This past Friday saw the beginning of a journey that has probably been my destiny since I began plus size modeling in the mid 80s. I always loved live fashion shows and got my fill of events when I was doing Mode on the Road with that magazine for four years from 1997-2001. When Mode shuttered its doors in September right after 9/11 and the deal with Burda, the publishers from Germany who wanted to buy it fell through, I knew I wanted to produce a high-end runway show.
I staged the CurveStyle runway show with Darren Trentacosta at the Puck Building in New York in March of 2002. It was such a success that I was offered to do road events with Charming Shoppes and that prevented me from continuing on with the idea of CurveStyle, which was meant to be a seasonal fashion extravaganza during Fashion Week in NYC. Ten years have passed since I last thought that goal would be possible.
Then I went to Las Vegas in February of 2011 and worked on the Lane Bryant lingerie show at the Planet Hollywood and re-connected with Jeff Grinstein whom I had known during my early years of plus modeling but had lost touch with. Jeff and I realized we enjoyed working and producing that event and vowed to make something happen that would be our combined legacy to the plus size industry.
On Friday, February 10, 2012 the beginning of that rekindled dream was set in motion. I was proud to take part in co-creating the press conference held during Fashion Week at the Warwick Hotel in New York announcing the September 2012 high end fashion multi media event called simply Jeff Grinstein Entertainment’s Curvy Fashion Show. The room was packed with media, fashionistas and bloggers who listened eagerly to our announcement before being treated to a mini lingerie show celebrating the launch of our lead participating company, Bare Plus by Bare Necessities. Jeff and I are serious about our mission to accomplish our vision.
I am now the President of Jeff Grinstein Entertainment’s Curvy Fashion Show. I was seated on the dais with Jeff, who is the Chairman and CEO; Patty Fantasia, the VP of Marketing & Promotions and Cindy Wiener, our Executive Creative Coordinator. Also seated with us during the festivities were sponsors Lori McClenahan, President and CEO of St. Elias Mines and Noel Wrubel, CEO of Bare Necessities and Jay Dunn, CMO of Bare Necessities. Lori became a sponsor when I learned about her Tesoro goldmine property in Peru. We had always said that “the plus size market was an untapped goldmine in the fashion industry.” This made the saying a reality when she joined on as one of our title sponsors.
After welcoming the roomful of guests, Jeff gave a brief speech driving home the point that each season Fashion Week has shunned the plus size industry and in reality has never accepted us as an equal although we represent 60% of the world’s population. After stating this he announced that starting Fashion Week September 2012 and every fashion week thereafter we intend to invade, dominate and expand the minds of everyone focusing on fashion. Jeff added that we have never received the representation we deserve at the most prestigious industry event held in the world of fashion emphasizing that we plan to change all that and level the playing field by producing semi-annual, high end, couture quality events tailored to the needs of the full figured woman. Aside from manufacturers we will be spotlighting the most innovative, creative and diverse designers within the plus size industry, who will ensure that the plus size woman will no longer be viewed as an outsider, but rather as a force to be recognized during this groundbreaking show.
As someone who has worked tirelessly as an advocate within the plus size industry and who has tried to bring us the recognition we deserve, I considered this press conference to be a milestone in my career. Jeff Grinstein Entertainment’s Curvy Fashion Show will turn what had begun over ten years ago into a long awaited reality with the vision becoming manifest. We intend to make it possible for plus size women to be accepted and valued on an equal playing field showcasing beautiful and comparable clothes for them during Fashion Week. By featuring Bare Plus’s amazing and high quality lingerie we set the bar high at this inaugural event and celebrated our launch with an enthusiastic crowd on hand.
How fitting that the press conference took place in the very room, in the very hotel where the Beatles first held their initial press conference in February 1964 before their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. The Beatles started a revolution in rock n’ roll during their February press conference, just as we are poised to change the fashion world forever by elevating the perception of the plus woman and firmly entrenching her as a fashion icon in her own right. Now, onto September. Stay tuned, we’re going to make history – Yeah, Yeah, Yeah….
Go to www.curvyfashionshow.com to check out the UStream press conference coverage and link to all of the exciting contests and events we have planned from now till September.
About The Author:Catherine Schuller is a professional Image Consultant specializing in the plus size client. She has helped thousands of women with her Shape Shopping with Figure&Fit instore retail program which she designed after studying the image program at Parsons School of Design in the mid 90s when she was phasing out of plus size modeling and into the image consulting profession.