View Full Version : Christina Hendricks and curve-adoring fashions
11th April 2011, 16:38
Although she can barely be classified as faux-plus, let alone full-figured, no one can deny that Christina Hendricks' name has become a byword for the eternally hoped-for restoration of a curvaceous ideal.
I wish this movement had a fuller-figured actress or plus-size model at its helm, but in the celebrity world, which doesn't have a tradition of goddess models like Barbara Brickner, Katherine Roll, Kelsey Olson, etc., Christina represents something important.
How important? Here's an article from the Daily Mail (which continues to be the most pro-curvy newspaper on the planet) which cites Christina as inspiring a renewed appreciation for clothing that celebrates the well-fed female body.
It has its mixed messages, but here are the best excerpts:
Samantha Cameron's stony-faced reaction to super-skinny models at London Fashion Week was not the only sign that Britain is sick of the craze for being as thin as possible.
Purchasing trends are also signalling a change in the perception of what the ideal woman looks like - demand for clothes that give an hourglass silhouette at Debenhams increased by 225 per cent last year.
Part of the credit for this shift in fashion trends must be attributed to curvy Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks who has been topping best-dressed lists at awards ceremonies since last year's Emmys.
Her popularity marks a return to old-school preferences when curvy was in and hourglass actresses like Marilyn Monroe had the ideal figures.
Nigella Lawson, Scarlet Johansson and Selma Hayek are also spearheading the trend that will see women up and down the country breathing a big sigh of relief.
Debenhams spokeswoman Michelle Dowdall said: 'It looks like big busts [and] big hips...are on their way back.
'We're returning to an age when all women looked like Jane Russell, Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth.
'It's bad news for stick-thin models - but great news for ordinary women on the street with healthy, fuller figures.'...
A preference for fuller figures would have a dramatic impact upon the clothes and fashions worn by women in the future.
An hourglass figure demands clothes which define the body's curves rather than hide it.
Debenhams expects sales of pencil skirts, fitted jackets and strapless dresses to increase - a major shift away from today's boyish, androgynous styles.
Deep v-neck sweaters, tight-fitting blouses...will also become wardrobe staples.
I love the reference to "full figures" being "healthy" figures - because they are. As countless articles on this forum have indicated (such as the entries that Quinlan has recently posted), being plus-size is actually much healthier for women than starving, or being underweight.
Also, I appreciate the wardrobe ideas that this article associates with body love: "deep v-neck sweaters, tight-fitting blouses" and "strapless dresses." Even better, the article celebrates the "shift away from today's boyish, androgynous styles" and notes that this is "bad news for stick-thin models." Perhaps, finally, the hegemony of the androgynous, emaciated ideal is cracking, and the grim dictatorship of the minimalist look is being overthrown.
Oh, and although Christina Hendricks is not plus-size, she does exhibit visible curves, so she warrants some credit as a champion of fuller-figured women. The reason I thought to post about her today was because of a second Daily Mail article about her (they love her!), which featured images of Christina starring in a London play.
She does look sensually curvaceous, and her fair skin tone gives her a seductive vulnerability.
True, I would be even more inspired if the images were of a luscious plus-size model like Katherine Roll, but bravo to Christina for not turning into a size 0, as so many actresses do whenever they are held up as being champions of curves.
I hope that more figure-accentuating fashions will be coming into style, and that stick-thin androgyny is finally on its way out.
Continuing its run as the most size-positive newspaper in the U.K., the Daily Mail ran an interview with Christina Hendricks yesterday that's well worth a look.
The key reason for clicking on the link, though, is to see these breathtakingly beautiful images of Christina - some of the loveliest and most sensual I've ever seen of her.
The dress effectively accentuates her voluptuous curves, and the lighting and décor harmonize with her rich beauty to create a mood of wealth and opulence. These images are ten times more alluring than any of the vulgarity that one usually sees in the media today, where tanorexic waifs are posed in a crude manner in a desperate attempt to look "sexy." Christina looks gorgeous.
