Did you feel a disturbance in the sewing force yesterday, friends? Perhaps it felt like 1000 gasps of fashionable horror or riotous laughter emanating from a certain office desk in Texas. You see, yesterday Burda released their latest collection of plus sized patterns. It is called the “Gallery Tour” collection and purports itself as an artistic collection for the curvier among us.
Burda is infamously hit-or-miss in its plus sized offerings, but this is a truly bizarre collection of patterns. The curvy artist in these photos is absolutely gorgeous, but is also one pair of neon high tops away from staging a Punky Brewster revival. There are shoulder zippers and hip ruffles. There are sweatshirts worn with fancy, silk skirts. There are–brace yourselves–fabric tails.
Let’s start ourselves out gently, shall we? This is the Mermaid Dress, a body-hugging dress with a mid-calf flounce and lace sleeves. Truthfully, I kind of love it. Sure, the lace sleeves look like leftovers from a child’s witch costume, but the actual dress silhouette is totally working for me! With a shortened sleeve and gorgeous floral rayon, this could be a fabulous 30’s-esque dress.
It does warn of darker trends in this collection, however…
For example, the crazy pants fabric matching of Burda’s Track Jacket. At its core, this is not a horrible pattern. Sure, I haven’t actually needed a track jacket since my ill-fated days in high school athletics, but if the activewear whim struck, I would give this jacket a try. Only, never not ever, would I make it with silk floral sleeves and striped bands. Y’all, where is this model even going? Do art show openings also double as weightlifting tournaments? If I attend your next cocktail party in a silk skirt and track jacket, please check me for brain injury/alien body snatching.
Providing more evidence for the theory that Burda believes artists regularly moonlight as athletic trainers, we have the Quilted Sweatshirt. What separates this from your average sweatshirt pattern? Absolutely nothing…except the left shoulder zipper! Yes, my dears, it’s just what every girl needs: a cozy, oversized sweatshirt with easy left shoulder access. Burda knows that left shoulder itches don’t just happen to straight-sized women, after all. Curvy women also have awkward skin maladies!
Gone are the days of itching your shoulder through your shirt or later, in the privacy of you own home. Unzip the neckline on this baby and–boom!–collarbone is on full display. Well, part of it anyhow. If you need to unleash your right shoulder, Burda is utterly unable to help.
Next up, we have two classic plus size patterns, the Drawstring Pants and Cowl Neck Blouse. In this case, classic doesn’t mean timeless, but rather the same old swill pattern companies routinely try to pawn off on larger women. We at the Collective know that being a size 12+ doesn’t mean we’d like to hide our bodies in tentlike shapes, but the fashion industry has yet to get the message. Proof: this outfit. They’ve taken a perfectly serviceable pair of yoga pants and insisted that plus sizes will want them in silk and satin! No. Who is this artistic woman who wants to wear silk, but demands the ability to do downward-facing dog at any moment? How impractical! Burda, plus-sized women do like to change clothes in between exercise classes and cocktail parties, I promise you. Stop trying to make silk exercise pants happen!
In other news, the top is cute-ish, I suppose. The lack of a dart leaves me fearing what it looks like untucked from that oh-so-fancy elasticized satin waistband. Plus, an asymmetrical cowl neck sounds like one of those “design elements” that I’d be fiddling with all night, in the vain attempt to center it over my bust. Asymmetry may be so hot right now, but it’s really not a good look for my lady lumps.
Speaking of asymmetry gone horribly, horribly awry: the Godet Dress. No, the busy print of that dress is not playing with your eyesight, there is a tail attached to the front of this dress. Look, Burda. you can call it a godet and make it out of silk all you want, but I’ve got your number. It looks like the dress came out with a prehensile fabric tail, where its right side should be. Let’s not even talk about the removable cuffs and collar. Trying to iron those into place is the stuff my nightmares are made of. You know, besides the ones in which I’ve suddenly grown a floral print front tail…
Oh, goody. Just what I needed, Burda. Another floral print track jacket, for the days my other one wasn’t dressy enough! Why, with that added collar and floral panel, this is ideal opera attire. Too many times, I’ve been at a Carmen performance, positively miserable because I wasn’t wearing enough athletic mesh. Never again!
On that note, are these track jackets so flimsy that an additional sweater is required? Perhaps the green one around her shoulders is just artistic whimsy. Oh, plus-sized artist, your unconventional layers are so visionary.
Run for the hills! The tail, it has multiplied!
For a dressier take on curvy artists, Burda took a pencil skirt pattern and added two blousy
tails panels, to form the Draped Skirt. I actually like this one on the model, but that might be thanks to the busy print hiding those panels. I suspect this is another attempt on Burda’s behalf to help us “camouflage our problem areas,” which is a fashion pet peeve of mine. Plus-sized designs should be just as thoughtful and well-fitting as straight-sized offerings. Throwing extra fabric at our figures is not only unfashionable, but insulting! I really need to see this one made up in a solid fabric, before passing judgment on its design success, however. For now, I am skeptical…
For Burda’s final offering, we get the ideal garment to pair with those floral track jackets: the Zipper Pencil Skirt! At first, I loved this skirt, with its modern take on my beloved pencil skirt pattern. Then, I looked harder. In addition to the full separating metal zipper down the front and two zipped pockets, there’s also an invisible zipper in the back. You know, in case this skirt needs to completely disassemble at any moment.
Wait. Stop the presses!
Just call me Nancy Drew of Burda, y’all, because I know Ms. Curvy Artist’s deep, dark secret. She’s a superheroine! That is the only explanation for why a woman would need an entire wardrobe of stretchy, completely unzippable, silk workwear. It’s not that her left shoulder is often itchy or that she hates regular waistbands, at all. She is at the whim of the innocent and victimized. When trouble calls, girlfriend can’t wait to unbutton a fly! She has a city to save!
It all makes so much sense now.
(Except for the tails, which still boggle my mind.)
However, if you’re like me and don’t have a superheroine alter ego, this might not be the collection for you. Many of these looks are on-trend with some RTW collections and new independent patterns, but not my personal style. Luckily, our lovely Laurence found a sneak peak of the next round of Burda Plus patterns and they look quite a bit more promising. Don’t worry, this intrepid
reporter blogger will be back with the inside scoop on those, when the time comes.