A couple of years ago, in January 2004 to be precise, I went to ‘Fashion in motion’ a fashion show by some famous Iranian designers at V&A Museum in London (organised by Iran Heritage Foundation).
My aunt and good friend was one of the designers there so before the show I got to rub shoulders with the rich and famous of the Iranian fashion world. My choice of outfit: a thick, stiff, black polo neck that flattened my chest to nothingness (It was a cold day, ok? And that was the only jumper I owned at the time. I’m not a big fan of winter clothes really) was something that I regretted almost immediately and then a bit later, after paying a visit to the ladies' room, my very rushed and amateurish makeup application!
Straight off you could tell the designers were not happy and there was tension in the air. After some minutes of persistent eavesdropping I managed to work out what the problem was. Apparently the models that had been brought in for the show, how should I put it, er, let’s say had a lot more meat on them that designers had anticipated.
Luckily my aunt did not have to worry about things like that much on account of her clothes mostly being, if not one-size-fits-all, then one-size-fits-many. But even she was a little annoyed I think because one of her outfits had not fitted any of the models.
There was this one guy there that everyone was feeling sorry for though who from what I gathered was not going to be able to show a lot of his designs since none of the girls could fit into the clothes.
As usual with cases of unhappy Iranians vs. people of other nations, there was a lot of talk of conspiracy theories. ‘They’ve only done this because we’re Iranians.’ I heard someone say (Iranian is the new “Black” apparently), ‘they would never have given us such fat models if they didn’t want to annoy us.’ (These were not the designers themselves by the way. Those guys were too busy running around to have time for uncovering conspiracies. These were just their friends and other nosy people) ‘Of course’ another one joined in, ‘do you think if Giorgio Armani had a show here they would dare give him these models?’
By the time I took my seat by the catwalk, I had taken the idea of fat models and run with it and was imagining all kinds of amazing entertainment for the night: big mummas packed into delicately made clothes with the stitches coming undone, handing out cookies to the audience. Unhealthy, overweight, teenage mums munching on chip butties and pushing prams and wearing pink pleated shalitehs and tonbans (short skirts worn on to of a pair of baggy trousers that fasten round the ankles)
I could go on but I don’t want you to, like me, get too excited about this and then be totally disappointed!
I’m only kidding. The show was absolutely fantastic. However I just couldn’t get over what I’d heard round the back. I’m not a designer and I haven’t been to many fashion shows so I don’t know, maybe these models were actually a bit bigger than normal catwalk models but to me they looked super skinny and I just kept thinking if this lot couldn’t fit into the clothes, I really don’t know who could. A stick insect? But she would probably get crushed under the weight of the clothes and suffocate!
I can’t remember who took these pictures. They’re not great. You can see some better ones on the V&A website.