View Full Version : V Magazine: ''The Body Beautiful''

1st January 2010, 03:36
<i>(NOTE: Since the image featured in this post appeared on the last day of 2009--indeed, just a few hours before the closing of the 2009 board--and since the </i>V Magazine<i> issue in question is sure to invite more discussion, we are transplanting this thread into the current, 2010 board.)</i>

As recently reported on this forum, the January 2010 edition of <i>V Magazine</I> will be a "size issue," due out January 14th.

Two editorials from the issue have already been released. The <a href="http://models.com/oftheminute/?p=11790" target="_blank">first</a> was a disappointment. After Crystal Renn's attractively styled and posed <i>Elle Canada</I> layout, and her excellent <i><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1690" target="_blank">Brigitte</a></I> magazine spread, with its elegant, Old World aesethetic, the <i>V</I> story suffered from terribly modern styling and posing. Also, many writers felt disappointed that Crystal looked very thin (possible due more to excessive Photoshop than weight loss, but still . . .). It was not an auspicious omen for this issue.

Now, however, the second <i>V</i> editorial, titled "Curves Ahead," photographed by Sølve Sundsbø, has been released, and it is worlds superior. In fact, it has produced an all-time masterpiece of curvaceous beauty.

We noted the fine work of Ford's Candice Huffine in a recent <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1675" target="_blank">thread</a>, expressing a wish that she were one size larger, but praising her soft physique. This image celebrates her contours in an unapologetically sensual manner.

Just look at how this swimsuit, perfectly cut to showcase a full figure, displays the luxurious curves along the model's side. One sees her voluptuousness, and better still, an alluring swell at her abdomen. One might wish her limbs to be a tad fuller, but oh, it is those undulating curves at her side that make this one of the greatest images of plus-size beauty that we have ever seen. She appears seductively untoned (in the areas that matter most), well-fed and feminine.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/candice/v01a.jpg"></center><p>If one can tear one's eyes away from her physique for a moment, one notices the other elements that make this image such a triumph. The pose is thrillingly passionate. The way in which she clutches her stiletto heel gives the image a dramatic intensity. Her magnificent tresses flow in the wind. Candice's face is round and feminine--classically beautiful. The big accessories are very chic.

But all of those are extras. It is the undulating fullness at her midsection, her untoned, feminine physique, so lovingly presented, that is the key to the spectacular success of this image.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/candice/v01b.jpg"></center><p>The photographer may have been inspired by Doutzen Kroes's recent swimwear <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1654" target="_blank">candids</a> in choosing the wardrobe for Candice, as Doutzen's swimsuit, cut in a similar manner, displayed slight curves along her side. Nothing like the alluring fleshiness of Candice's figure, though.

You can see more of this editorial at the models.com site, <a href="http://models.com/v-magazine/v-size-2.html" target="_blank">here</a>. Interestingly, the model who is featured in a state of undress on that page, Tara Lynn, is listed as a size 16, but Candice's image, while clothed, is actually more sensual and size-positive. Posing <i>matters,</i> and often, just a touch of clothing is more seductive than none at all.

<i>V Magazine</I> also features a behind-the-scenes <a href="http://www.vmagazine.com/page.php?pn=size" target="_blank">video</a> of this photoshoot on its site. The other pictures in the editorial are not as remarkable, though. Nothing can compare to Candice's exciting masterpiece.

With our initial skepticism somewhat allayed, we are now curious to see what else this issue will offer. If nothing else, it has already produced an image for the ages, a magnificent example of Classical beauty interpreted in a timeless yet contemporary manner. Could lightning strike twice? We will have to wait and see.

- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/candice/v01.jpg" target="_blank">Click here to view image at a larger size</a>

1st January 2010, 06:08
The contrast between the two V editorials is practically a lesson in plussize imagery, showing how to do it wrong vs. how to do it right.

And this is the one that does it right.

Instead of weird wardrobe, strange hairstyling, and bizarre poses, this editorial emphasizes the pure beauty of the models in terms of figures and fashion.

The other pictures in this "Body Beautiful" spread are so-so, but this one with Candice is just incredible.

