AT Ester Manas‘ At Paris Fashion Week’s Fall 2022 show, models of all sizes paraded in bright, colorful dresses reminiscent of Y2K style with cutouts, halter necks and allover ruffles. And it wasn’t just a one-time thing or a special occasion either. The brand alone brings body diversity to the Parisian catwalks, more than any other brand today.
Manas founded her label with business partner Balthazar Delepierre in 2020 and has since presented at Paris Fashion Week twice. They both studied at La Cambre in Brussels, Belgium, and gained experience working for Balenciaga, Paco Rabanne and Acne Studios. “After five years, Ester really decided to ask why women weren’t represented in the fashion industry,” says Delepierre. “Asking that question led to a lot of nice and really intense creative moments. It was a really personal issue for Ester, but it was also really moving to see how people can interact with it.
The concept is simple but resolutely revolutionary: one-size-fits-all clothing that adapts perfectly to a variety of different body types. In general, the brand’s one-size-fits-all garments fit from EU 34 to EU 50 (in US sizes, S to 3XL) and come in bright, poppy colors with textured details like ruching and tulle ruffles. “If we can help a girl feel confident through every event in her life, that’s a really big step,” says Delepierre. “That’s why we think one size is really an important part of our job.”
Historically, body positivity has been slower to take hold in Europe than in the United States. And in many ways, body diversity took over the fall 2022 catwalks. There was a general lack of plus-size models in all the cities where fashion week took place, and others designers, both emerging and mainstream for the most part, have only included one or two plus-size models this season. Even Valentino, which earlier in January 2022 introduced body, race and age diversity more than ever for its couture collection, had virtually no body diversity for its Fall 2022 runway.
“The European side is really interested in the subject, but it really takes a long time for it to be possible to make a charge,” adds Delepierre. “We spend a lot of time and talk to people who talk about inclusivity in fashion, and what all of that means for creatives as well, because a lot of designers aren’t sample size themselves. .”
Last season, Manas really put her name on the map as an emerging designer to know at Paris Fashion Week, and she solidified it with this latest collection. In addition to her signature stretchy dresses, we’ve also seen two-piece separates, such as crop tops with tiny cardigans and tulle skirts, and stylized new outfits with opera gloves and innovative textures like bubble woven fabrics for skirts and dresses. The brand’s heart-shaped bags and earrings have also been updated for Fall 2022 in new colors and iterations.
Ester Manas’ pieces are fun and fresh because they don’t take themselves too seriously. Any of her colorful tulle dresses could be worn out to dinner or drinks with friends, and the fact that you don’t have to worry about size is meaningful to many people. While the brand’s one-size-fits-all pieces only fit a certain size for now, they also want to expand that in the near future and are working on finding certain fabrics and techniques that will allow that very soon. Also, the brand hasn’t made any pants yet either, simply because they haven’t yet found an inclusive way to design them. “With the past collection, we have really found our voice, the style and the design,” explains Delepierre. “This collection really embraces a lot of transparency. At the moment we are discovering all the possibilities and trying to shape new fabrics.
“I think something that really inspires us is, what does it mean to be sexy today and how can we find a lot of variations of sex appeal?” adds Delepierre. “It’s a fun and really interesting subject because we start a collection talking a lot about it with models, friends and women around us, and it’s really amazing how confident they can feel in shapes and fabrics so different.” In the end, this is what inspires the designer duo the most.