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HSG
31st August 2005, 05:23
<br>Of all of the subjects that are associated with fashion and its satellite industries, the one that has probably received the least attention on this forum is . . . cosmetics.

At first glance, it would seem that this topic does not require a plus-specific treatment, and that whichever rules pertain to thin women should apply to plus-size women, as well.

But is that really the case?

Consider this: could it be a coincidence that--whatever their other distinctions--plus-size fashion magazines have always created stunningly beautiful and effective cosmetics editorials?

<i>Mode</i> was particularly renowned for its cosmetics stories. Whether they demonstrated the best way to embellish the peaches-and-cream freshness of a Shannon Marie (the greatest cosmetics model the world has ever known),<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/images/SH06.jpg"></center><p>or the evening glamour of a Barbara Brickner,<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/bb/bb73.jpg"></center><p>the make-up features in <i>Mode</i> were bona fide works of art.

But <i>Figure</i> too has distinguished itself for its cosmetics editorials. Who can forget the pink-themed <i>tour de force</i> of make-up artistry that Valerie showcased on the cover, and throughout the editorial pages, of the Spring 2003 issue?<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/valerie84.jpg"></center><p>This look vividly recalls the <i>"plump and pink and flaxen attributes"</i> that Charlotte Bronte ascribes to her irresistibly selfish coquette, Ginevra Fanshawe. And in yet another example of plus-size models influencing the mainstream media, it is quite likely that this stunning pink masterpiece inspired the enchanting "Spun Sugar" look that Flirt cosmetics is currently showcasing on Carrie Tivador:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/tivador01a.jpg"></center><p>But the fact that plus-size models are singularly adept at promoting make-up should come as no surprise. Even the most thoroughly brainwashed, most curve-o-phobic individuals have always been forced to admit, <i>"She has such a pretty face,"</i> when speaking of a plus-size goddess.

And it is reasonable to assume that make-up artists have always secretly known what supermodel Rachel Hunter acknowledged in her recent criticisms of Teri Hatcher's drawn facial features: full-figured women possess far lovelier faces than underweight women.

Therefore, when curvy vixens do choose to wear make-up, they wear it far better than their emaciated rivals ever could. The roundness, the fullness, the soft, babylike contours of a plus-size model's face make it a far more agreeable canvass for the make-up artist's brush than the harsh angles of a malnourished countenance.

So perhaps there <i>are</i> certain specific techniques that embellish full facial features better than hard visages. We hope to examine this topic further, in the near future.<p><center>* * *</center><p>In the meantime, we have already received one useful contribution to this topic from Suzanne, a long-time reader of this forum. Suzanne advises us to visit the Web site of "Mark," a cosmetics line owned by the Avon group. And since Avon has used true plus-size models in its clothing promotions, we are glad to give the company a little extra publicity.

On one <a href="http://pr.meetmark.com/PRSuite/meet/newproductintro.jsp" target="_blank">Web page</a> at the Mark site, the company not only acknowledges the influence of the Aesthetic Restoration on current trends in fashion, but it even specifies how cosmetics can harmonize with this revival of timeless beauty:<p><blockquote><i>The fall runways took a few pages out of Renaissance and retro rulebooks as evidenced by the <strong>velvet, lace, curls, embellishment and frill</strong>. Makeup was tender, soft and subtle, yet oozing with stunning sex appeal. The style hunters at Mark incorporated elements of retro romance into the latest color collection "Romantified."</i></blockquote><p>To be precise, the correct term is "Romanticized," not "Romantified." But why quibble? Avon undoubtedly wanted to create an original term (one that could be trademarked) to denote their new line--and besides, if this promotion helps to spread the Romantic spirit, we will forgive almost anything.

In her message, Suzanne specifies that<p><blockquote><i>The picture that accompanies [the new Mark line] is of a straight-size model but looks to have fuller facial features. If you go to that link and then click on "Get The Look" there are two more pictures of this model showing her face better. Instead of using one of those thinner oval-faced models they choose to use the rounder face as their Romantic Goddess.</i></blockquote><p>Not only is it encouraging to see this tacit acknowledgment of the rounder face as the true incarnation of feminine beauty,<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/mark01a.jpg"></center><p>but it is particularly gratifying to see a mainstream cosmetics company encouraging its customers to adopt, as their personal ideal, the image of a "Romantic Goddess."