If the mainstream fashion photogs want to shoot full-figured models, they are going to have to forget their minimalist rules about photographing skinny models and learn a whole new approach based on curve-appreciation. Instead of trying to make the models look skinny, they need to learn to pose and shoot the models in a way that beautifies and celebrates their luscious figures. This pic of Candice does just that.

It really is brilliant. Candice is only barely plussize, and her limbs are on the thin side. But by having her kneel, the picture de-emphasizes her non-plus legs and arms and instead focuses on the most attractive and curviest parts of her figure, i.e. her bust, waist, hips, and tummy.

It reminds me of the legendary Kailee picture for Glamour, which achieved a similar effect, but with a different pose.


But instead of making a rip-off of the Glamour pic, this photographer posed Candice in an original way that was just as size-celebratory.

I wish the other models in this layout had been fuller-figured - at least as curvy as Candice and Tara. But this one photo redeems the whole layout; in fact, the whole issue.

If V has any real daring, it will make this picture the cover. Stunning.

1st January 2010, 16:32
by having her kneel, the picture de-emphasizes her non-plus legs and arms and instead focuses on the most attractive and curviest parts of her figure, i.e. her bust, waist, hips, and tummy.
That's very observant, and quite true. It's a fine example of shooting a model to play up her curves, rather than downplay them.

It's an image of pulse-pounding sensuality. If it's true that the commercial part of the industry looks to magazines as a guide, then I hope that this will prompt retailers shooting plus-size models to display their curves - all of their curves - when they photograph them for ad campaigns.

1st January 2010, 19:59
I must say that when I first saw all of the images on the site I became very enthusiastic. Some are better than others. It's so wonderful to see images of plus-size women used in such beautiful, bold and sensuous poses. Normally, "top" fashion magazines either ignore plus-size models or try find ways to cover up what makes these women so beautiful in some token "size" issue that comes around once a year. I hope V magazine will handle things differently in the future in regards to plus-size women.

I especially love the image of the beautiful model in the silver bathing suit. I hope to see more images like that in the coming years. If this issue of V is an indication of what they plan to do regularly then things are truly changing!

2nd January 2010, 08:49
I wish the other models in this layout had been fuller-figured
This is understandable. Candice's image is so utterly perfect that it can blind one to the fact that the rest of the girls, apart from Tara, are merely faux-plus.

The diminishing size of plus-size models continues to be troubling. Consider, for example, the image of the thin model with her leg up, then observe the following photograph of Natalie Laughlin, from the December 2000 issue of <i>Talk</I> magazine. (2000? My lord, could it really have been ten years ago?)

<i>Talk</I> was a short-lived but high-profile mainstream lifestyle magazine that ran an avant-garde editorial featuring the top plus-size models of the day in 2000. Like this <i>V Magazine</I> spread, it boasted one Classically beautiful image that became famous--a <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/images/LJ14.jpg" target="_blank">page</a> showing Lara Johnson (the Kelsey Olson of her day, with a fair, doll-like beauty) in a clever contemporary update of the famous <i>Venus Pudica</i> ("modest Venus") pose seen in the <i><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/pinacotheca/antiquity07.htm" target="_blank">Venus di Medici</a>,</I> and repeated in countless artworks throughout the ages.

None of the other images in the <i>Talk</i> layout were as successful, but at this point it is worth considering Natalie Laughlin's contribution to the issue, in comparison with the similarly posed <i>V</I> picture. Remember, we are judging images in exactly the same context: plus-size models in a non-plus-specific magazine that considers itself "arty."<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/nl/talk02a.jpg"></center><p>Right away, the difference between the images is obvious. Consider how much fuller Natalie's hips, thighs, and calves are. Compared to this, the blonde <i>V Magazine</I> model practically looks straight-size.

