Ester Manas is the size-inclusive designer you should know from Paris Fashion Week
at Esther ManasAt the Fall 2022 show during Paris Fashion Week, models of all sizes walked the runway in bright and colorful dresses that nodded to Y2K style with cutouts, halternecks and ruffles throughout. And it wasn’t just a one-time thing or a special occasion either. The brand is single-handedly bringing body diversity to the Paris catwalks, more than any other label at the moment.
Manas founded her brand with her business partner Balthazar Delepierre in 2020 and has since shown twice at Paris Fashion Week. 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 aren’t in fashion,” explains Delepierre. “Asking that question led to many beautiful and really intense creative moments. It was a very personal topic for Ester, but it was also very moving to see how people can deal with it.”
The concept is simple but downright revolutionary: garments that are one size and look really good on a variety of different body types. Generally, the brand’s garments fit one size fits all from 34EU to 50EU (in US sizes, S to 3XL) and come in bright, pop colors with textural details like frills and tulle ruffles. “If we can help a girl feel secure about every event in her life, that’s really a big step,” says Delepierre. “So we think one size fits all is a really important part of what we do.”
Historically, body positivity has taken off more slowly in Europe than in the United States. And in many ways, body diversity has taken a back seat on the fall 2022 runways. There has been a general shortage of plus-size models in all cities hosting Fashion Week, and other designers, mostly both emerging and mainstream designers, have only enlisted one or two plus-size models this season. Even Valentino, who in early January 2022 embraced body, race and age diversity more than ever for its couture collection, barely had body diversity for its fall 2022 show.
“The European side is very interested in the issue, but it really takes a lot of time to make an indictment possible,” adds Delepierre. “We spend a lot of time and discussions with people talking about inclusivity in fashion and what it all means for creative people too, because a lot of designers don’t have sample sizes themselves.”
Last season, Manas really made her name known as an up-and-coming designer at Paris Fashion Week, and she’s cemented it with this latest collection. Alongside her signature stretchy dresses, we also saw two-piece separates, like crop tops with little tulle cardigans and skirts, and new outfits styled with opera gloves and innovative textures like bubble-weave fabrics for skirts and dresses. The brand’s heart-shaped bags and earrings have also been updated for Fall 2022 with new colors and iterations.
Ester Manas pieces feel fun and fresh because they don’t take themselves too seriously. Any of their colorful tulle dresses could be worn to a dinner party or a drink with friends, and the fact that you don’t have to worry about size matters to many people. While the brand’s one-size-fits-all pieces will only fit up to a certain size for now, they also aim to expand this in the near future and are working on finding specific fabrics and techniques that will make this possible very soon. Also, the brand hasn’t made pants just because they haven’t figured out an integrative way to design them yet. “With the last collection we really found our voice, style and design,” explains Delepierre. “There’s really a lot of transparency in this collection. At the moment we are exploring all the possibilities and trying to shape new fabrics.”
“I think something that really inspires us is what it means to be sexy today and how can we find many variations of sexiness?” adds Delepierre. “It’s a fun topic and really interesting because we start a collection by discussing this with a lot of models, friends and women around us and it’s really amazing to see how they feel comfortable in such different shapes and fabrics can.” Ultimately, that is what inspires the designer duo the most.