Denise Bidot is the first plus-sized model to walk a NYFW runway

Most of the time when the fashion industry employs a “plus-sized model,” the term refers to a size 10-12 woman who stands 6 feet 2 inches. The most recent example is the phenomenally gorgeous Robyn Lawley, who was touted as the first official plus-sized model in SI: Swim this year. Back in 2012, Ralph Lauren hired Robyn as their first ambassador into the plus-sized market. By 2014, Robyn was railing against what she called a “derogatory” label. She’s correct. It’s ridiculous that anyone over a size 12 gets shuffled into a different section of the clothing department.

Anyway, the big argument over Robyn’s appearance in SI was that she wasn’t a “real” plus-sized woman because she wasn’t a size 14 or above. This was one of those “gotchas” from the fashion industry. On one hand, it was nice to see a successful model over size 4. But it would be better to see true, plus-sized representation in fashion.

Enter Denise Bidot. She’s the first plus-sized model to walk a runway during New York fashion week. Denise is a true size 14 and stands 5 feet 9 inches. Denise tells Cosmo that she also has a problem with being called plus-sized:

On the meaning of “plus-sized”: “I think other people have a problem with [the term ‘plus-size’] more than I do. I don’t care what you call me. I’m glad to even have a place in this fashion industry. Plus-size, straight-size, in-betweenie — I don’t care regardless. I’m just a woman. I’m a curvy woman, and hopefully some day they do end up cutting out the word plus-size. But, for right now it’s nice to just have a section for us.”

[From on YouTube]

Denise speaks to her dilemma. It’s a big step for designers to make clothes for plus-sized women, but a better option would be to drop the plus-sized label. What need is there to place a label on certain sizes? Denise also stresses how motherhood has had her more accepting of her body. She wants to spread this newfound attitude to young women. Here’s a clip of Denise’s interview with Cosmo.

Denise Bidot

Photos courtesy of Getty & WENN

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41 Responses to “Denise Bidot is the first plus-sized model to walk a NYFW runway”

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  1. Anastasia says:

    She’s proof that when you dress for your body shape, you can look amazing no matter what.

    *coughcough Kim are you listening? coughcough*

    *I’m not saying Kim is a size 14, but she does NOT dress for her body shape, size, or height.

    • Crumpet says:

      Seriously?? That green dress they put her in is HIDEOUS on her.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        Yes and it’s an illusion dress. Really? We’re suppose to applaud the fact that a plus size model walked a real runway, but in promo photos, she’s wearing patterns specifically meant to create an illusion of a slimmer body? WTF?!

    • Elisa the I. says:

      I’m with you Crumpet. that white skirt is def not for her body shape. And it’s exactly the kind of outfit Kim K. would wear…

      • hunter says:

        True but she looks amazing in the jeans/tank/blazer combo, as does Kim K and it’s worth noting how much lovelier she looks in that outfit than the godawful “illusion” dress which is a crime against fashion.

  2. BasicBitch says:

    Yay! I love seeing beautiful curvey women as models! More please!

  3. LAK says:

    She may be a bigger girl, but her figure is the same as her thinner counterparts.

    What needs to happen is for any size woman with a properly different figure to grace the catwalk because those types of bodies haven’t featured on the catwalk for a very long time.

    • Erinn says:

      I agree. She’s gorgeous, and she IS a larger size, but she’s mainly well proportioned. She looks a tiny bit heavier than Robin Lawley, who just looks like a super proportioned, tall girl who isn’t naturally petite. But she’s got the figure that works well. Denise seems to have larger hips/thighs and is a little heavier over all. Still not super plus sized – just not ‘regular’ model tiny.

      Now I want to go get some strappy heels and a blazer to put on with a basic tee and jeans. I have a hard time finding one because my boobs and upper arms don’t generally do well with most. I might end up having to bite the bullet and get something tailored in the waist. To fit the arms and the boobs in most styles means too much baggy in the waist.

    • EC says:

      I agree. It’s like, you can be bigger provided any extra weight is in the exact right places (boobs and butt). That’s not how most bodies work.

      That being said, all the women profiled here are beautiful, and certainly should have a place in the fashion industry. It’s good to see and I hope the trend continues – more varied body sizes, more women of color, etc.

  4. Teatimeiscoming says:

    She looks a little like Alessandra ambrosio, facially, to me. Good luck to her.

  5. Allie says:

    She look like an average woman. It makes you wonder how tiny these size 0 models are in real life if this is what we call plus size in fashion.

    • hunter says:

      I live in NYC and before/during our Fashion Week/s there are a number of (young!) models traversing the subways with their black portfolios.

      You can usually spot them because they look like tall spiders.

  6. SpookySpooks says:

    Is that Gene Simmons’ daughter? She seems so normal.

  7. jen2 says:

    So, a woman who is basically a normal size is, in the modeling world “plus size”. Maybe slender models should be called “minus size” since most of them are a great deal smaller than the norm. She looks great.

    But women come in all sizes, some naturally thin, some not so much. Maybe folks should not be categorized and/or shamed for being either.

