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Francois Durand  /  Getty Images
Model Laetitia Casta walks the runway during the Louis Vuitton show at Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011. Several top designers, including Marc Jacobs and Prada, included fuller-figured women in their shows.
TODAY contributor
updated 9/8/2010 10:48:09 AM ET 2010-09-08T14:48:09

Blame it on Lizzie Miller’s belly.

It seems you can hardly pick up a magazine or turn on a fashion television show these days without seeing and hearing about plus-size models. These “real”-size women (in sizes 12-14-16 and up) are finally getting their due.

And it all started with a 3-by-3-inch picture of the gorgeous Miller in Glamour’s September 2009 issue, wearing nothing more than skimpy panties, her healthy skin and a smile on her face. Oh and yes, a little roll of flesh across her belly — which resonated with women, and the fashion community, everywhere.

With the international fashion crowd turning its focus to New York as the city’s Fashion Week gets under way (it officially starts Sept. 9, but there are shows starting Sept. 7), plus-size models and real women will be sharing the spotlight with their size 0 and 2 mannequin sisters. 

On Sept. 15, OneStopPlus.com, a fashion shopping portal for women sized 12W to 44W, is hosting the first fashion show to feature plus-size women exclusively. “We wanted to focus on and validate the 62 percent of American women who can relate to these sizes,” Nancy LeWinter, editorial director of OneStopPlus, told TODAYshow.com. “Literally, it’s about time.”

The show will feature some of the most recognizable plus-size models — including Miller and Toccara Jones (from “America’s Next Top Model”) — and will have such celebrities as Emme and Nikki Blonsky in the audience.

There are a couple of reasons that this Fashion Week is the appropriate time for plus-size women to take the catwalk, LeWinter said. “Fashion has gotten better — there are more and more designers making bigger clothes. And consumers are being validated as the fashions are evolving.”

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It’s also au courant. Marc Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton and Prada led the trend for fall, showing clothing that was made for fuller figures, accentuating the curves most women have. 

The trend extends to entertainment as well. “ ‘Mad Men’ — and specifically Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan — has us celebrating curves again,” said TODAY show style expert Stacy London. “It’s about creating curves [through styling], or accentuating the curves you have.”

Still, when it came time for Hendricks to appear at the Emmy Awards Aug. 29, she bemoaned to a Scottish newspaper that “not one designer will loan me a dress — they only lend out a size 0 or a size 2.” Fortunately, New York designer Zac Posen came to the rescue with a hourglass dress of lilac-colored chiffon, with a boned bodice that made the most of the actress’s ample cleavage.

Jamie Mccarthy  /  WireImage
Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, Jessica Simpson and Pete Wentz attend a launch  for the Spring 2011 Jessica Simpson Collection.

Another star who is no stranger to showing off her curves is singer Jessica Simpson, and her very public hits and misses (remember the mom jeans?) have put her in tune with what works for real women’s bodies. Her new jeanswear collection launched last month at stores across the country. To celebrate, Simpson hosted a fashion presentation Tuesday that featured real women — her friends and family, in fact.

“When she’s designing, she has her best friends in mind,” a Simpson spokeswoman told TODAYshow.com. “It’s all about dressing for every girl.”

The Simpson event featured friends like CaCee Cobb and sister Ashlee Simpson-Wentz modeling different styles of jeans while Jessica explained why the various versions work for each body type.

Simpson’s embracing more than just her curves.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: Big is beautiful

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  1. Curves ahead

    Who says thin dominates the fashion industry? The “Size Issue” of V magazine features stunning plus-size models — like Crystal Renn — in sexy boysuits and barely-there outfits. (Solve Sundsbo / V magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. More to love

    The "Size Issue" intends to showcase high-fashion outfits on voluptuous bodies — a combination rarely found in women's magazines. (Solve Sundsbo / V magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Twice the fun

    The models in V magazine appear in everything from bustiers and bodysuits to nothing but their own skin. (Solve Sundsbo / V magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Thigh-high

    After shooting the models for V, photographer Solve Sundsbo said, "I loved the opportunity to show that you can be beautiful and sexy outside the narrow interpretations that normally define us." (Solve Sundsbo / V magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Bold moves

    Model Tara Lynn wears a tight top by Armani Jeans.

