weet 16 took on a whole new meaning in New York last night. In cargo shorts, cropped trousers and flowing dresses, a parade of glamorous plus-size models showed just how beautiful big can be.
They have been waiting a long time for the chance to prove their point. In 46 years of New York Fashion Week, this was the first show ever to feature only larger-size models.
The audience, which included Hairspray star Nikki Blonsky and Precious actress Gabourey Sidibe, rose to its feet to applaud what was described as an inspirational development for women marginalised for years by the trend for extremely thin models.
All-star audience: Nikki Blonsky (left) and Gabourey Sidibe (right) were front row at last night's OneStopPlus fashion show in New York, in which only models UK size 16 and over took to the catwalk
Prominent plus-size models, including Toccara Jones and Lizzie Miller, paraded clothes from American fashion label OneStopPlus.com, which caters for women a UK size 16 and up, to prove 'curvy women are equally as beautiful and as fashionable'.
The event was hosted by the model Emme, who has become an icon to women with a fuller figure.
Organiser Nancy Le Winter said: 'It's simply about time that fashion speaks to all women. It is the first time that women can look around and say "I can wear that!"'
Zahir Babvani, the brand's vice president of design, explained: ‘This show is a collaborative effort to provide the extraordinary community of plus-size women with the uncompromising style that they have always deserved but never received.
‘It's about inclusion and fashion democracy: fashion risk-taking and empowerment. No more seeing what you can't have; this is a fashion party that invites and inspires everyone.’
Inspirational: Models Lizzie Miller and Toccara Jones were among the most prominent names on the catwalk
Galina Monaco, a designer with the company, added that we are currently living through a ‘new golden age’ of plus-size fashion.
‘Befitting our collection, elements of Belle Epoque are present with touches of feminine lace, rich drapery, decorative florals and, of course, the gilded shine of slight sequin embellishment,’ she said.
Although the show was not linked to any of the major fashion houses, it is indicative of the growing prominence of plus-size models.
Miss Miller was recently pictured in Glamour magazine with her belly hanging out and Mad Men's Christina Hendricks has emerged as the most celebrated example of a woman who can look sexy and curvy at the same time.
Several top designers, including Marc Jacobs and Prada, included fuller-figured women in their shows for autumn this year and Mark Fast used size 12 and 14 models.
Golden age of plus-size fashion: The collection featured lace, drapery, florals and sequin embellishment
The mood in New York marks a significant change from London Fashion Week, which was dominated by the debate about ‘size-zero’ models when the organisers refused to ban stick-thin despite huge public outcry.
Nutritionists and psychologists have repeatedly complained of the poor example such models set to young women and the damaging effect it can have on their self-esteem.
As Whitney Thompson, winner of America's Next Top Model, declared: 'There is no reason a size 16 model should not hold their head up high like everyone else.'
But Daily Mail fashion expert Eliza Scarborough remained sceptical about the future of plus-size fashion.
‘There is definitely something of a Mad Men effect, as we have seen with Crystal Renn who is everywhere at the moment but in the long run I don’t think it will catch on,' she said.
Big and beautiful: Top plus-size model Emme (left) hosted the event, while America's Next Top Model winner Whitney Thompson (right) was there to show her support
‘At the highest end of fashion there just are not the clothes for plus-size women. That’s not to say there are not great, fashionable clothes, but at the top level they do not really exist.
‘Only when all the big fashion houses start using plus-size models will we see things really change. Right now it is getting a lot of attention, but it seems more for effect.’
Some 62 per cent of American women are plus size, meaning there is a substantial market for fashion which caters to them.
While unlikely to change fashion’s use of stick-thin models, the OneSizePlus show will put pressure on others in the industry to follow the lead of Italy, which has become the first country in the world to ban size zero models from catwalks.
A spokeswoman for the British Fashion Council, which organises London Fashion Week said they had never been approached to put on a similar show.
She said: ‘We would be open to the idea but nobody has come forward to suggest it yet’.
Standing ovation: Lizzie Miller lead the models down the catwalk to applause from the star-studded crowd
Read more: New York Fashion Week: Size 16 models hit the catwalks | Mail Online