  8. Kiki04 says:

    It’s sad that this is the first time this has happened. It definitely needs to happen more. Especially since in the real world, “plus” size is normal size for the majority of us. And a very healthy size as well.

  9. Zimmer says:

    I appreciate the fashion house that did this. Why aren’t others doing the same? Personally, I think every designer should dress 5+ women of each major body type at every show. This would show they were good enough designers to create clothes for every body type. In addition, it would give women, like me, that do not have a natural eye for what looks good on their body type, ideas on what might suit them. Also, it would encourage such women and make them want to buy their clothes. Is it so hard for them to figure that out ? Mostly, the designers just seem like sizest clothing snobs that don’t care enough about their appeal to the average woman. Changing the catwalk would increase profits and reduce the numbers of girls and women suffering from eating disorders every year imp, a win-win all around.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I agree, and I’ll never understand why they can’t see that they are missing a huge market by catering only to size twos. A lot of women are tiny when they’re young, but they have no money. If they would make clothes for size twelves they could tap into a huge market of affluent, older women. But I guess they don’t want us wearing their clothes.

      By the way, last week I went to a chic boutique in my town. I shop there a lot, but the saleswoman was new. I wear a size 8 or 10 or sometimes a 12 depending. Anyway, I tried on an 8 and it was too small in the bust, so I asked for a 10. The saleswoman took great pride in telling me that ” we don’t carry large sizes.” I said “you don’t carry size 10? Because it’s too large? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” And she sniffed “try our sister store, it’s for the more mature woman. ” I’m currently plotting her demise, but can’t think of anything bad enough to do to her.

      • vauvert says:

        This is where I would take to Twitter and FB (I would assume that a chic store has both) to let the business owners know what happened. A small business that wants to stay successful and keep its clientele would address the issue quickly, either train the employee properly, increase the size offering, or choose to refer you to the “mature” store… And face the consequences of losing your business. That you should be told a size 10 is a large size and they don’t carry it is just ridiculous!

      • kri says:

        Oh mygod. Start sending her Kaltine bars and peppermint “face” cream. Sorry, darling -I watched Mean Girls last nite as I could not sleep. I once to a Banana Republic and asked the sales person to get me two sizes of the same dress-a 4 & 6. She looked at me and said “You will never fit into a Banana 4.” I blinked. Then I asked her instead of the dresses to bring me her manager. When she came, I said I wasn’t expecting her in that size. The manager was very wrathful when I explained the situation. Guess who got a 75% discount on a size 4 dress that day? Me, that’s who.

      • hunter says:

        omg @kri – you’re my hero

    • Eme says:

      I am a petite, 5 foot 2 inches and curvy. Where is my body type anywhere in a runway?

      I do not have a natural eye to dress my body type and I hate going shopping because nothing ever fits. Thanks to my mother, I am learning to sew. Believe me: everything I have made for myself looks much better on me than the stuff I used to buy RTW.

      So the industry has lost a client on me.

      This woman is gorgeous.

      • Zip says:

        I have the same problem at 4’11”. I’m to “fat” for childrens sizes (which means I got hips and boobs) and the stuff for regular people never fit. Pants to long. On tops and nice sweaters cleavages (I need a freaking V-neck to look okay on my top half) are ridiculously low with orang-utan arms. Also, I’d kill to find a nice dress. The proportions in once pieces clothing are always so far off.

    • md1979 says:

      @Zimmer: Thank-you for this comment. I believe you hit the nail on the head here: “This would show they were good enough designers to create clothes for every body type.” It’s SO easy to design clothes that look good on a slim, tall model because clothes usually look best on the hanger, and most models are just walking hangers. Anything flatters them. I believe most designers simply aren’t creative or good enough to come up with designs that flatter a wide range of body types.

      @GoodNamesAllTaken: I hope you take further action against this awful woman. If it’s a small boutique then I think the owner would definitely be interested in hearing from the clientele, and how rudely they were treated. Failing that, definitely tell everyone you know not to shop there!!

  10. jenn12 says:

    Maybe we can now start recognizing what regular women look like and stop pushing hyper skinny ones as the ideal!?

  11. smee says:

    I’m six feet tall and a size 12 and I assure you that it’s the “plus size” department that I have to shop in (unless I order online). The selection is usually abysmal and if it’s good, it’s gone quickly.

    I guess it’s naive to think that designers would like have a variety of body-types available to them.

    In the future, I’m sure clothes will just be printed to fit your exact measurements right on the spot and I can’t wait!!!

  12. Crumpet says:

    She is seriously stunning.

  13. Micki says:

    ….”but a better option would be to drop the plus-sized label. What need is there to place a label on certain sizes? “….

    Plus size will lose the connotation of “fat” if there are more models like her and more fashion shows dedicated to large women. It will become a normal description of one segment of a huge spectrum body sizes.

  14. Tania says:

    She is really gorgeous! I love the blazer with jeans outfit and that last one with the white skirt. You can still be sexy, toned and beautiful at a larger size! Id bet that men are all over her.

  15. nicegirl says:

    I am curious as to the designer that she walked for – as a consumer, this is a welcome change.

  16. Jay says:

    It’s all well and good to feature bigger models, but they’re all still 5’9″ and above, and most of the plus size models are even taller than that.

