17th March 2012, 02:14
At last, Sealed with a Kiss has released its long-awaited Country Grace look book, and the results are even more breathtaking than one could have hoped for.
The landing page comes with a gorgeous image of Kelsey and Jenn together, with Kelsey looking angelic and Jenn showing off her luscious legs.
Here's the direct link to the look book. It's one of the most beautiful plus-size publications I've ever seen.
And as a final treat, SWAK has also released a full-length video of the shoot:
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/38194883?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0" width="690" height="388" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>
It can also be viewed at the SWAK video page:
Absolutely stunning pictures - perhaps the most beautiful of Kelsey's career, not to mention Michael Anthony's loveliest work, and an all-time high for Sealed with a Kiss.
17th March 2012, 09:30
<br>We cannot remember the last time that there has been so much anticipation prior to the release of a new campaign, but the results of "Country Grace" richly reward the build-up. The images are astoundingly gorgeous.
Kelsey's cover immediately transports the viewer to a halcyon dreamscape, a vision of earthly paradise. The way in which her violet gown flutters in the breeze makes it seem like the raiment of an angel. Indeed, the sensation of breezy motion in the image creates the impression that Kelsey is about to take flight, or that she has just alighted on the ground--one foot still slightly raised. Miss Olson's limbs flow like the fabric of her gown, as if she herself were as airy as the material of her dress. Her exquisitely fair skin tone, and the way in which the sunlight illuminates her golden hair, enhances the celestial effect. The rich verdure of the setting plays off of the model's purple dress for a vibrant contrast, the kind of complementary colour association that one often sees in nature, where violet flowers blossom from emerald-green stalks and leaves. Kelsey's floral hair adornment augments the impression of the model herself as a rich bloom amid the verdant landscape.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace01.png" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace01b.png" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>However, the most stunning image of the campaign, and the most gorgeous photograph that either Kelsey or Michael Anthony have ever created, is the following heartbreaking masterpiece, which is veritably a Pre-Raphaelite painting come to life. The picture is a window into a world of enchantment, a glimpse of a fantasy realm of pure beauty. In the midst of a woodland glen, Kelsey--a storybook princess out of Northern Europe's noble past--has alighted from her steed and allows her mount to enjoy the fresh grasses. The meadow exhibits clusters of pretty, white wildflowers which glow in the sunlight. The gown bares her rounded limbs and the soft flesh of her neck-and-shoulder area, showing her complexion to be the porcelain white idealized by medieval nobility. Observe how the curves of her arms and the set of her pretty foot match the contours of her equine companion. The horse itself is as beautiful as a stallion out of a Nordic legend, its pure off-white coat seemingly gleaming with its own divine radiance. The image blends the Germanic concept of the Valkyrie with the romance idea of an angelic princess, thus softening the former myth and adding energy to the latter conception.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace02.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace02a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>The title of this campaign could not have been better chosen. "Country Grace" implies a harmonious blending of elements both rustic and elegant, qualities which every page in the look book emphatically displays. If the previous two images highlighted the graceful aspect of the promotion, then the following photograph introduces a tad more countrified earthiness, with Kelsey's buxom fleshiness abundantly on display, thanks to the plunging décolletage of her purple gown. (These are by far the loveliest garments that Sealed with a Kiss has ever produced.) Miss Olson still appears delicate and feminine, but now also displays the robust heartiness of her well-fed physique, her complexion being the milk-fed hue exhibited by farm girls in the Old World as in the New. The pink chair is a well-chosen prop, its hue complementing the purple gown and playing off of the rich greenery of the background.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace03.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace03b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Kelsey's standing pose is graceful and balletic. Her hair gently flows by the side of her face in an attractively loose, natural manner. The dress is a lovely item, baring the model's soft limbs and generous voluptuousness. The emerald meadow under Kelsey's feet, and the trim orchard off in the background, offer a rich colour complement to the deep plum hue of her gown. Even the footwear conforms to the "country grace" motif, being at once feminine (high-heeled) yet compose of a tawny animal hide.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace04.