'Versacepolis': Plus-size models make history in Versace fashion show

Three women have made history by being the first plus-size models to walk Donatella Versace's runway at Milan Fashion Week (MFW) last Friday 25 September. 


The ttrio – Jill Kortleve, Alva Claire and Precious Lee – walked for the Italian fashion designer and made history. Until then, Milan Fashion Week which wrapped up on Monday 28 September had not been at the forefront of featuring larger models.


The Versace show was a colourful, under-the-sea themed collection that took place in the lost city of "Versacepolis".


On the Versace website, Donatella Versace says: "I wanted to create something disruptive, something that could be in tune with what has changed inside all of us.


"To me that meant dreaming of a new world. A world made of popping colours and fantastic creatures and a world where we can all coexist peacefully." 

The body positivity movement 


The body positivity movement – also dubbed #BoPo on social media – aims to empower plus-size men and women. It also challenges representation of the body in society.


The movement has been getting a large amount of attention recently, with model Jari Jones scooping a plus-size billboard.


Versace using three plus-size models for her collection is one of the movement's greatest accomplishments. 


The #BoPo movement is not only about size, however, as these celebrities show.

Plus-size models react

Jill Kortleve 


Dutch model Jill Kortleve featured in Alexander McQueen's Spring/Summer 2019 show.


Kortleve has been a familiar face for the #BoPo movement and has been on the cover of Vogue magazine this year in several different countries. These include Dutch Vogue, Vogue Paris, Vogue Japan and the digital cover of Vogue Spain.


Kortleve was also the first plus-size model to walk for fashion label Fendi, alongside Paloma Elsesser. 


Kortleve described walking for Versace as unbelievable.


"I hope that we open the doors for a new generation with the same dreams who never saw themselves in the magazines or the commercials," she wrote on her Instagram feed. 

Alva Claire


Alva Claire is a London-born but Brooklyn-based model who has worked with global brands, such as Mac and The Body Shop.


She displayed her gratitude in an Instagram post, saying the feeling was unforgettable: "This moment is for all of us!!! I'm full of love!!".   

Precious Lee 


Precious Lee is a model from Georgia who gained exposure through Lane Bryant's #PlusIsEqual and #ImNoAngel campaigns.


She is also one of the first African-American size 14 models to appear in Sports Illustrated Magazine, and was on the cover of Vogue Italy this month./\r\n/


Just like the other two, Lee shared her feelings on Instagram about making history.


"Not one little black girl can say they can't because we can, we always could and when you stay true, you will," she said. 


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