And this veneration of Romanticism is not just lip service. Suzanne relates that the text on the Romantic Goddess <a href="http://pr.meetmark.com/PRSuite/meet/getthelook.jsp?ArtID=lighten&page=1" target="_blank">page</a> specifically reminded her of the fairy-tale thread that recently appeared on our forum. That text reads,<p><blockquote><i>Summer is the season of sizzling romance. But need we remind you of the glorious gazes to be exchanged while walking through fallen fall foliage? Or how sweet it is to snuggle up in a sweater with a latte in hand and a great conversationalist by your side? <strong>Perhaps you could discuss your favorite literary romantic heroine. Or you could pull out all the stops and look like one</strong>.</i></blockquote><p>Can you believe it? Here we have a cosmetics firm subtly encouraging its customers to explore the world of Romantic literature--and possibly, even to incorporate it into their own lives.

What an exciting movement this is. And we say "movement" advisedly, rather than "trend," because the New Femininity appears to be no passing fad, but the leading edge of a cultural shift that is progressively gathering momentum. And no wonder. It is fulfilling the human need for timeless beauty, which has been unsatisfied for so long.

Once again--astonishingly--we see that fashion and its related disciplines are embracing the Aesthetic Restoration more wholeheartedly than any other field of creative endeavour.

Let the plus-size industry take note: the time has never been better for the Classical aesthetic to reclaim its rightful place as the true Ideal of feminine beauty.

Kaitlynn
23rd September 2005, 21:57
This is a little bit of a tangent, but it still falls under the topic of associating romanticism with cosmetics, and fits perfectly with the timeless-themed campaigns that have been featured on this forum lately.

In the current issue of CosmoGirl magazine, of all places, there's a Covergirl ad that, I swear, looks in every way as if it was photographed in the Victorian era. Except of course for the fact that it uses minus-size models. (Aaaargh!) But otherwise it's just uncanny. The setting looks like a room in a museum- it's that convincing- but the colors define it as a contemporary ad, since color wasn't around in the late 1800s.

You can't find a more striking example of aesthetic restoration.

HSG
25th September 2005, 07:31
<br>CoverGirl has featured full-figured Queen Latifah in a number of advertisements, so the company richly deserves a "plug."

Below is the page to which Kaitlynn is referring. It is a truly remarkable image, not only because of its intrinsic beauty, but because of what it represents.

Think of it: of all of the publications on the nation's newsstands, the most sensitive cultural barometers must surely be the "teen" fashion magazines. If regular fashion periodicals pride themselves on being up-to-the-minute, these magazines need to be up-to-the-<i>second,</i> in accordance with that distinctively 21st-century saying, <i>"Oh, that's so ten minutes ago."</i>

And yet here--in a national advertisement, in one such trendy "teen magazine"--we see an image that is not only <i>"so ten minutes ago,"</i> but <i>"so <strong>two centuries</strong> ago."</i>

But by the very nature of its placement in such a magazine, it is also "so <i>now</i>"--"so today," "so hip," "so current."<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/cosmogirl01.jpg"></center><p>Can we really be seeing this image? Is this not a Judgment of Paris re-creation, a fantasy of "what might be"?

No, this image truly exists, sitting right before us, in the here-and-now. We are indeed catching a glimpse of two young ladies--and no one would dare call them anything less respectful, for young ladies they certainly are, as the context indicates--enjoying high tea in an elegant setting, decked out in demure, feminine wardrobe.

In decades past, a magazine with a title like <i>CosmoGirl</i> would have presented very different advertisements indeed. It would have featured street urchins in grungy settings, sporting raunchy attire, in snapshots taken by photographers seemingly locked in perpetual combat as to who could create the ugliest possible image.

But today, having exhausted every conceivable avenue of deconstruction and disparagement, having made "teen rebellion" a mark of conformity, and "raging against the machine" as predictable as the "machine" itself, today's youth are looking back at the codes of civility and elegance that have passed out of living memory, and discovering the worth of these cultural trappings for themselves.

For is there any domestic custom that bespeaks civility, indeed, <i>civilization,</i> better than that most serene of rituals--a shared cup of tea?

This image is the perfect blend of past and present. It signifies the harmonious integration of history into contemporary life. The "ginger" model's gorgeous, voluminous hairstyle and vibrantly-hued dress mark the photograph as a snapshot of the present-day, but the setting, the furniture--and of course, the <i>mood</i>--are all unmistakably drawn from "a more civilized age."

And no matter how often we make this point, it still begs repeating: if only, <i>if only</i> the advertisement had used plus-size models instead of androgynous waifs. Even the round facial features of the model in the painting on the left testify that a fuller, more timeless ideal of feminine beauty would have harmonized better with the aesthetic of the image.

Just imagine, say, Christina Schmidt and Kelsey Olson sharing a cup of tea in the same setting, in the same attire (and yes, for Covergirl's sake--in the same makeup).

The result would have been nothing less than . . . a masterpiece for the ages.