To this day, we are not sure what to make of the orange wrap or the flat footwear. (Kudos for the cotton-candy, though.) But the point is that when it was introducing itself to the general public a decade ago, the plus-size industry fielded visibly fuller-figured models than it did for <i>V Magazine</i> today.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/nl/talk02b.jpg"></center><p>Thank goodness that, at the very least, Candice was photographed so brilliantly, so curve-adoringly, and that at least one model Tara's size is present in <i>V.</i> It would be nice if the rest of the issue were to feature fuller-figured models, but most will likely be on the smallest periphery of plus. Perhaps at the very least this issue will introduce future opportunities for curvy girls in general, and some of those may go to genuinely plus-size models.

And if the entire magazine yields only one masterpiece--this image of Candice--then that is still a triumph. Many issues of <i>Mode</I> in its later years, many issues of <i>Grace,</I> and even some of <i>Figure</I> failed to produce even a single memorable picture for the ages. Sundsbro and Candice created magic in this instance, and that is cause for celebration.

- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/nl/talk02.jpg" target="_blank">Click to view Natalie at a larger size</a>

3rd January 2010, 18:06
These are exactly the kind of images the general public needs to see of plus-size models! These photos could easily be found in Vogue or Elle. The production value is top notch and the styling, hair and make-up are stunning. But most importantly, the photographer and models were fearless and unapologetic. These are the type of images that lend legitimacy to the movement, changes people's perceptions of plus-size beauty and encourage luscious women to celebrate every bit of fleshiness they possess. This excites me!

5th January 2010, 12:34
One more thing that's worth adding here is that the layout is garnering favourable press attention. That's something, because as others have pointed out before, the press still has tremendous power in shaping public opinion, and if reporters and journalists start coming over to the side of size celebration, then the restoration of the timeless ideal will progress more quickly.

Here's one article about the layout:


This is the line that especially stands out:

The girls unashamedly flaunt full thighs, stomach rolls and love handles - things that would normally be airbrushed out on a high fashion magazine.
"Unashamedly" - and the reporter is using that term approvingly. In other words, the Daily Mail is commending the models for being unashamed of their luscious curves, and is simultaneous praising V Magazine for not airbrushing out these features.

That may be standard Judgment of Paris thinking, but for the traditionally curve-o-phobic press, that's a sea change, a real step forward.

The article also adds the following about the Mark Fast runway show:

The models in question proved how sexy Fast's clingy knitted dresses could look on a curvaceous body, making them a sellout at Brown's, the London boutique in which they were sold.
Think about the ideas that the writer is uniting here: "clingy" clothing on a "curvaceous body" equals "sexy." Again, that's real progress. It wasn't so long ago (and is still the case, in some circles) that words like "clingy" would have been used negatively to describe clothing for curvaceous bodies. Now they're (correctly) being deployed as compliments.

Same with the terms "full thighs, stomach rolls and love handles" from the line quoted above - the article is praising the visibility of these features, not decrying them.

The media - or at least some parts of it - may finally be reflecting the opinion of the general public, that plus-size equals plus-beauty.

M. Lopez
7th January 2010, 02:19
It is the undulating fullness at her midsection, her untoned, feminine physique, so lovingly presented, that is the key to the spectacular success of this image.
Absolutely. After all, if there's any type of clothing that really needs a woman's body to fill it out, it's a swimsuit. The fact that swimwear is so body-conscious, that it fits like a second skin, and displays so much of the wearer, means that her physique needs to be attractive.

I found an interesting image that provides a startling comparison. The picture on the left shows this swimsuit being modelled in the Spring 2010 Gucci runway show. It hasn't been altered in any way. That shrivelled, bony, unhealthy-looking frame really is what the androgynous model looks like. It's a frightening picture, and all that one can do when looking at it is think, first, "Please, cover up," and second, "Please seek medical attention. That level of emaciation cannot be healthy."


Compare it to the picture of the plus-size model on the right. She looks soft and healthy. Her bust creates a feminine impression. Her curvy waist is extremely sensual. The swimsuit reveals both models' physiques, but the difference is that the plus-size model's figure is gorgeous and worth seeing, while the minus-size model's frame is repulsive. It is a pleasure to look at the full-figured model, while the picture of the skinny waif makes you want to look away in horror.

And there can be no question as to which model makes the clothing look better. On the curvy girl, it looks stunning. On the stick insect, it looks like a fabric rag.