View Full Version : Valerie: The Glass House (Zay Clothing)

30th April 2011, 22:35
<br>Zay Clothing's biannual photoshoots with Valerie Lefkowitz are invariably fascinating and unique. Although this season's promotion does not offer, say, a segue into a discussion of the castles of the Rhine, as did last season's <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=2103" target="_blank">campaign</a>, it is nevertheless a compelling visual experience, one that demonstrates how the hallmarks of high-fashion photography can be reconciled with timeless beauty.

We have pulled the following images from the company's seasonal <a href="http://www.zizzi.dk/en-GB/Zizzi-Magazine/Spring-2011.aspx" target="_blank">custom magazine</a>, where the pictures have been given an editorial treatment. The result is a story that looks as if it had been published in <i>Vogue</I> or <i>Elle,</I> except with a gorgeous, full-figured model rather than an androgynous anorexic.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay25.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay25a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>The title spread offers a fine view . . . (of Valerie's curvaceous figure). Although the dress is loose, the model's womanly body forms it into a seductive shape. Her limbs display an agreeable trace of fullness, and the twilight panorama of Los Angeles stretching off into the distance behind her endows the image with drama. The title of the editorial is well chosen, for the "Girl On Top" caption juxtaposed with the sight of Valerie perched on this plateau implies the model's dominance over the entire city. The image is a fine update of the notion of Greek gods looking down upon humanity from atop Mount Olympus. Surely in the Classical age, a similarly well-fed Venus would have gazed down upon the mere mortals who worshipped her from afar.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay25.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay25b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>When her figure is in its fuller phases, Valerie possesses perhaps the most gorgeous legs of any model in the industry. In this image, she touches those full limbs in a seductive manner, as if caressing them. This generates in the viewer a subconscious desire for similar tactile engagement, and suggests how sensually vain she is, adoring her own physique and gazing intently at the viewer to gauge the effect that the sight of her legs is having upon him. The vista that opens up behind her infuses the image with an epic sense of scale.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay30.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay30a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>For those who may be wondering about the location, it is a famous L.A. home dubbed "Case Study House #22." Although it is rather more modern than one might wish, its cliff-top setting is unmatched, and the glass walls create a sense of openness. Notice how the slight tint of the glass harmonizes with the still, reflective water of the turquoise pool.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay22.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay22a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Valerie's innate beauty enriches every image in which she appears, even in cases where the clothing does not define the curves of her figure. The skyline in the background continues the "girl-on-top" theme, underscoring how her aristocratic beauty makes her superior to the common run of humanity who worship at her feet.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay22.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay22c.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Another seductive image shows the model in a recumbent state, stretching forth her shapely legs as if she were deliberately displaying them, knowing that their rounded fullness would prove irresistible to any viewer and would make any suitor desire her most desperately. The top is loose, but displays attractive trim at the neckline. Valerie is a specialist in sweet, doll-like looks, but she is every bit as captivating when she allows her carnal side to come forth, as it does in this editorial.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay26.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay26a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>The most seductive aspect of Miss Lefkowitz's figure is, and always has been, her generous hips. She has ever been the definitive pear-shaped model, and this image takes advantage of that fact, with her womanly proportions shaping her top into a sensual outline. For all of the luxurious weight that the image implies, the model appears to be floating in the heavens, her raiment trailing from her fingers, the sun gilding he tresses--truly a goddess, albeit garbed in contemporary clothing. The pool is like one of the world's oceans beneath her feet, the city but a child's model. Such is the power of timeless femininity, for compared to the opulence of her beauty, the earth and is but an insignificant plaything, its teeming millions all subordinate to her aristocratic will.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay27.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay27a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Another photograph of the model in a recumbent state shows her lounging indolently by the poolside, allowing the sun to bathe her in a gentle light, her golden tresses catching its rays. The clothing is a tad formless, but Valerie is sufficiently buxom to endow the top with a voluptuous outline. The setting may be contemporary, but one can easily imagine Aphrodite herself sitting in like manner by an idyllic brook in Arcadia. Images of plus-size models in leisurely states such as this are highly sensual, as they suggest the languid nature of the goddesses, their antipathy to any exertion, and their love of ease and repose.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay31.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay31b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Zay Clothing deserves particular praise for so openly celebrating Valerie's hips in many of its images. Far from trying to hide or disguise her gorgeous curves, the pictures accentuate the model's womanliness, even where the clothing is otherwise a tad loose. This photograph is especially effective in this regard. The model's pose adds to the emphasis, while the composition places her betwixt the earth and the sky. The touch of greenery in the background is most welcome, breaking up the otherwise urban landscape.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay29.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay29a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Another image by the poolside shows Valerie adopting one of her most consciously seductive expressions while she pours herself into her chair. The only shortcoming of this image, and for that matter of the entire series, is the obvious colour grading. The photographs were undoubtedly even prettier with their natural hues, without the teal/tan colour distortion.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay28.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay28a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>The final image in the layout offers another view of Valerie with the cityscape stretching into the distance behind her. This company has always been effective at wardrobe styling, and the decorative necklaces, as well as the lace-trimmed blouse beneath the shirt, add a welcome touch of femininity and embellishment to the outfit.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay32.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay32a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>In addition to Valerie's layout, one other spread in the Zizzi magalog is worth a view: this two-page celebration of full-figured celebrities (some deserving the honour more than others). How interesting to see Emme identified by her original (married) name, "Melissa Aronson."<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay23.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay23a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>The most gorgeous of these voluptuous vixens is, of course, the legendary Anita Ekberg, looking well-fed and deliciously buxom in an immortal still from <i>La dolce Vita.</I> The Zizzi copywriter obviously enjoyed the opportunity to pen a tribute to Anita, in prose that would not be out of place at the Judgment of Paris:
Perhaps the most famous and curviest actress ever. The Swedish sex symbol rejoiced in her curves and became a role model for millions of women worldwide. Even when Anita put on quite some weight in the '70s, she continued to live off her glamourous image as a woman in complete harmony with her body, and in 1979 she even posed nude for a photo shoot.The idea of a "sex symbol" feeling that her beauty entitles her to eat whatever she wants and as much as she wants, secure in the knowledge that she is irresistible, is the epitome of female seductiveness. To set Anita's image alongside the magazine's stunning photos of Valerie Lefkowitz was a fine move on the part of Zay Clothing. One only wishes that the company had shot Valerie in a similar black dress . . . and standing in the Trevi Fountain . . . and exhibiting the "wet look," her skin bedewed with moisture.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay24.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/vl/zizzi/zay24a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Kudos to Zay Clothing for producing another gorgeous campaign and for celebrating its model's womanly proportions. And bravo to Valerie for recovering a smidgen of her once-opulent curves. Goddess that she is, if she were ever to regain the fullness that she once possessed, her beauty would once again be measureless.

- <a href="http://www.zizzi.dk/en-GB/Collection/Zay.aspx" target="_blank">Zay Clothing</a>