    Fellow plus-size model Crystal Renn, whose dimensions are 36-31-41, also participated in the spread. "I'd like to see everyone take on the attitude that there are women of all different shapes and sizes as 'the beauty ideal,' and that it's not one type or another," Renn said. "There are women who are naturally a size 2 — you can't forget them, and that's discrimination the other way." (Solve Sundsbo / V magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Good jeans

    Models Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine, Michelle Olson and Marquita Pring strike poses in contemporary denim outfits. (Solve Sundsbo / V magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Full fashion

    Model Michelle Olson wears a corset and briefs by Dolce & Gabbana.

    V magazine hopes their photo spread will prove big is bigger than ever: "These bombshells of plus-size are proving that there's plenty of room in the fashion world for women who look like ... women." (Solve Sundsbo / V magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Fits all sizes

    V magazine creative director Stephen Gan says he was inspired by actress Gabourey Sidibe — who weighs nearly 250 pounds — after seeing her in the "Precious" trailer.

    The magazine features Sidibe and size zero actress Dakota Fanning on its two contrasting covers. More from V magazine

    More from V magazine (V magazine) Back to slideshow navigation
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Video: Ladylike style, curves return for fall

  1. Transcript of: Ladylike style, curves return for fall

    ANN CURRY, co-host: This morning on TODAY'S STYLE , the " Mad Men " look. That early '60s feminine silhouette is back in a big way this fall, so if you have -- are a lady with curves , you're going to be very happy. We've got Stacy London , she is a lady with curves , and who's also our resident style expert and the co-host of TLC 's "What Not to Wear ." And by the way, everybody, she's also appearing in the current off- Broadway show "Love, Loss and What I Wore." Stacy , congratulations.

    Ms. STACY LONDON: Thank you so much . Last night was opening night, it was fantastic. We're going to be doing it for a month. I have an amazing cast. And it has just been such an honor to be in it.

    CURRY: And I heard you're fantastic in it. So congratulations on all that. My goodness.

    Ms. LONDON: Thank you.

    CURRY: But you still got up this morning...

    Ms. LONDON: Yes.

    CURRY: ...to show us how to do this " mad Men " kind of inspired look. It's really -- we -- I would say probably you describe it as curvy? What would you say ?

    Ms. LONDON: Well, look, I think that -- here's the thing, the great thing about " Mad Men ," and Christina Hendricks in particular is an actress who plays Joan , is that we're celebrating curves again. Now even women who don't have curves can get the illusion of curves with this look. I will say you are doing a perfect Betty Draper right here. Everybody take a look at Ann. It is about creating curves or accenting curves .

    CURRY: OK.

    Ms. LONDON: So we'll show you how to do that.

    CURRY: Well, thanks for that nice sweet compliment.

    Ms. LONDON: Yes.

    CURRY: Let's take a look at our models, though, I'm sure they've got it together much more than I do. We've got our first lady look being worn by Serena . Good morning, Serena .

    SERENA: Good morning.

    CURRY: So how -- did you make this with a belt, is that was creates this?

    Ms. LONDON: Yes -- now -- yes -- this is what's important, here is a perfect way to either get curves or show off your curves , you want a sheath dress that has this kind of princess seaming detail, the belt accents the waist, right? Look at the attention paid to the color. So if you have a smaller chest, this could still accent your chest, but here it also de-emphasizes a larger chest but still keeps the curves .

    Ms. LONDON: You always want to make the waist small, knee-length is the ideal in terms of silhouette length just to create those curves on the body. A pointy- toe shoe always elongates the leg.

    CURRY: Mm.

    Ms. LONDON: And most important, get a bra fitting because the girls have to be up and high in order to get this look right.

