye AND a major lip, it’s when we can’t afford anything BUT a new red lipstick and some kohl pencil.

Do I think we’re going to see a preponderance of plus-sized women on the catwalk and in major fashion editorials any time soon? Not hardly. But I DO think it means we’re moving away from the size 00 models and might start seeing fours and sixes again. I think the pendulum will swing away from the hard, post-modern space-age praying mantis ideal we’ve got now back to lushness and a certain over-the-top natural sexiness that just cannot happen when you don’t have any vavas to voom.

So well played, V Magazine. Well played indeed and I  hope this is the start of something big –as it were– for all of us.

The Big Reminder: Take a Deep Breath Edition

With Christmas just a few days away, Francesca reminds you:

calm1You can control only yourself, no one else.  Do your part and let the rest go.

calm2Keep your eyes on the prize. In this case, the prize is love, peace and joy among you and anyone you encounter on the holiday. Nothing is as important as these things, not even the turkey burning or your inability to find a Zhu Zhu hamster or whether you finish polishing the silver before your mother comes. (Do not be this person’s brother.)

calm3Do what you need to be fully “present.” A nap or a hot bath might do more to make Christmas meaningful than last-minute tinsel. And if you are the guest in someone’s home, offer to vacuum or chop vegetables or load the dishwasher.

calm5Reach out. If you are spending Christmas alone and don’t want to be, make some calls or emails now, and make arrangements with others (such as your internet friends?) to get together at your house or at a restaurant. Just popping some popcorn, and a movie into the DVD player, will be nice if you have company.

calm4Eat as much of whatever you want this Christmas. You are a grownup person, and a beautiful one at that.

calm6Give yourself and others lots of hugs!


Twistie Gets Lucky

Oh yeah, I’m a lucky lady.

You see, recently Shop Translated picked several blogs to participate in giveaways of their clothes. I entered the prize drawing at Hyde and Seek, a blog I enjoy tremendously. As it happens, I was one of the winners. As a winner, I was allowed to pick one piece of clothing from Shop Translated. The only caveat was that it couldn’t be from the New Arrivals section. Fair enough.

It took a little while to make my decision, but when I saw the sleeveless wrap dress:

Sleeveless Wrap DressI knew I’d found my piece.

My new dress arrived on saturday. Considering that I won just seven days earlier, I call that swift service. The good folks at Shop Translated even congratulated me on my win on the invoice. Nice touch.

So what do I think of my win? First off, the picture does not do it justice. I thought it looked pretty in the picture, but it’s absolutely gorgeous in person. The splashy print is in purple, turquoise, and navy blue – my favorite colors – on a warm ivory background. And while the fabric is polyester, it’s a high grade of polyester. The seams and hems are finished impeccably.  Seriously, I haven’t seen such neat finishing for this price in a very, very, very long time. There are small vents at the sides of the skirt (just a couple inches), and while it looks sort of cap sleeved in the picture, it actually is sleeveless.

At 5’2″ I’m definitely shorter than the model, but I prefer to wear my skirts a little long, so that’s no problem. It hits about mid-calf on me. What’s closer to being a problem (for me) is the fact that the model is also more chestally endowed than I am. I’m a C cup and the ‘wrap’ bodice is inclined to open up a bit more than I’d like. As in, I had trouble covering up my bra. Still, it’s nothing a well-placed brooch or a couple of small tacking stitches can’t take care of. In the meantime, those of you in the D – DD range will probably get a perfect fit on the faux wrap.

In short, I consider this site an excellent place to look for something new to wear at a reasonable price.

Go, thou, and support a fine purveyor of attractive clothes for the more generously-sized lady of fashion consciousness.

Friday Fierceness: Plumcake’s Patron Saint

I seem to recall once upon a time lo those many years ago when I was but a mere babe in arms being called Miss Piggy as an insult. I’m sure THEY thought it was an insult but Miss Piggy has more style, substance and feminine wisdom in her naturally-curly little tail than most women do in their entire bodies.

She is smart, opinionated, glamorous beyond all decency and isn’t afraid to kick some ass. Who WOULDN’T love her?

Here are some of her quotes I live by:

The Divine Miss P

“There is only one gift you should accept on your first date – diamonds.”

“Never wash your hair with anything you’d hesitate to eat or drink.”

“Moi has always possessed a charm that is lethal to men.”

“There is the satisfaction of providing your public with a vision of true beautology, true sytlisity, – how can I put it? – true glamorositude.”

miss piggy and kermit

“Moi speaks body language fluently, although with a slight French accent.”

“The early bird gets the worm – which is what he deserves.”

