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It’s not a secret that body inclusivity took a back seat at New York Fashion Week’s latest showing, Spring ’23. Influencers and writers took to social media and fashion sites to wonder what happened to the push for diversity on the runways. Of course, this isn’t true for all shows. But there was a real lack of plus-size models as a whole. That’s one reason I was so impressed with Selkie’s Fall ’23 presentation, shown last week in Los Angeles. There was both skin tone and body diversity in a way that felt natural and not performative.
Designer and founder Kimberley Gordon, the co-founder of Wildfox, is known for her folklore-inspired fashion available in sizes XXS to 6X. The Puff Dress is especially popular. The Fall ’23 presentation was called Lucy, inspired Lucy Westenra, a fictional character in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. She was the 19-year-old daughter of a rich family, Mina Murray’s best friend and Dracula’s first English victim. She eventually rises from the grave as a vampire. Models at the Selkie show wore 1800s-style bonnets, corsets and boning along with the Fall ’23 designs. They also wore vampire fangs and hissed at showgoers.
We walked through the Heritage Square Museum’s 19th century homes while models “lived” within them. While taking my own photos and videos, I couldn’t help but notice all the different skin tones, races and body types and how natural it felt to see them. Clothes fit well. Models look comfortable — sexy, even. Many times when you see a plus-size model (who is usually a size 12 MAX) on a runway, the brand either made the garment just for them or are squeezing them into a straight size. (Note: brands such as Chromat and Christian Siriano are not doing this. They do sell plus size clothes.) Selkie makes clothes for each size model wearing them.
Diversity didn’t feel perforative here. It made me feel like I, as a size L, could wear the same dress as my XS and my 2X friend. The way clothes should be.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how gorgeous the beauty was, too. Too Faced provided makeup, will all skin tones being represented. The brand’s Executive Director of Global Beauty, Elyse Reneau, created a “regency core meets vamp girl summer” with “bitten lips, flushed cheeks and chocolate mascara for days.” Some of the products used include Born This Way 24-Hour Longwear Matte Finish Foundation ($45 at Sephora), Cloud Crush Blurring Blush ($29 at Sephora) in Watermelon Rain and Candy Clouds and Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara ($28 at Sephora) in Chocolate.
The hair was the creation of Nick Stenson, Senior Vice President, Services and Trend at Ulta Beauty and founder of Nick Stenson Beauty. “Our looks came from Kim’s inspiration surrounding the renaissance era but making it elevated, stylish, and luxury,” he said. “We really put the focus on marcel iron waves to elevate this look and turn her vision into reality.” His team used the Nick Stenson Beauty’s Root Lifter Spray ($36 at Ulta Beauty), Light Hold Hairspray ($34 at Ulta Beauty) and Texture Spray ($34 at Ulta Beauty).
If the inclusive designs inspired you, you can shop some of my faves from past seasons, below.
Selkie The Fairytale Gown
Revolve stocks most of Selkie’s offerings in the full size range so it’s a great place to shop — and keep in mind for sales, too.
Selkie The Minnie Sweater
It’s not just dresses! I love this puff-sleeve top, too.
Selkie Cottage Puff Dress
Free People has some of the cutest patterns available but often only in sizes XS-XL, so keep that in mind.
Selkie Ruffled Opera Cape
You’ll find some Selkie faves at Anthropologie, too, like this cool new cape.
Selkie The Plaid Puff Dress
If you’re not ready to take the plunge and buy a Selkie item just yet, rental site Nuuly has some seriously cute options to borrow, starting at $98 a month. Note: most items come in sizes XS to XXL.