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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Designers say they're looking out for real women, even as size zeroes walk their runways

    A model in Michael Kors' New York Fashion Week show on February 17, 2010. (REUTERS)

    A model in Michael Kors' New York Fashion Week show on February 17, 2010. (REUTERS)

    Unless you’re a size zero, watching the rail-thin models walk the runway can make you either want to starve yourself or chow down on a pizza. These girls are so skinny and look so great in the clothes, how is the average American woman (whose size is double digits) supposed to fit in the designer duds?

    Most of the designers I talked to at New York Fashion Week over the past few days admit that the runway models’ size probably won’t change, but they do keep their customers in mind. Half of the dynamic duo Badgley Mischka, Mark Badgley, told me they don’t just think about stick thin models or designing for a size 2.

    “We think about how we can address a real women’s needs as well,” he told Fox411. “We fit our production on a size 8 woman, who’s had three children, who’s proportions are very normal, real world, and we sell size 14s and 16s and 18s.”

    FASHION WEEK VIDEO: Christian Soriano’s Fall 2011 Show.

    Designer and “Project Runway” judge Michael Kors said good clothes have the possibility of working on many sizes. His line ranges from a zero to 24. He told me he won’t take on unhealthy models, but cautioned that fashion followers had to be realistic about the profession.

    “At the end of the day a ‘model’ means that you’re not like everyone else,” Kors said. “They’re taller, thinner, and their genetics are that way, and they take good care of themselves.”

    Designer Kimora Lee Simmons told me that women “come in all colors, shapes and sizes and that’s what’s so beautiful about us. If we were all a size 2- we would be a little boring.”

    FASHION WEEK VIDEO: Nicole Miller’s Fall 2011 Show.

    Kimora also is also watching out for your pocketbook. Couture by Kimora is out in Macy’s this spring, and features cocktail dresses in the 30-40$ range. “I don’t want women to have to decide- do I pay my student loans back or can I go shopping- I want you to be able to do both,” she said.

    Designers weren’t the only people I talked to about the “weight issue.” I asked Donald Trump if he thought we’d ever see more realistic women on the runway. His response? “Sadly no- they’ll always be skinny.”

    “Real Housewives of New York” star Kelly Bensimon agrees.

    FASHION WEEK VIDEO: The Heart Truth Red Dress Red Carpet.

    “The models on the runway are basically hangers, they’re wearing the clothes. If you have real women with real curves, the clothes look different. People have an illusion of what they want the clothes to look like and if you put a size 8 on there it just doesn’t work.”

    Voluptuous “Mad Men” star Christina Hendricks, who was on the cover of the Fashion Week edition of New York magazine, understands the pressures of being a model, but thinks everyone knows that real women aren’t represented on the runway.

    “It’s about fantasy, about a vision…I think things go in waves, and body types become popular and unpopular, hopefully some curves will come back!”

    In the meantime, if you need to hide some love handles, and need a flattering dress, I recommend heading to my favorite designer Nicole Miller. She told me  we’ll all look like a size 2 in her dresses. “I’m really good at camouflage and understanding proportions: short waisted and long waisted.”

    She may know a real woman’s body, but for the record, her show models were the skinniest of them all!

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