The first all plus-size line to show on the runway at World MasterCard Fashion Week was Allistyle, who presented the Spring/Summer 2013 collection on October 26. While this was definitely a very innovative move and major change at any Fashion Week, sadly, the collection was rather plain and something that anyone specialty sized (whether plus size or petite (short) like me) probably is already fairly familiar with. While the collection looked very comfortable and colourful, it was more or less a rehash of what’s already out there and in many ways, a bit repetitive. In fact, one can find much more “stylish” clothes at stores like Addition Elle or Laura, though Allistyle’s quality is much better and of course, sold at a higher price point. I was really hoping that Allistyle would be Canada’s answer to Marina Rinaldi, Max Mara’s plus size line, offering looks that were classic, stylish and sophisticated, rather than plain basics. Guess I was wrong.
Allistyle, which was established several years ago, by Pam Shainhouse and her late daughter, Alli Shapiro, could have done so much more. There could have been more pattern, more shape and definitely more looks that could go from day to night. The philosophy of the collection is about “simplicity, comfort, sophistication, travel friendly and classic.” And as I said, there’s definitely comfort, I don’t see much “classic” or “sophistication” about Allistyle without lots of accessorizing. Pieces that are supposedly sophisticated and classic should be able to hold out on its own.
The thing is, I don’t really understand why so-called “non-standard sizing” has to be boring. I’ve complained about this issue myself, albeit about petite sizing (clothes for women 5’4″ or shorter, regardless of size), which for the most part, still has a more “mature” ring to it or is very career-focused. In both cases, things are changing, but designers have to be brave enough to come out with exclusive lines in order to do so and think outside of the box – beyond typical office wear. Shorter women and women who are size 12 or larger have the same needs as average heighted and tall women who are between size 0 and 12, after all. Marketers and media shouldn’t have to fear bad reaction from the public, because we the public want to see more of that. And looks really should be more than simple, comfortable pieces as that can be found just about anywhere, and beyond casual wear, business attire and perhaps, denim. Clothes can be simple. Fashion and style have to be more than that. Perhaps that’s why some major publications didn’t bother to come, despite the milestone that this show was.
Though many of the pieces were, as noted, quite plain, I have to admit that they definitely fit well. And if I were of a larger size, I’d probably like to have some of the pieces as basics in my closet. However, as I noted earlier, the specialty size industry has to go beyond that. Still, there is promise. Maybe we’ll see more “style” next time around.
Photos by Deborah Lawrence Photography