Marisota Ava By Mark Heyes Illusion Dress 14

A few weeks ago I attended a special bloggers’ evening for the launch of the Ava collection by Mark Heyes for online retailer Marisota

Image courtesy of Marisota

It took place on a week night so I whizzed up to London after work, met up with Hanna from The Wardrobe Challenge and we made our way to Kettner’s in Soho where the event was being held.

Mark Heyes’ Ava collection has been designed with plus size figures in mind. The clothing is cut to flatter a fuller figure and to be stylish and on trend, whilst also being comfortable and practical.

We had a fabulous evening looking through Mark’s new collection and even got to meet him and chat with him for a while. And – best of all – we got to try the pieces on! Cue lots of happy ladies running in and out of the toilets (our makeshift changing room) and lots of oohs and ahhs and admiration of each other in the glamorous clothing. I think Mark really enjoyed seeing us in his designs; it must be such a great moment for any fashion designer to finally see every day people trying on the clothes and loving them.

We were treated to a scrumptious dinner and afterwards the Marisota team shared with us a video on Shapeology, which is a philosophy that underlines their clothing designs and collections. Essentially, Marisota wants to provide women with a number of solutions for our most common wardrobe dilemmas, so a range of videos by Mark Heyes is available at You Tube, and the clothes have been designed to address these issues.

I was lucky enough to take a couple of Ava dresses home to review and here is the first of them: the Ava By Mark Heyes Illusion Dress.

Image courtesy of Marisota 

It’s a gorgeously vibrant red dress with black panels at the sides, which are designed to slim the waist and hips and reduce the appearance of the bust.

I tried this dress in a 16 first of all but it swamped my waist so I ended up with a 14:

As all hourglass women know, getting a good fit in a dress can be quite a challenge due to the differences between our bust, waist and hip measurements. I often find I have to compromise in some way and usually I can solve the issue of a looser waist by adding a belt. In this case, this would not have been an option due to the side panels, so I had to size down to fit my waist.

The 14 fits well overall. It’s perhaps a little snug across my thighs but otherwise it’s spot on for the bust, and the waist is pretty good and feels comfortable.

Lengthwise I think it’s just about ok, although regular readers will know I tend to favour longer skirts that comfortably cover my knees. I would most probably wear this dress with black tights, rather than the nude ones I have on in these photos. And there is no back split in the dress, so no risk of showing too much and being immodest!

I usually wear lower cut necklines than this but I have to say it’s a nice change to have something a little higher. It’s not so high that I feel smothered but it does not show any cleavage so it’s completely work appropriate. Perfect for any working professional or even for a night out as it’s easy to glam it up with some accessories.

The dress fastens at the back with a zip but I found I could easily put it on over my head. The fabric is 73% polyester, 23% viscose and 4% elastane, making it a stretch ponte-like material. It fits well, does not crease easily and is soft and comfortable to wear. There is no inner lining – I was so relieved to find this as often I don’t feel comfortable with an additional lining.

Thanks to the stretchy fabric, the boob room is good on this dress. I am wearing my Ewa Michalak PL Ametyst bra underneath but in fact the cut of the neckline would be ideal for my S Wiśniówka bra, which has fuller coverage cups.

I love the ‘true’ three-quarter length sleeves, which are perfect for this time of year. They give sufficient coverage to provide an extra bit of warmth but not so much that they would make me too hot on a warmer day.

The red and black colourway is a classic combination and one that will work well on a number of skintones. It’s sassy and sophisticated – I feel like I really mean business when I wear this dress!

The Ava By Mark Heyes Illusion Dress is only one of Mark’s new collection – I have a review of another dress coming soon and you can view the entire range here.  What do you think of it?



  1. Emma Watkins
    17 November 2013 / 00:46

    You make the dress look much better than on the model. I always thought Marisota was old fashioned but I see not! Great options for plus size women x

    • Anonymous
      23 November 2013 / 18:29

      that looks more like an 18-20.sorry

    • Curvy Wordy
      23 November 2013 / 21:27

      Hi Anonymous, thanks for your comment. I'm afraid I am not sure what you're sorry about…? To clear up any confusion, as stated in the post this dress is a size 14 and any larger would have been too loose in the waist. I am always more than happy to size up if it makes sense for the overall fit but in this instance it didn't. I tried on a size 16 at the event and it just didn't work.

  2. Anonymous
    17 November 2013 / 20:24

    Great dress and it looks fantastic on you! Red is such a great colour for you with your blonde hair.

  3. olivia280177
    17 November 2013 / 23:24

    I love the design on the top half, really flattering.

  4. Anonymous
    18 November 2013 / 00:49

    Oh my, this is lovely on you. A couple of inch's shorter and it would of been perrrrrrfect 🙂

    • Anonymous
      19 November 2013 / 18:57


  5. Alison23x23x
    18 November 2013 / 11:47

    This dress is great and I want to order one! What size do you usually wear in Marisota? are they true to size?

    • Curvy Wordy
      23 November 2013 / 21:31

      Hi Alison, thanks for your comment. Yes, I find Marisota are usually consistent with their sizing and remain true to high street sizes, but do check their size chart if you have any doubts. Hope you love the dress – I bet it will look amazing on you!

  6. Sue
    20 November 2013 / 03:23

    Love it! This is a great dress for plus size women. Great choice. Wearing this dress will make anyone look sexy.

  7. Paula Christiansen
    20 November 2013 / 23:32

    Lovely dress on you. So good when designers and stylists get involved with plus size clothing as it means more choices for us larger girls. I have seen Mark Heyes on tv for years so its nice to see him working with an accessible clothing brand. Love it! x

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