    CURRY: Oh! All right.

    Ms. LONDON: That's all I'm going to say.

    CURRY: OK, Stacy! Thanks, Serena . That's beautiful. OK. We've got our next look by Maryann and -- come on our, Maryann . Oh, that's very nice. I like that. That's -- it's very Jackie O , I think.

    Ms. LONDON: It's very Jackie O. It 's still based on that early '60s inspiration. Now a lot of women think that that " Mad Men " thing can only be achieved by wearing skirts or dresses. You can do a skinny pant here, that is the pant for the season.

    CURRY: Mm.

    Ms. LONDON: And I have to say if you don't have curves , if you've got a narrower shoulder or a smaller bust, a swing cardigan like this. And look at the peplum on this Ann Taylor top.

    CURRY: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. LONDON: That gives you the illusion of a hip.

    Ms. LONDON: And it gives you a little bit of curve where you don't have any.

    CURRY: What is peplum? I'm sorry.

    Ms. LONDON: Peplum is the trim around the hem of the top.

    CURRY: I see.

    Ms. LONDON: So it's a -- gives you a little bit more volume.

    CURRY: I see, I see.

    Ms. LONDON: Yeah.

    CURRY: Oh, that's really cute?

    Ms. LONDON: And this is easy, easy to wear for day or for weekend. And you'll see the knit itself is kind of that nice flat knit, easy to pack, easy to take with you to travel.

    CURRY: Again with the pointy shoes.

    Ms. LONDON: Yes, always, the pointy shoe. And notice the kitten heel , this is a very short heel, this is the new style for fall. It's not about the sky-high platform anymore, even though we both love it.

    CURRY: All right. OK. Now our next model -- thanks a lot, Maryann -- Dawn is showing off some very serious curves because she's also expecting a baby.

    Ms. LONDON: She's expecting a baby. Can you believe that?

    CURRY: No.

    Ms. LONDON: I mean, look at this body with expecting a baby, I mean, shut up. But what I love -- what I love is this is the new length skirt. Now a lot of people are afraid of this because they think they can look dowdy, but I really like to think of this as long as you are accenting the waist, as I said, with a wider waistband, doing some visual interests here with the plaid, which is also very big for fall, and the nice pointy- toe shoe , this is ladylike, it doesn't have to be dowdy.

    Ms. LONDON: Keep it light with something tighter on top so that the volume is only in one part of the body, otherwise we lose the body's shape. And this is how you accent curves again. If you didn't have hips, this is a great way to give yourself the illusion of hips because it looks like you have a small waist and a larger hip.

    CURRY: This also plays into the neutral theme of this year all on top.

    Ms. LONDON: Absolutely. Neutral . Camel in particular is the new neutral. But you will see color as well. I'm actually showing these in neutral tones because when you're doing a plaid this big, if you did it in a bright color it might feel a little overwhelming. Neutrals are always a great base, they're a great investment, and then you add color as you go. Jewel tones are very big this season.

    CURRY: Dawn, thank you so much . Our next model is Zoe .

    Ms. LONDON: Now this is Zoe , who is one of my best friends and works with me. And we had to put her in something, she loves a beehive! But animal print is super important this season. And I wanted to talk about that because this is an H&M cardigan, around $24.

    CURRY: Hm.

    Ms. LONDON: You can get animal print inexpensively and do it even if it's a bolder animal print, but don't be afraid. Animal print doesn't go out of style. So even it's much more popular this season, but it may not, you know, be as popular and you can always have this in your wardrobe, great investment.

    CURRY: Let's bring all of the models out. And so the bottom line on a lot of this is that we're accentuating the waist as much as possible.

    Ms. LONDON: That is correct.

    CURRY: And also, we're channeling our '60s kind of little cartouches, again the pointy shoes.

    Ms. LONDON: That is correct. Pointy- toe shoes , accented waists, and you will have curves all season long.

    CURRY: Stacy London , such a pleasure. And congratulations on all your success.


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