I like the opening::
Can there ever have been a more magnificent TV creation than Mad Men’s Joan Holloway? The indispensable office manager of Sterling Cooper and its breakaway ad agency, Joan is a woman capable of filleting secretaries with a single glance and subduing men with her incredible embonpoint.
Her majestic curves and waspish pronouncements seem to give Joan all the approachability of a lipstick-wearing crocodile, so it’s a pleasure to find that Christina Hendricks, the actress who portrays her, is not only approachable but fun and girlie, too.
I enjoy how the writer presents Christina as having a kind of dual persona - as a well-fed seductress in her TV role, but also "fun and girlie." Both identities are hallmarks of traditional femininity.
Also, I'm delighted to see a writer use the word "embonpoint," a venerable term to describe beauty, one with Rubenesque connotations. His account of Christina's appearance also has something wonderfully vintage about it:
while Joan radiates impenetrable glamour, Christina herself is even prettier – softer and fresher (and at 5ft 8in, taller than you expect), but still exuding the creamy voluptuousness that has caused fans of both sexes to sigh in disbelief.
Her full figure evokes concepts of beauty that are no longer current in the media. Words like "softer" and "creamy" (as a positive term for a girl's skin tone), are Victorian staples, but are seldom seen in print. If more plus-size goddesses were to achieve success in the media, these concepts would return as well.
Christina's own comments have a pro-curvy theme, as in her description of the designs of Vivienne Westwood:
As a woman with curves, I love that her clothes unapologetically celebrate women...
Apparently, Christina's own aesthetic tastes run towards maximalism, not minimalism, which is exactly as it should be, and she uses "old-fashioned" in an approving way:
I’m a big jewellery fan anyway – I love the fact that we have adorned ourselves like this for centuries. It’s such a ritualistic act.I moved to New York as a teenager when I started to model, and there was a restaurant called Il Buco which was filled with gothic-looking chandeliers that had weird apples and flames coming out of them. I’d been trying for years to get the owner, Donna, to sell one particular chandelier to me.What can you say about a man like that? He’s just so old-fashioned and kind and dreamy.
Of course, the comment that has been most widely publicized from this interview is the following. I hope it's true. But as I've indicated, there are many other aspects of this interview that are worth getting excited about:
It’s so bizarre that people are constantly asking if my breasts are real or fake,’ she adds. ‘They’re so obviously real that anyone who’s ever seen or touched a breast would know.’
There is as much of Joan Holloway in that comment as there is of Christina Hendricks.
Although, like everyone else, I wish that she were fuller-figured, Christina is clearly having a positive influence on the media. I only wish that there were more plus-size actresses like her, that she wasn't the only one. If some of today's most popular plus-size models (or actresses with their manner of goddesslike appearance) were to make a breakthrough in Hollywood, then you'd see the return of further traditional concepts of beauty, traces of which wonderfully permeate this Daily Mail interview.
26th May 2011, 06:15
There's always something a bit seamy about tabloid journalism. Nevertheless, if this TMZ picture is genuine - and I suppose that there's no reason to think it isn't - then perhaps Mrs. Hendricks is closer to being honestly full-figured than one might have believed, based on her thin arms and face. She may have womanly hips.
If so, then her success in Hollywood is all the more welcome. I hope that it will user in more curvy actresses - ideally, some of them being as gorgeous as everyone's favourite plus-size models.
29th May 2011, 07:43
Count on the Daily Mail to be on top of this. They, and the News of the World, published articles yesterday that featured a whole series of images of Christina in her swimsuit at Lake Como. Yes, these images do represent her figure, and yes, it turns out that she is, if not plus-size, then at least legitimately curvaceous.
Pity that the pictures are a bit...indiscreet, but they do verify Christina's curves. Let's hope that her success will pave the way for other fuller-figured actresses as well.
