Versace casts plus-size runway models for the first time

Versace casts plus-size runway models for the first time

Milan Fashion Week will wrap up Monday after a packed schedule of digital and in-person presentations from some of the biggest designers.

Armani, Prada, Fendi and Moschino are among those that have already showcased their work, but people are talking about more than just the unique and trendsetting styles.

Versace, which premiered its Spring/Summer 2021 collection Friday, debuted styles on plus-size runway models for the first time ever.

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Jill Kortleve, Alva Claire and Precious Lee expressed their pride and gratitude to have been a part of the pioneering show via social media.

Their presence in Milan’s Fashion Week represents progress in the high-end fashion industry, as it has made moves to increase racial diversity but size inclusivity has still been lacking. In Milan specifically, diverse models haven’t been cast as much compared to Fashion Weeks in other big cities, like New York, London and Paris.

Kortleve, who became one of the first plus-size models to walk for Fendi earlier this year, also represented Etro and Fendi on the runway this week.

In a 2008 interview with Time magazine, Donatella Versace said she didn’t discriminate against women of any size.

“Plus-sized women shouldn’t think of themselves as a size,” she said at the time. “They should think of themselves as women with rich goals in life. Size doesn’t mean, really, anything. You can carry your size with pride and dress in a way that you like.”

But Friday’s show was the first time in her 23 years in the business that Versace showcased curvy women.

“I will never forget this moment and how I felt before walking out,” Lee captioned a video on Instagram. “The power and beauty of this brand has always inspired me, [and] now to be the first... Wow.”

She continued: "[Donatella Versace] your support and love right now for me is just magical. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for raising the bar. I know how much this means and I will always cherish it.”

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“This is such an historical moment, and I can’t believe it actually happened. I’m still shaking,” Kortleve wrote on Instagram. “I’m so so so proud of us ... It’s so unbelievable to work for brands I always dreamt of working for. I hope that we open the doors for a new generation with the same dreams but who never saw themselves in the magazines or the commercials. Thank you for this iconic moment.”