Michael Kors and Ashley Graham Talk Body Diversity on the Runway: I Don't Like When Models Look Like Mannequins

Michael Kors Access party, Spring Summer 2018, New York Fashion Week, USA - 13 Sep 2017
Credit: Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

Ashley Graham wasn’t nervous to walk the runway at Michael Kors‘ spring/summer 2018 show at New York Fashion Week without a drop of makeup. “That’s how my husband likes me — without any makeup!” the model told PeopleStyle after the show when she celebrated the designer’s new Access Smartwatch launch with fellow model Kate Upton.

“With the fresh-faced makeup we wanted to put the spotlight on the women and not make them look like mannequins,” Kors said of the simplified look. “When you see everyone fresh-faced you get to really see their beauty.” He added that the models’ hair was left in their natural textures as well. “We left their hair the way their hair is. If you have straight hair your hair was straight. Curly, curly.”

The model still managed to show off near-flawless skin at yesterday’s show, despite not wearing makeup. “I drink lots of water. I know everyone says it but it’s real,” Graham told us about her secret to glowing skin. “And Mzia Shiman. She does oxygen facials — she’s amazing. I go twice a month.”

Michael Kors show, Runway, Spring Summer 2018, New York Fashion Week, USA - 13 Sep 2017
Credit: WWD/Shutterstock

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Last season, Graham broke boundaries at NYFW when she made her debut at the Michael Kors show, along with other models Candice Huffine and Precious Lee, who also walked typically “straight size” shows. “What’s really awesome to see is that all the designers who had curves on the runway last season brought them back,” the 29-year-old model says, regarding the progress in body diversity. “No one had us as a token trend for that season. We all went back and did shows with the designers.” The model added that although she didn’t take notice of any new designers adding curvier models this season, “that’s not to say it won’t happen [next New York Fashion Week] in February.”

Michael Kors And Google Celebrate New MICHAEL KORS ACCESS Smartwatches
Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

That’s why Graham loves working with Kors — because to him, showing women of all sizes, colors and shapes in his clothing isn’t a trend he’s hopping on for a limited amount of time. “36 years being a designer, I’ve dressed all ages, all sizes and also different points of view,” Kors told us at his smartwatch launch party. “For me that’s what’s fun about being a designer — dressing this wide range of women … I don’t like when the models look like mannequins. I want them to be the women they are.” Are you excited to see designers showing women of all different sizes on the runway at Fashion Week? Tell us in the comments below. –reporting by Brittany Talarico