30th May 2011, 23:09
Also from the Daily Mail comes a marvellous article about Christina Hendricks by former Marie Claire editor Liz Jones, who recently penned a crucial denunciation (http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=2087) of the most recent British Fashion Week for its ongoing promotion of anorexia.
This article has an unambiguously pro-curvy slant worthy of the Judgment of Paris. However, as a professional writer. Ms. Jones approaches the topic with creative flair, using the conceit that curvaceous women are an endangered species.
Hurrah Christina! You've brought curves back from extinction
By Liz Jones
30th May 2011
Not since the Fifties has such a magnificent example of this female species — known to zoologists as the Lesser Spotted Voluptuous Goddess — been captured on film.
This is a beast feared to have been rendered extinct by the show-business world’s Weight Police. She is as rare these days as snow leopards in Kashmir.
Pale, big-bodied...and sporting the most mesmerising frontage — Ms Hendricks was a rare sight indeed when she stepped out of the swimming pool at her Lake Como hotel.Let me pause right there and mention how wonderful it is that Ms. Jones refers approvingly to Christina's "pale" skin - a natural aspect of Northern European beauty that is just as much suppressed by the modern media as is her "big-bodied" figure.
The article reminds viewers how extraordinarily rare it is to find an actress who is as curvaceous as the Mad Men starlet. Hopefully, the way in which Ms. Jones presents this fact will awaken readers to the realization that (a) such an appearance represents true feminine beauty, and (b) such an appearance is actively suppressed by the modern media.
Many, myself included, doubted we’d ever see the like again, convinced creatures like this had retreated into a permanent exile —made to feel unwanted and unloved by the modern world and its obsession with stick-thin limbs.
Now, joking aside, let’s think for a moment about how shocking most of us find this photograph of the Mad Men actress who, because of her curves, is lusted after by men all over the world. We never, ever see women like this — ie, curvy, natural and womanly — in the pages of magazines or on celebrity websites...
It is at times like this I wish I were still the editor of a glossy magazine — I would put red-haired Christina in all her voluptuous glory, completely unairbrushed and unadulterated, straight on to the cover.Yes! A thousand times yes. If the editors of the world's fashion glossies shared Ms. Jones's pro-plus attitude, then we would be seeing full-figured beauty on every magazine cover. Those of us who appreciate feminine curves must gain (or regain, depending on how you look at it) the cultural power that was seized by the proponents of androgynous modernity over the course of the 20th century.
The article indicates how, by suppressing the public visibility of natural feminine beauty, the media inverts normal and abnormal, and causes the majority of women to think that their own appearance is somehow "wrong, " while the unnatural standard that the media promotes is made to seem "correct."
Why? Because most British women look down at themselves in the privacy of their own bathrooms and this is exactly what they see: cellulite, fleshy thighs...
And because they don’t see their body reflected in any way in the images around them, they believe they are freaks who are just not trying hard enough to be normal, and therefore acceptable. They don’t deserve happiness, or a holiday, or to be loved. They have two choices: they must change themselves, or they must hide.
Another welcome aspect of the article is that it renounces the media myth that "health" is a consequence of starvation-torture:
And don’t even get me started on the idea Christina Hendricks is somehow unhealthier than a woman who is a size 8...She is normal.
She doesn’t want or need to live off nasty, sickly sweet, low-calorie Muller Light yogurts for the rest of her life. Slim isn’t the same as healthy.
We need f** in our diets to stave off depression, a link that has been clinically proven.
We need f** on our bodies to ensure our hormones are in balance and our bones are strong.
So I say hurrah for Christina Hendricks! Let’s hope this exposure doesn’t send her into hiding or, worse, make her even think about going on a diet — surely the unhealthiest choice she could ever make.
The article follows with another appreciative reference to Ms. Hendricks' fair complexion, along with a well-deserved slam of Vogue's insulting and offensive "Shape" issues:
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Christina, her curves and that wonderful, milky skin that has never been on the receiving end of a spray tan were to grace the cover of American Vogue — its all-important September fashion issue, not the annual, laughable ‘Shape’ issue, devoted to body image?
