TORONTO - With a sister and childhood friend who are both plus-sized, the lament about a lack of stylish options for full-figured women was one Jeanne Beker has heard plenty.
"My whole life growing up I heard those kinds of complaints and the kinds of frustration that they were going through," the longtime fashion and media maven said in an interview.
"There really has been a void in the market I think for clothes that just were sophisticated in a sense, but with a hip kind of maybe edge to them; like a kind of attitude we weren't seeing.
"Everything just seemed so 'missy,' or people were complaining about the kinds of prints that they were being offered, and they weren't being offered a lot of that same attitude that we saw in the regular-sized lines. Now, it's all coming together."
Beker will be putting her own sartorial stamp on fashions for fuller-figured women through a partnership with Addition Elle.
The style columnist and Fashion Television Channel host teamed up with the retailer on a plus-size capsule collection. The collaboration will bring extended sizing of the Edit by Jeanne Beker line to Addition Elle stores starting next spring.
Beker's previous design credits include a limited time only clothing line for Eaton's in 2001, and a line of bodywear sold at Sears Canada in the fall of 2003.
Edit by Jeanne Beker launched at the Bay in 2010, a line she envisioned as essentials to be mixed and matched and serve as the "bare bones" of a woman's wardrobe.
Beker said about two seasons into the creation of Edit, they made a foray into the plus-size market. While some of the pieces "would just fly off the rack," she said others weren't resonating to the same degree.
"We started thinking: 'You know, what are we doing wrong?' because the regular-sized line is doing so well, and plus-sized women really seem to be voicing their complaints a lot about not being able to find the pieces that they wanted," Beker recalled during a media preview of her capsule line. "And what we realized was that some pieces just don't translate."
The 19-piece capsule collection will feature fashions ranging in size from 14 to 24 with items priced between $69.99 and $139.99. The debut spring line will showcase a palette of soft shades and pastels including peach, taupe, sand and mocha, encompassing separates like tanks, tunics and cropped pants.
Sheer blouses, light cardigans and denim are also set to be featured in the range. Plans are also in the works for a fall 2013 collection.
"We're really customizing to the different body types and fit of that body, and so we curate the silhouettes and trends that are going to be adapted, that are going to flatter her body shape the best," said Roslyn Griner, vice-president of marketing and visual display for Addition Elle.
"Some of the pieces translate from the Edit line in the regular sizes, and some are really customized and exclusively designed in collaboration with our merchandising team."
Beker said the capsule collection pieces are designed to be paired with pre-existing wardrobe items.
"That's what I love about fashion today: that mix that really does represent who you are, because everyone gets to come out with their own unique take on how they're going to put themselves together."
The Edit by Jeanne Beker for Addition Elle capsule collection is set to arrive at 50 Addition Elle stores across Canada next April.