Her plus-size figure was the target of less-than-sweet Twitter postings by fashion editors, but singer Beth Ditto, who attended more Paris shows than most, confirmed her status as a fashion curiosity this season with bags of personality and talent to boot. “You came to Paris looking for the chic and the beautiful and I think we’ve managed to supply the opposite,” Ditto crowed as she led her punk rock band, The Gossip, through a wild performance for 700 guests at Fendi’s end-of-week party, at one point diving into a crowd that included Kate Moss and Jamie Hince, Alexa Chung, Mélanie Laurent and Coco Rocha. Ignored by photographers when she first turned up at Nina Ricci, by the end of the Paris collections, the singer— who donned an array of look-at-me outfits and was photographed alongside everyone from Karl Lagerfeld to Sir Paul McCartney— was being touted as the one-woman solution to turning the fashion industry’s conventional dictum of “thin is beautiful” on its head. “Could Beth Ditto be the woman to make fat fashionable?” asked a headline in the British tabloid The Daily Mirror, while The Times offered its readers advice on how to “get the Beth Ditto-in-a-bandage-dress look.”
Performing for Fendi, Ditto stripped down from a custom-made sequin black dress to reveal matching underwear. “She is the epitome of beauty,” enthused Lagerfeld, not generally known to champion women with curves. “I love the way she bares all,” cooed Leigh Lezark of The Misshapes, recalling a New York gig where Ditto stripped down to her undies to sing. “You’re so big and beautiful,” Alexander McQueen’s muse Annabelle Neilson marveled when she posed with Ditto at McQueen’s show. Away from the front row, Ditto has another fashion foray in the works: an Eighties-inspired line for the Arcadia-owned plus-size retailer Evans, due out in the U.K. this summer. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life, to make clothes for bigger people, for fat girls. We deserve it—we get enough s–t,” Ditto declared.