By Nathan James
With New York Fashion Week in full swing, the industry comes alive with models sashaying down runways all over town. The semi-annual gathering of designers, manufacturers, celebrities, photojournalists, and clothing labels has become the Super Bowl of fashion, and all its pomp and circumstance goes on display before the world. Among the spectacular events and popping flashbulbs, are some uniquely appealing showcases, such as “Runway The Real Way”, a delightful, recurring series at Midtown Manhattan’s Yotel, astride the Theater and Garment Districts.
Produced by Errickson Wilcox, hosted and curated by longtime industry expert and full-figured modeling advocate Catherine Schuller, Saturday’s pageant included designs by Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week featured designer Angelo Rosa, who displayed his stunning F/W 2014 collection, with modern, jet-setting pieces, joined by designers Kurvz Boutique, Thorobreadz Jeanz, and Anna G. Lyndley, whose flowing, exquisite ensembles captivated the audience. The models were accessorized by elegant creations from the repertoire of Heaven B. Designs, and dome up to perfection by Gloria Francis Makeup Artistry’s expert, Priscilla Chakmakian. Patrons dined on a sumptuous brunch buffet and fine cocktails, as models of both genders brought it to the catwalk. Curator Schuller was outfitted in an original black jumpsuit by Denim Blu Style’s CEO, Patricia Freeman, whose talents recently attracted the notice of Food Network star Chef Lovely. “I want to make women look and feel beautiful, regardless of their size,” Freeman says, “and I want to be part of that industry shift in sizes 10 and above.” Schuller seconds Freeman’s observations, noting that “Fifty percent of the population are size 14 and above.” Plus-size sales accounted for over $16 billion globally last year, according to industry sources, who say this is a true “emerging market”.
A highlight of the afternoon was Stylaga’s live shopping event, introducing his new “social shopping app” that lets users post new clothing or accessory purchases to the platform, sharing them with others who may make similar buys. The runway was kept moving by music from DJ Mr. Marcus, and R&B sensation Brian Christopher had everyone rocking as he belted out song after song, in true Fashion Week style. Also on hand was Yvonne Forbes, Executive Producer of the upcoming cable/satellite TV series “Fashion In The Fast Lane”, and Editor in Chief of Cattura Vanity and FITFL Magazines. Forbes, who also operates a PR and model talent firm, LaBelleLaDiva Enterprises, walked the runway in her own right, becoming Ms. Plus Size USA in 2008.
Full-figured designs are now appearing on the racks of major retailers, such as Macy’s and Nordstrom’s, and shows like “Runway The Real Way” are at the vanguard of this trend. “It’s not just Ashley Stewart anymore,” says fashionista Sylvia Kelleher, of FT, a fashion-industry analysis firm. “People understand that most of the world isn’t a size 2.”
“Runway The Real Way” returns to the Yotel on September 27, at 570 Tenth Avenue on the corner of 42nd Street. The show runs fro 11 AM to 5 PM, visit www.yotelnewyork.com/blog for more details.