    The average American woman is 5’3.5″

    I hate how these ridiculous designers pat themselves on the backs for using a size 14 model, when a size 14 on a very tall woman really isn’t very large.

    I guess it’s a start, but I won’t be happy until I see some shorter ladies represented.

    • md1979 says:

      That’s a great point. I never thought of this; but the pushing of a certain height of woman as the “ideal” may be just as damaging as the pushing of a certain size.

    • captain says:

      But honestly, you guys, the models are not supposed to be regular people. They’re supposed to look like a dream.

      If we take high fashion, it is an art. No person in their right mind would wear half of what they show at their fashion weeks, right? And what is wearable, definitely not aimed at the regular wallet. I mean, Amal’s beige cape costs over 2000 BP.
      And Denise looks like a dream of a normal sized woman. Clothes look better on her than on an average woman. That’s why her career is her body. Perhaps a short model doesn’t present the clothes as impressive on a runway. It’s like choosing a frame for some art. At one point in time the heavier golden frames were popular, then the simpler ones. Why would anyone complain that the artists frame their work only in simple frames and don’t use the renaissance ones??

      As for the short models in general, there are loads in editorials. And hey, they are nothing like an average woman as well. They have superhuman curves and shapes, and wear everything so beautifully. So that I would believe that if I only bought this face cream or that dress, I’d look that good.

      I look at this gorgeous Denise and I believe that her white skirt would look as amazing on me, as it does on her. I look at Ashley in her Lane Bryant commercial, it makes me want to buy the entire line of product. That’s the whole point; I think. I don’t feel there aren’t enough clothes regular size – there are tons. Loads of “petite” range to cater for smaller women. I don’t care about Gucci or Prada, that’s not my price range. I don’t feel sorry for those who would shop there, but it’s super small sizes only. Really, let this be their biggest trouble in this life.

      • mams says:

        Well written, captain.

      • Jay says:

        True for high fashion, captain. But I think it’s very rare to see women under 5’7″ even commercially. To me it’s less about the clothes and framing their precious art and more about women being able to see body types closer to their own be represented in some meaningful way.

      • hunter says:

        I agree 100%! Just as real estate agents prep a home for showing by staging it to maximum appeal, fashion is presented on models who maximize the appeal of the look.

        It is what it is, we’re not going to see 5’4″ size 8 models on any runway in the foreseeable future, it’s all about the fantasy baby.

  17. Cindy says:

    She is gorgeous.

  18. kri says:

    This girl is beautiful. And yes, I know that tall, thin models are their industry’s standard, but there are gorgeous women of all heights and weights with money to spend. Ignoring them is taking a serious bite out of your business! If Kim K can parade around in god only knows what, and Kanye “designs” why can’t there be different body types for models on the runway? Grrrrrrrowll.

  19. TotallyBiased says:

    “Denise Bidot is the first regular-sized model to walk a New York Fashion Week runway.”
    Fixed that for you.

  20. Lila says:

    I disagree with the need to remove ‘plus-size’ in stores. Should we also remove petite? Tall? Juniors? I feel like this whole conversation has become so absolute-ist that the power of the message has become diluted. Real women don’t have curves. Some women do. Some don’t. All natural body types are real and should be embraced. And clothes designed to flatter different sizes and their designations should be accepted. My issue is not with the different terms but is with not having equal selection in each (said as a top heavy, short torso petite woman). I think this conversation has completely drifted away from those elements of embracing everyone.

    I think the difference between fashion shows and fashion magazines also needs to be remembered more. Magazines absolutely need to be more inclusive because they are selling a look to the public. They are where clothes are sold as trendy and stylish. Runway models are intended to be clothes hangers. They are all given the same hair styles and makeup and with their styling, are intended to be interchangeable on the runway. The clothes are the focus. While the pressure to be underweight is another problem angle of this conversation, drastic diversity in height and shape on the runway would really change the purpose of the runway. As far as I’m concerned, there is no need to increase public awareness of the runway.

    • captain says:

      Agree with you fully ( and posted pretty much similar thoughts simultaneously))).

      With regard to top heavy… yes, it is not always easy to buy tops nowdays. But totally possible to find a couple of labels that fit me well. I shop almost exclusively online. Free delivery and free returns. Heaven. Also I don’t buy labels that are too strict with sizing (french are just soo mean)))) I like wearing a certan size. Pathetic, but it makes me feel good ))

      There are lots of blogs of overweight girls wearing fashion. Inspirational, most of them. They can find things that fit and look good on them, they just invest thought and time, and passion in it. But that’s the whole point of fashion, you’ve got to love it. So these girls get seriously upset with lack of plus-sized runway models. I personally don’t care that my normal size isn’t represented somewhere in a Galaxy far far away. I do have a problem with certain organisations prescribing us what we have to weigh and pushing a certain body type as the only one acceptable, and judging endlessly. And cashing in on our insecurities. But it is not an issue here, imho.

  21. melain says:

    She makes a good point. Weight-related labels seem to be socially acceptable when they shouldn’t be. Most people are not models. Will there come a time when people respond the same way to the use of “fat” as they do to the use of “coloured”?