As fashion and style director of Mode, the new fashion glossy for women size 12 and up, Michelle Weston's biggest challenge has been finding the right clothes to photograph for the magazine's stylish pictorials.
"Matte jersey is my new crusade," she said last week while preparing for a fashion show at Bloomingdale's Century City store. Said Weston, a size 16 herself: "There are those of us who like a modern, clean look."
Lucky for Weston, Bloomingdale's asked BCBG to size up a group of separates from the Los Angeles company's regular line to sell in its Shop for Women. "The best designers for larger women don't start by thinking about their limitations," Weston explained. "They begin with a vision of the look they're after, and figure out how to make it work for a size 12 to 26. The BCBG pieces are sexy and young."
Just like a lot of the 62 million women in this country who aren't built like the tall, thin models Weston describes as "fortunate freaks of nature."
Beauty Tip: In the history of hairstyles, the frizzed-out perm popular in the '80s represented a nadir. On a few women who were, depending on your point of view, blessed (or cursed) with natural curls, wild ringlets sometimes achieved a pre-Raphaelite loveliness. (Think Amy Irving in her prime, or Roseanne Vela, even on a bad day.) But too often untamed frizz seemed the visual expression of an angry, early feminist stance that dubbed women who wore makeup, wielded a blow-dryer or shaved as traitors to the movement.
Flat, stick-straight hair has ruled the runways for a while, but judging by the deliberately messy updos favored by the women on "Friends," straight hair isn't a signal that we're living in a more kempt era. The straight preference just dictates that women who inherited the gene for hair that tends to go fuzzy now have to struggle to make their locks do something quite different from what nature intended.
At least there are some new weapons in the hair product arsenal. Redken offers aid in its One 2 One line of styling treatments sold in salons ( REDKEN8). "Straight" hair-straightening balm, when applied before blow-drying, temporarily uncurls the hair and provides a shield against humidity. "Smooth" anti-frizz cream may be applied before or after blow-drying, to do just what its name suggests. "Groom" is a shine-enhancer that also helps tame frizz and hold a blow-dried style, without the helmet-head stiffness of a traditional hair spray.
In Southern California, a check of the weather report is the first step in deciding which new miracle gunk to choose. On days when the Santa Ana winds bluster, hardly anyone needs to worry about frizz.
Haute Jeans: Helmut Lang is the designer of paradox. His clothes seem so simple as to be almost generic, but little flourishes, from a slash cut into fabric at the elbows to a strategic placement of a contrasting band across a sack of a dress, set the plainest styles apart. His un-designery nonchalance is exactly what the hip Austrian's fans crave.
Now, the ranks of those who can afford the lean Lang look has increased, thanks to the introduction of a jeans line, available at Barneys New York.
Lang Jeans has all the designer's trademarks, like deep cuffs on pant legs or sleeves, interesting, modern fabrics and clean lines. Smartly realizing that it isn't necessary to reinvent the nearly perfect cut of Levi's 501s, the stiff, dark denim pants are more like the best low-slung, flared-leg trousers-of-the-moment than jeans. A cotton pullover features Lang's distinctively ventilated elbows.