“What if you were in Florida without your furs and there is a very quick little ice age?”

“How far should a girl go on the first date? Tucson. However, if you live in Texas, you can probably go a bit farther.”

Marc Jacobs picks out clothes for Miss Piggy

“You can eliminate a lot of calories by entirely cutting out things you hate.”

“Eat what you want, exercise your prerogative, and find a good plastic surgeon who gives frequent-flyer miles.”

“Beauty takes practice.”

Miss Piggy: Beyoncé before Beyoncé

“Never let your frog outdress you.”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it may become necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”

Miss Piggy for President


True, it seems Miss Piggy has had a little work done but haven’t we all? It’s a gal’s prerogative, no?

Friday Fierceness: Isabella Blow

Isabella Blow was a genius, and she got screwed.

her signature slash of red inspired MAC to create a color called Isabella

La Blow, former Tatler editor, muse, star-finder and influence-wielder would have turned 51 yesterday, and her tragic story was fashion legend even before it ended with her death-by-weed-killer in March, 2007.

She was not a pretty girl.

No true fashion visionaries are traditionally beautiful (Miuccia Prada, Diana Vreeland, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, etc), she had a weak chin, droopy eyes and perhaps the most painfully British set of teeth to be found outside the Royal Family.
In one of her more tame chapeaux

But she had an eye.

BOY did she have an eye and she decided to follow Oscar Wilde’s commandment: if she could not BE a work of art, then at least she would wear them.

Thus created was the woman Lady Gaga wishes she could be.

She was an Evelyn Waugh character come to life: high born, brilliant and hopelessly self-destructive.  Blow left England in 1979 and wound up in New York, working as Anna Wintour’s assistant (the Devil may wear Prada, but the Assistant discovered McQueen) and then for André Leon Talley.

an homage to the Dali/Schaipirelli "Lobster Dress"

She returned to London to work for Tatler, which is like American Vogue but smart and interesting, first as an assistant and then as its Fashion Director. She also bounced around the rest of Conde Nast and did a stint as the Sunday Times Style section (London, not New York).yet another Elsa Schiapirelli homage

During that time she developed her relationship with boy-genius milliner Philip Treacy and became his muse, constantly daring him to create a hat she would not wear (as noted above, lobsters were not a barrier to millinery).

She discovered straight-then plus-then straight-sized model Sophie Dahl (Granddaughter of Roald, which explains why the heroine of The BFG was named Sophie), Stella Tennant and perhaps most legendarily, discovered Alexander McQueen when she bought young Lee”s entire student collection for ₤5,000 –paid for in ₤100/wk allotments as she couldn’t afford it all in one go– in 1992.

one of Treacy's more intricate works

Her personal life was not a happy one.

Disinherited by her father in the early 90’s she was married briefly in the 80’s and then joined her lot with Detmar Blow in 1989. Their marriage was not a success as Isabella battled with depression and could not conceive a child. Detmar, needing to carry on the family name in order not to lose the familial manse designed by his muckety muck architect ancestor (also a Detmar Blow) temporarily left Isabella when her I.V.F. didn’t work so he could knock up some girl.  Charming, no?

Recalling Avedon

As Isabella continued to suffer from depression and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, the people she discovered and nurtured –particularly McQueen– were moving onwards and upwards.

Her friend Daphne Guinness said “She was upset that McQueen didn’t take her along when he sold his brand to Gucci. Once the deals started happening, she fell by the wayside. Everybody else got contracts, and she got a free dress” which was especially hurtful as Blow was cripplingly low on cash and was rumored to have personally negotiated the Gucci deal.
Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow by David LaChappelle
Blow tried several creative attempts at suicide, finally succeeding by drinking Paraquat in the bathroom of the family manse her husband had left her to save.

Blow’s memorial service was, as you’d imagine, well-attended and there has been a great deal of guilt –both public and private– about her treatment by her fashion friends and colleagues. Read Simon Doonan’s self-punishing recollection –published shortly after her death– here.
McQueen's Homage to Isabella S/S 2007

As a personal note, I wept when I saw Alexander McQueen’s S/S 2008 show, an homage to Isabella chock-full of Philip Treacy confections (including a quivering mob of feather butterflies which I came up with for a Halloween costume in 2001. I have proof.)

Isabella Blow did not have a happy ending, nor indeed a happy middle or beginning, but she was one of the few great characters of the post-couture era and her eccentricity has inspired a new generation of  fashion daredevils.  Have a great weekend, and wherever you’re going, put on a hat. Do it for La Blow.

Since Some of You Have Expressed an Interest…

…I thought I would let you know The Basement of the Bargains is back, baby!

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