I want to bring you into my head for a moment and breakdown what inspired my latest collection: “It’s in the Stars”: A Plus Size Zodiac.
Creating this series was not easy, it really stretched me in many ways. I spent hours pouring over astrological research, trying to understand what the different traits of each sign was and why were they SO important to people. That was only phase one, I then had to create 12 mood boards where I collected inspiration for each sign. I researched straight size fashion runway, plus size designers, makeup, hair, you need name it. I wanted to share a little of my brainstorming process and how I created a few chosen signs: Aquarius, Scorpio, Virgo and the very special exchange that inspired Sagittarius.
Aquarius. Little know fact about me, I shop for my “girls”. I will spend hours in online shops looking for inspiration and this series was no exception. I knew that I wanted to high a least one indie plus size designer in my series and Courtney Noelle delivers every time. When I saw the Siren jumpsuit I knew this would be the look Aquarius would rock. I knew I could base the entire look around this look. Her pose and body type were inspired by popular influencer Shaina Harrison (of Corner Rich). Total Black Girl Magic.
Scorpio. This one was alot of fun and one of my favorite looks. Mainly because of her hair, it was all about the hair! I searched all of Pinterest for hair inspiration, I knew I wanted her to rock a shaved head like Cassie, with an 90’s black school boy hair design. I also wanted her hair to take the shape of the scorpion. However, let’s to about the big thing, her out fit. The top was pulled from Christian Siriano’s 2017 NYFW runway show. Can we talk about how much I love him, for just sliding plus size models in his show? Like it was the most normal thing in the world (which it should be!) and the ladies SLAYED!! Chrisitian’s looks appear again on Leo.
Virgo. I think it’s clear who inspired Virgo’s look…Ashley Neil Tipton! I’ve been a huge fan of Project Runway since it debuted, but no one has touched my heart like Ashley. Seeing her final collection on the show will forever be one of my favorite Body Positive moments and she’s still killing it now with her collaboration with Boutique + . When I think of Virgo I think of softness, pastels and flowers befitting the virgin, but most Virgos I know aren’t soft. In fact they are some of the toughest people I know, which is why I knew I wanted to do lace and leather. Ashley’s bomber jacket (now on sale) provided the perfect blend of those to worlds. The rest of the outfit was inspired by the lacy and sheer skirts in Ashley’s collection. I changed her top several times, finally deciding to leave her shirtless. I’ve seen straight size models styled this why, so I thought why not (they’re only breasts).
The design for Sagittarius, has the most interesting story behind it. In fact the story embodies one of the reasons I decided to do Plus fashion illustration vs. straight. Last year I was commissioned to do a portrait of a woman for a birthday gift to herself. She give me total artistic control, but she had one request. That I style her in Rihanna’s Manolo Blahnik boots. Her reason? She loved the boots and she could afford them, but……….they would not fit her thighs. She was a lover of fashion and was willing to spent the money on the hottest looks, but they were not made with a plus size body in mind ( I still love you Riri). So she had me create that vision for her, she could at least enjoy those boots in art. After that I knew I wanted to use the boots again (they are beautiful) so when I was thinking of looks for Sag, I thought they were perfect. The cowboy like style worked with the sign’s symbol “the centaur”. I paired with a bodysuit (very on trend) to show off those gap free thighs (thick thighs save lives)! Styled with a Beyonce braid, golden arrow head pins and a face beat for the gawds, Sag was given lyfe. I hope to see more brands embrace plus bodies when they are designing their collections, but until then I’ll continue to give you fat girl fashion!