“It’s not the dress; it’s the woman who wears it.”
This was the new “Phat & Sassy” fashion line’s motto. I remember my mentor thought that I was foolish to get involved with Plus Size fashion design. “You’ve never weighed more than 150 lbs. What do you know about “curves”? Plenty apparently.
My line is in its 7th year and after successful walks in Milan, Los Angeles, and New York. , I guess the only size that mattered was my clothing and if it fit my customers and gave them that confidence to be sexy, sassy and more importantly themselves, I did my duty.
Three months ago…
“In all my time as a doctor, I’ve never seen this before. I am truly at a loss,” were my doctors last words to me before he told me that I only had 2 months approximately to live. The cancer, according to all the tests performed, had migrated from my throat to my internal organs. According to the specialists I should have been in extreme pain or worse dead. The odd thing was that I never felt any pain at all. If anything I was more determined to live what little life I had left to the fullest.
Gloria Reyna was the best assistant, confidant and she has a great eye for fashion. Also she was the only one who knew my future designs. “And here is the transfer of ownership and our attorney will have more documents for you to sign after…after I am gone.”
Gloria did all she could to hold back her emotions but she could not hold it in anymore, “I refuse to sign!” and with that she fell on my covered legs in my hospice care bed and sobbed profusely.
“I want you to have it, have it all. I know you are ready.” I told Gloria.
“If I sign, it’s like you are already….already….dead. I can’t imagine life or the business without you.” Gloria winced and tears welled up as she said this.
“I don’t want to go either, but this is the hand that I’ve been dealt. Gloria, we all walk paths that were started by others before us. Please walk mine, make it better, and make it your own.”
“I will never forget you Maureen and I will make sure that you will never be forgotten.”
The dear friends hugged and Gloria left.
The next morning Maureen’s nurse came in and brought her the New York Times. As usual she began thumbing through the various sections and then she gasped as she looked at the cover story of the business section.
Vixen Noir, Inc., introduces Phat & Sassy - Love Basically
Maureen stared in amazement at first then read the article. Gloria was staging a pre-release party of her most beloved designs that were not due out for another year per her plan. She had hoped to see them but with her condition worsening, she only flipped through her old sketches and imagined all her beautifully curved models strutting in her jeans, signature T-shirts and lingerie. Maureen wanted to highlight the beauty in the basics.
Gloria came into her room just then. With the help of her nurse Maureen got out of bed, dressed and was ready for her final walk down the run way.
The show was emotional and phenomenal. Even some of the models had tears streaming down their smiling faces as they tore up the run way.
At the end of the show Maureen walked out to thank her guests and to say good bye to her close friends one last time. The applause was a thunderous roar. She had to wait five minutes before she could speak audibly and be heard.
“You know I had a whole speech prepared, but well to be honest, I threw it away.”
There were light giggles and laughter
in amongst the crowd of teary-eyes and smiling faces.
“Really though, I want to tell all of you how much you have beautified my life and given me memories that nothing, not even death, can rob from me. To all of my beautiful curvy models, you are the outward representation of what I feel and admire – your strength, your beauty, your confidence and your grace…please don’t ever change….”
Maureen gave more thanks to all and finally invited Gloria to the stage and made the announcement of the future business changes; everyone applauded.
“Remember…It’s not the dress, it’s the woman who wears it!”
The applause was riotous.
Two weeks later….
“…and so today we bid a fond farewell to our beloved Maureen Lee Oxford. She put her mark on the fashion world and she proved by her designs that all women have the right to feel empowered beautiful, sexy, and more important, like a person. She will live in our hearts and memories….
Everyone in attendance, even the men, wore her new signature T-shirt at the funeral. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday.
© 2008 – Its Not the Dress…