Theres no denying that my blog has brought me some wonderful opportunities and yesterday was one of those. I was invited down to London to meet with Claire Richards of Steps fame to talk about her new line for Fashion World.
Now lets get a couple of things out of the way first... I unashamedly love Steps, so of course I was going to go. Secondly, there has been much talk in the plus size community about the validity of Claire as role model for plus size women because of her fluctuating weight. What I will say about that is... Within our close knit community, we are a rare and wonderful bunch of women who thankfully have found the strength and confidence to be happy with our weight and stop dieting, but what we have to remember is that there are women out there, including Claire, who maybe haven't and maybe don't want to. We are all at different stages of our journey and who are we to judge?
I was most certainly met with a slimmer Claire yesterday than maybe a year ago, but she still has amazing curves, boobs to die for and more than anything she was a genuinely lovely, funny and approachable woman who cares about the women she's designing for and has taken into consideration those who might not be as comfortable or confident with certain parts of their bodies.
Ok, so I arrived at the palatial 45 Park Lane situated in Mayfair after walking a ridiculous amount of miles round London and up and down Oxford Street.
This place is so posh, I thought they would instantly turf me out on the pavement for being a fraud. The bathroom, instead of paper towels or a hand dryer had linen towels which you placed in a laundry basket after you'd dried your hands. Crackers!!!
Anyway, I digress. I was met by the lovely Fi, who I chatted with whilst Claire finished up with a journalist who had the slot prior to me.
I was them introduced to the lady herself. Claire was wearing the black textured bodycon dress from the collection and looked gorgeous in it.
We chatted briefly and I had a chance to see some of the collection on two very pretty models.
I then got the opportunity to ask Claire some questions about the collection and her involvement in the upcoming Plus Size Awards....
BeBe: Claire, did you have a particular woman in mind when you designed the collection?
Claire: Not particularly, I guess someone like me, I was quite self-indulgent with the collection. I thought about the features I like to see when buying clothes, I don't want to dress like a teenager anymore so I thought about skirt lengths, sleeves, cut and function. I think it appeals to most women, there are pieces my younger sister loves and similarly my mum who's in her 60's.
B: Have you enjoyed designing the collection?
C: Yes!! I absolutely loved it. Its been a huge learning curve for me though, to go through the whole process of buying trips, going through trend reports, picking out fabric samples was an eye opener. We're already working on the next collection which I'm more heavily involved in which is really exciting.
B: What is your favourite piece?
C: I love them all but I think the stand out piece for me is the sequin dress, its the perfect party dress. Something I was always looking for, something that is there right length, has sleeves, classic shape but not too old or frumpy as some party dresses tend to be.
|Claire Richards for Fashion World - Sequin Dress £95.00|
At this point, being the chatterbox that I am Claire and I got talking about our daughters who are around the same age and both have the incredible skill of instant destruction!
My final question to Claire was regarding the upcoming Plus Size Awards which she's presenting along with Jeff Brazier.
B: Do you think its important the Plus Size Industry gets recognition?
C: Absolutely, its such a shame it's not all integrated, but until that happens its fantastic that we can celebrate plus size fashion.
Claire then went on to show me the collection talk through some of the pieces, including the bird print dress which is based on a vintage dress she owns and loves and I had a chance to have my picture taken with her (I look like some startled buffoon)
|My inner 20 year old is singing "Yeh I'm a deeper shade of blue"|
I had the best time and Claire is such a warm person, I'd love to say we're now BBF's but sadly I'd be lying, I might however flash this picture around and tell everyone we are anyway....