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Melanie Morris: Thanks, Marc Jacobs, for being first fashion giant to help end agony of plus sizers - agony I recall too well

I remember the times so well. Sweating in a tiny changing room, trying on shapeless, plus-sized clothes, praying for a miracle and for the horrid garment to "work" on my larger frame.

Those were the days when the only clothes I could fit into were stocked in Evans, or Dawn French's boutique in London. Now it seems, the powers that be in Marc Jacobs are going to trial bigger clothes, in their slick designer handwriting, and fatties the world over are rejoicing.


The news broke on Twitter earlier this week. Robert Duffy, President of the Marc Jacobs label posted that the company is in 'early stage' talks. "We gotta do larger sizes", he enthused. "I'm a big guy, [and] it's not easy for me to find clothes. I know how everyone feels. I tried to diet, but ... "

Halleluia! A fashion design house that's not abiding by fashion's crazy size-ist regime.

If Marc Jacobs pulls off this stroke, it'll be the first, "proper" designer label to do so. Sure, others have toyed with big girls. Mark Fast had -- gasp -- size 12 girls on the London runways recently, and John Paul Gaultier followed suit in Paris.

Ireland's Lainey Keogh caused a stir -- and hit the headlines -- with a Rubenesque Sophie Dahl modelling her knits back in the '90s. But it's all been sensational.

Doing her bit for big girls, singer and reportedly size 18 (although I'd guess more) Beth Ditto has been dressed by Matthew Williamson and Giles Deacon. She's a striking, fierce fashion leader, and no one puts that baby in the corner. She now designs her own collection, but it's for Evans, the ubiquitous high street, plus-size Mecca. And although Evans has always been a life-saver, no larger lady has ever relished shopping there.

As far as full-on, proper designer collections go, no big name has bothered to up-size. Why would they? It's expensive, difficult and -- most of all in fashion terms -- decidedly "uncool". Far easier to let the customers slim into "conventional" sizes.

This may be a good philosophy in the long run. We all should be within a healthy-enough BMI range, and what better incentive to get in shape than the availability of acres of beautiful clothes?


But try telling me that the night before the Brown Thomas Supermodel show in 2000, as I sat on my bed, 15-ish stone with, quite literally, nothing special to wear. Just my usual uniform of black trousers and voluminous tops ...

As any big person will tell you, they have fortunes to spend on clothes and would love to be indulging in beautiful, well-fitting treasures. Instead, and I remember it well, we deploy the funds into handbags, sunglasses and cosmetics. They'll always fit, they don't involve changing rooms and they have the "feelgood factor". But they're not clothes.

So the thought that a super-cool New York label, like Marc Jacobs, is grasping such a stingy fashion nettle is real progress. Always a leader, Marc Jacobs is the man who got Victoria Beckham to pose in a paper bag for his spring/summer 2008 ad campaign. He's also the Creative Director for Louis Vuitton and breathed new life into the brand with his edgy, to-die-for designs.

A canny marketer as well as a great designer, his diffusion Marc by Marc Jacobs stores lead the way in terms of recession-friendliness with a range of fun $1 and $5 items, amply displayed among the more expensive treats. At last, here was a store anyone could go into, and could afford to leave swinging a smart black be-logo'd carrier bag.

And, if what we're reading on-line is true, the Marc Jacobs "love all" philosophy will stretch even further next year when, regardless of whether you're a size 8 or 18, there'll be something heavenly on his hangers, just begging to be tried on.

Vive la difference!