Lena Dunham's 11 Honoré Collection Makes Her Feel "Powerful and Adventurous"
Since breaking onto the scene for her HBO TV series Girls, Lena Dunham has been very public about her life journey on Instagram, specifically opening up about her relationship with her body, her ongoing battle with endometriosis, and the resulting decision to have a full hysterectomy. The star, also a lover of fashion, has made many statements on the red carpet through the years, like when she showed up to the 2014 Emmys with then-boyfriend Jack Antonoff in a cascading ombré Giambattista Valli skirt and platinum bleached bob, or at the Met Gala in 2017, when she settled on a punk-rock gingham Elizabeth Kennedy gown, or in 2019, when she and costar Jemima Kirke channeled fetishes from Christopher Kane's runway. One thing Lena is not, when it comes to her personal style, is reserved. So her new five-piece collection for luxury retailer 11 Honoré might confuse you at first. It's decidedly simple and limited.
"We don't stop loving clothes or having unique styles just because the world desexualizes and dehumanizes plus bodies."
11 Honoré has served as a direct-to-consumer e-tailer since 2017. CEO and founder Patrick Herning works with designers such as Jason Wu, Altuzarra, Christian Siriano, Diane von Furstenberg, Mara Hoffman, Rachel Comey, and Jonathan Simkhai to craft pieces for the shopping platform in extended sizes (12+), although the higher price range for the items means most people can really only afford to save up for an occasion piece or two every once in a while. Lena's collection, however, retails from $98 to $298, which is a bit more refreshing to see, and it includes a skirt, matching blazer, dress, tank, and silk shirt. Lena was inspired by her parents when it came to branding, naming the products after places she watched her mother's bold style come to life in SoHo in the '80s and '90s and incorporating one of her father's floral graphics onto the midi dress with help from 11 Honoré Design Director Danielle Williams Eke.
With the release of the line comes mixed reviews and critiques about how Lena has spoken out in the past, mostly inappropriately, and a whole new press release full of lengthy quotes about her understanding of the body positive movement, which she tells The New York Times is "for the privileged few who have a body that looks the way people want to feel positive." She continues to face backlash from the plus size community, which she has previously distanced herself from, as critics feel she is therefore not the right person to front a plus campaign or line.
"I have made it my mission as a customer and now a creator to really haunt every corner of the web that caters to women with curvy bodies and the thing I find is that companies think we either want to dress like we are headed to the club or like we are grandmas, and Patrick gets that there are as many fashion-loving plus women as there are straight size women. We don't stop loving clothes or having unique styles just because the world desexualizes and dehumanizes plus bodies. So with this collection, I wanted to offer pieces that any woman could feel powerful, playful and herself in, and that could supplement her other pieces to elevate her everyday style and make her feel like her body is as valuable as anyone else's," Lena said in 11 Honoré's press release.
Ahead, we asked Lena how she shops for clothes that make her feel confident and what she hopes her collection for 11 Honoré, which could potentially expand into a second drop, does for women. Read the quotes from the exclusive interview for POPSUGAR, check out the campaign images, then click through to shop at 11 Honoré.
When Lena Feels Confident in Her Clothes
"I feel most confident when I am wearing something comfortable and casual that expresses my sense of humor. I love easy separates that have color and texture but also make some noise. Recently, I basically bought out Lisa Says Gah's plus-size cotton separates because they do that for me when I'm on set. For my birthday last year at home in lockdown, I wore a Rachel Comey onesie from 11 Honoré with a wrap front. When I look for clothes, I look for pieces that make me feel powerful and adventurous, but most importantly clothes that fit me. My dream is to hear from women who are having powerful experiences in the clothes — meetings where they felt like they could sit proudly in their chair and focus on their mission and not on their outfit, dates where they weren't tugging on their hem but walking down the street feeling totally boss. I also want to send the message that being curvy is something to celebrate, not simply handle. It's not a problem to fix or cover up, but rather a really beautiful celebration of having a lot to give."
Where Lena Shops Curve Lines
"11 Honoré is leading the fashion industry towards extending sizing, but there is still a huge barrier to entry for plus women who enjoy fashion. It's taken me years to feel comfortable in my body and to find brands that allow me to express myself and play. Along with 11 Honoré, I love what ASOS Curve offers (amazing suiting and easy pants) and Eloquii. I also find a lot of great pieces on Etsy — especially vintage Saint Laurent men's shirts and peasant dresses. Search 'Indian block cotton dresses.' Often they're nice and loose and make you feel like Marianne Faithfull!"