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Curve Couture: An Introduction to Nathaniel Paul, 5/01/2011

by Tiffany Bank

I had the pleasure of working with Nathaniel Paul a few months back when he custom made a dress for me titled "The Billy".  I immediately was enthralled by Nathans quiet spirit, the love for his craft and his excitement for the future.  He showed me every inch of detailing that he put hours and hours of effort into and expressed passionately what the quality of a good dress meant for him.  We shared stories of frustration and dreams when it came to options for plus-size women and we both agreed on one thing: beauty, whatever shape or form, should be dressed in couture, honey!  "I always intended to have an "Up-Size" collection. My vision was to even the playing field for those who fashion has forgotten. I believe that everyone is born with the right to feel beautiful and as a designer it is my responsibility to help fulfill that right. Doing strait sizes, initially, was a marketing tactic to gain credibility in the industry and become noticed.  I feel that it is a shame that a new designer will more than likely be ignored by doing special sizes and pigeon-holed into a mass market industry. Nathaniel Paul is an "Up-Size" luxury brand and that is how I want it to stay."

The setting couldn't be more perfect for a night of introductions.  It was 70 degrees at sunset and the location for Nathaniel Paul's fashion show was set in a showroom off a cobble stoned alleyway in the trendy East Village in NYC.  The décor?  Fabric walls, white floors, a sake bar, black framed photos of pocket squares and ties and mannequin displays of fitted men's suits.  With PMM's very own Steffany Bready, stylist, as my fashion sidekick, we immediately fell in love with the ironic twist of ambiance and were eager to see what was next.  Nathans father, who traveled all the way from Ohio to be there, greeted each guest while fashioning a smile that lit the room.  He leaned in and said to me "of course I'm here.  I want to see my boy shine." 

The models looked *stunning*.  It was a pleasure to see his strait collection mixed in with his new plus collection, reminding onlookers that fashion is fashion, size 2 to 20.  The words that immediately came to mind were red-carpet, elegance and form fitting. 

What was his inspiration for the line? "Lady Sings the Blues", Nathan said.  "It is the story of Billie Holiday, a lady whose life was filled with triumph and well as tragedy. The colors for the line were chosen to invoke and emulate the emotional journey of life and the celebration of it.  I chose the silhouettes keeping in mind a lady who commands presence, one who is confident in who she is and is unapologetic about owning her body."  Indeed Nathan seemed to have a special eye for bringing out the femininity of the curve by accentuating the waist, the back and everything else yummy! 

I took a moment to watch Nathan watching his models come out on stage and you could see and feel what this meant for him.  Standing tall, yet very quietly in the corner, he concentrated on each look from head to toe, as if he were studying his work and analyzing each line, thread, bead and flower.  For me, the work he put into this collection did not go unnoticed and I could tell from the whispers around me that everyone was more than pleased with what Nathaniel Paul had gifted to us.

After the show, I was eager to know about availability and the possibility of seeing Nathaniel Paul in stores.   "We will have to do much selling of the concept in order to get the stores to bite. I am thankful that in recent seasons we have seen an influx of "Good Size Girls" in television and film. This new energy will help influence the market to accept that there is a need and an appetite for what I do. My team and I are in current conversation with stores and influential people. We hope to make the line available to the public soon." 

I left Nathans event feeling inspired by his determination and humbled that someone out there was thinking of women like me, truly wanting to see women of all shapes and sizes shining inside and out.  I wish nothing but the best to Nathan and his team!

Visit the designers site at





PLUS Model Magazine | inspiration + style

PLUS Model Magazine inspires the style-savvy, fashion-forward, full-figured woman to embrace her curves.

PMM has become a thought-leader shaping the plus size industry and providing a barometer for the season’s latest style trends for curvy women. With a monthly magazine featuring stunning editorials showcasing plus models, as well as ‘How-to-wear’ columns and shopping guides at all price-points, PMM reports on style, beauty and topical news, all while engaging our reader in lively and meaningful conversation on our daily blog and social media.

Developed, designed and written by plus women, for plus women, PMM understands and speaks directly to the heart of our reader, because we are our reader.

Online since 2006, PMM is the #1 plus size fashion & beauty magazine, blog and social media outlet.

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