Marc Jacobs mulls clothes for larger women
Design label Marc Jacobs is poised to become the first high-profile fashion house to produce a clothing line catering for women bigger than size 14.
Robert Duffy, president of the label, announced on Twitter that he was in the early stages of discussions to produce a “plus-size” range.
“Listen, we are in the very beginning stages of talking to a partner about plus sizes,” he wrote.
One in three British women is a size 16, yet the most designer labels do not make off-the-shelf clothes above size 14.
Many designers have said it is harder to create clothes for fuller-figured women as body shapes differ in larger sizes.
It means shoppers have turned to labels such as Marina Rinaldi - the Max Mara range for larger women - and high street stores such as Evans, which sells a line designed by size 28 singer Beth Ditto.
Harrods offers a Designer Plus service, sourcing designer items for larger women, but says such clothes are hard to find because they are commercially expensive to manufacture and because labels do not wish to risk association with overweight customers.
The controversial nature of the issue was highlighted by Mr Duffy himself, who said he would no longer discuss plus sizes on Twitter.
“No more questions answered from direct tweets,” he wrote. “To upsetting for some. Let’s not talk about larger sizes anymore today. Upsetting for many.”
Marc Jacobs himself is known as a fashion innovator, having created a range of childrenswear called Little Marc Jacobs and a new fragrance for men called Bang.
In March, the 46-year-old designer made a point of using curvaceous models including Elle Macpherson and Laetitia Casta in his catwalk show for Louis Vuitton.
The show celebrated traditional femininity in contrast to the often androgenous appearance of many fashion models.
Mr Duffy hinted it would be a year before any larger range was introduced, and that it would not be part of the catwalk Marc Jacobs collection.
He also said the label had tried clothes with US sizes 14 to 16 – roughly equivalent to UK sizes 18 to 22 depending on the brand – in the past but these had not sold well because they were not widely publicised.
“We gotta do larger sizes,” he wrote. “I’m with you. As soon as I get back to NY. I’m on it! It will take me about a year. But stay with us.”
He added: “I’m a big guy 6?4? 210 lbs. Not easy for me to find clothes. Of course I can have them made. I know how everyone feels. I try to diet but ….”