Feb 21, 2010
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Plus-size models take to London catwalk

Feb 21, 2010

LONDON, Feb 20, 2010 (AFP) - Plus-size models took to the London catwalk on Saturday 20 February in the latest collection by British knitwear designer Mark Fast, just days after a fresh row erupted in New York over the weight of fashion models.

Photo: AFP/Ben Stansall

Fast was at the centre of a dispute during London Fashion Week last September, when a stylist was forced to deny she stormed out of his catwalk show because he was using larger than normal models.

Among the models was Hayley Morley, a British size 12 (European size 40, US size 10) who returned with a plus-sized brunette to Fast's show this year.

The new collection was less revealing than the cut-out knits of last season, but the women's natural curves were clearly visible.

Fast -- one of London's most up and coming designers -- offered a more practical collection for autumn/winter 2010, with tight dresses with detailing at the neck and hem, and softly swaying skirts and matching cropped capes.

The issue of fashion models' weight, however, stalks the industry this season, erupting in New York last week with the appearance of Monika Jagaciak, a reed-thin 16-year-old who wears a US size zero -- the standard sample size.

At the other end of the scale, Canadian model Coco Rocha complained that she was being overlooked because she was too large. The 21-year-old stands at five feet and eight inches (1.78 metres) tall and weighs 110 pounds (50 kilogrammes).

Back in Britain, department store Debenhams won praise after it unveiled British size 16 mannequins in its shop windows on Thursday 18 February, for a limited time, to reflect that most women in the kingdom are a size 14 or 16.

"We are proud to offer a broad and varied choice for women of all ages, shapes and sizes in store. So we thought we should reflect this in our window displays," Debenhams' head of creative Mark Stevens said.

However, as last season, Fast's show was the exception to the rule -- the vast majority of models walking in London so far have been slight and, despite complaints about a lack of diversity, nearly all of them white.

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