Ms. Jones underscores the reality that plus-size beauty is being aggressively suppressed by the media:
But, of course, magazines — and the super-powerful fashion designers they are in thrall to — are the modern-day equivalent of the big-game hunter: they want these beautiful bigger women to be extinct.
She identifies the financial motivation behind this suppression:
Just think how many industries would go bust if Marilyn Monroe were walking the planet today, held up as the epitome of female beauty instead of Cheryl Cole.
Everything from fake tans and cellulite cream to diet foods, slimming pills and exercise DVDs would themselves come under the threat of extinction...
Hendricks looks wonderful in Mad Men because she wears clothes based on the designs of those made in the early Sixties — a time when clothes were made to fit the body, not the body made to fit the clothes...
How much better we would all feel about ourselves if we had a few more images like the ones of Christina Hendricks to aspire to.
Remember how then-plus-size model Sophie Dahl caused headlines when she was first photographed on the catwalk? Women everywhere were rejoicing that the fuller figure was being celebrated at last.
Sadly, Sophie’s tummy has long gone the way of the Dodo and the Sabre Tooth Tiger. She’s lost so much weight that she’s now almost indistinguishable from any other svelte celeb.
The piece ends on a delightfully pro-indulgence note, boldly celebrating the generous appetite that any full-figured goddess must possess in order to develop full, womanly curves:
I truly hope that, right now, Christina is tucking into some delicious, creamy pasta dish, unbothered by the fuss over her physique.
Let’s hope she continues to revel in her curves and help breed a generation of copycat women who will at last believe that it is possible to be a star, to have men slavering over you, and above all to look wonderful in clothes, without having the appetite of a gnat and the dimensions of an umbrella spoke.
Liz Jones' article identifies how glaringly rare Christina's manner of beauty is in the media, but the article itself also serves as example of how rare it is to find an essay that speaks in this voice: one that celebrates the natural, well-fed female figure, one that denounces tanorexic modernity, one that enthuses over the uninhibited appetite of a plus-size goddess.
Just as we need more actresses like Christina Hendricks, so do we need more writers like Liz Jones to appreciate them. Only with a mixture of voluptuous images and pro-curvy text will the timeless ideal be restored.
11th June 2011, 15:12
I have a little something to add to this thread which may, at first, seem trite, but actually has positive implications.
Christina's name came up the other day in this bit of celebrity fluff.
The question that the page asks (don't laugh) is,
Who Does Cleavage Overspill Better — Kim Kardashian Or Christina Hendricks?
and it comes with a picture of Christina at her signature buxom best:
Now, sure it's just an inconsequential bit of entertainment PR, but it occurs to me that this piece isn't presenting the so-called "overspill" of flesh as something negative, nor as a flaw, but as a point of beauty, and sets up a comparison between two celebrities as to which one looks better with this feature -- with "overspilling" flesh.
Usually such comparisons are anti-plus in that such characteristics are deemed "flaws." Or when any points of beauty are compared, it's in size-negative ways, such as basically asking which actress appears more commendably emaciated.
But by treating "overspill," a visible appearance of full flesh that is characteristic of plus-size women (especially those even curvier than Christina), as something attractive, and even asking which of two actresses displays this attribute in a more attractive way, Hollywood is moving towards embracing the plus aesthetic.
After all, the Judgment of Paris celebrates the visible hallmarks of feminine fullness, such as curves along a model's back, or a rounded middle, or the "overspill" of flesh between low-rise pants and an abbreviated top. This little bit of celebrity fluff has the same idea: enthusing over a quality that is unique to women with at least a little fullness on their figures.
A tiny step, I'll admit, but still a shift from the usual anti-plus mindset.
Oh, and of course, the Daily Mail has a nice article about Christina's dress, with more images.
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