Models strut their stuff as large as life

BY KATE MONAHAN AT AIR NEW ZEALAND FASHION WEEK.
Last updated 12:22 24/09/2009
SHOWING IT OFF: Hamilton midwife and mother of three Jo Hart  on the catwalk at Air New Zealand Fashion Week, modelling in The Carpenters Daughter fashion show.
DONNA WALSH/ Waikato Times
SHOWING IT OFF: Hamilton midwife and mother of three Jo Hart on the catwalk at Air New Zealand Fashion Week, modelling in The Carpenters Daughter fashion show.

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Two Waikato women were part of a history-making catwalk show at Air New Zealand Fashion Week yesterday, modelling in a plus-sized fashion show for The Carpenters Daughter (TCD).

Hamilton midwife Jo Hart and Thames primary school teacher Naomi Chase were among the real women on the runway, showing designer garments to international and local buyers and media.

With more than 800 audience members cheering them on, models ranging in size from 14 to 24 presented the label's spring/summer range, Let Them Eat Cake. The average model size at Fashion Week is usually an eight.

For Ms Hart, it was her second year on the Fashion Week runway. She modelled for the label at last year's weekend public Designer Selection shows, but was nervous about her first outing in a proper show during the week for buyers and media.

"Once I was out there, it was awesome," the mother to three girls admitted.

"Staff from the Hamilton (TCD) store were calling out my name, it was cool."

Ms Hart, who wore two outfits in the show, said it was important to see plus-sized women on the fashion catwalks. "We are real women, every day people and it shows that anyone can look good," she said.

The models ranged in age from 16 to 67.

Ms Hart's daughters were proud of her moonlighting as a model.

"They love it, and they practise with me and want to do it when they grow up," said Ms Hart. "They try to strut their stuff in my heels."

For Thames woman Naomi Chase, a teacher aide from Kopuarahi School, it was her first experience of modelling on the catwalk.

"I saw last year's show and I thought I could do that, so why not," said Ms Chase, who was one of dozens of women who auditioned for the model call in August. "It was awesome."

Ms Chase was cheered on by husband Arama and sons Wesley, 18, and Saul, who were sitting in the audience.

"We are the average New Zealand women," said Ms Chase. "More than half of the population are now plus size."

Established 20 years ago, The Carpenters Daughter has five stores across New Zealand, including one in Hamilton East.

Some audience members gave designer Caroline Marr a standing ovation for her collection.

"It ... shows everyone you can look good with curves," she said.

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- Waikato

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