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace04b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Regular readers of this forum will find the next two images rather familiar, as they closely approximate the preview pictures that Michael Anthony <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=2416" target="_blank">released</a> several weeks ago to build anticipation for this shoot. These particular takes are, however, a tad superior, which is undoubtedly why they were selected for publication. Kelsey stretches her limbs to fill the doorway, while her gaze has a distant, yearning look. The image is conceptually quite clever, indicating a sense of struggling against confines, of pressing against framing limitations, with Kelsey creating the persona of a breathtakingly gorgeous farm girl growing up isolated in the faraway heartland, who dreams of bigger things and greater destinies for herself.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace05.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace05b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>A closer look finds Kelsey with a different gaze, yet exuding a similar emotion--a sense of longing, of what the German Romantics call <i>Sehnsucht.</I> The pose accentuates the fullness of the arm on which she gently rests. The dress is attractive, and comes in a beautiful hue (purple colours of every description being the favourite of the Judgment of Paris). The necklace has an earthen, almost organic look, while the bracelets, with their golden lustre, appear more aristocratic. This pair of images offer an interesting variant on the "Country Grace" title of the campaign. If we contrast the persona that Kelsey creates in these two photos--a beautiful farm girl who wants much more than her provincial life--with the aristocratic enchantress whom she embodies the first pair of photos, then one can easily imagine a traditional narrative in which a princess and a rural maiden meet and discover that they have an uncanny likeness. One is the "country" girl; the other, "her grace" (a frequent title for a crowned monarch). Thereupon, the two trade places, with the farm maiden inhabiting the life of the aristocrat and the princess living in the rustic sphere.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace06.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace06b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>While many of Kelsey's images in this look book exude limitless grace, the following photograph is all country, showing Miss Olson wearing a simple yet pretty turquoise top which effectively sets off her fair complexion. Her hair accessories underscore the rustic character of the image: unlike the richly cultivated blooms that adorn her tresses in the first images in this thread, here she wears pretty wildflowers that seem to have been plucked from the earth just a moment beforehand. Unlike the sculpted updo of the initial pictures, here her tresses exhibit a measured messiness that is just as enchanting. The model skillfully tailors her mien to the respective characters of the pictures: stately and ethereal in the first photos, casual and fancy-free in this image. This is the only look in the campaign for which Kelsey dons jeans rather than a dress.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace07.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace07b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>The following photograph is a remarkable presentation of Miss Olson's beauty, showing how big and blue her doll-like eyes appear, and how perfect is the shape of her kissable mouth, with its luscious red lips. Yet observe how Kelsey creates a wholly different character, just by altering her demeanour. In this close-up (the final page of the look book), she wears the same wildflowers, the same casual top, as in the previous image, yet her persona is entirely different--now noble and majestic, hauntingly beautiful. Continuing with the narrative of the two girls who resemble one another, the rustic maiden who trades places with the princess, the previous photograph shows the "country girl" in this outfit, while the following photograph shows "her grace," the high-born young lady, similarly adorned. Their visages are identical, yet their characters set them apart.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace08.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace08a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Prior to seeing the images, if one had imagined a look book comprising the work of both Kelsey Olson and Jenn Purviance, one might have thought that Kelsey would cover the "grace" component, while Jenn would be adept at the "country" aspect, given their blonde/brunette contrast. Yet as the images show, the models exhibit equal facility at generating both rustic and elegant looks. The following picture shows the pair happily enjoying the great outdoors. The emerald verdure of the background richly plays off of Jenn's violet sweater, while her buxom voluptuousness harmonizes with the luscious fertility of the setting, together creating a harmonious impression of bountiful, natural beauty. The models' loose, lazy updos are extremely pretty, especially given the complementary way in which they wear blossoms in their hair--Kelsey's being appropriately light-coloured, in keeping with her fair tresses, and Jenn's a rich purple to match her outfit and the opulence of her physique. Who doesn't dream of living in a world inhabited by well-fed goddesses such as these?<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace09.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace09a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>As it turns out, Jenn Purviance is the "discovery" of this campaign, and one must applaud SWAK for selecting such a generously proportioned model to appear in this, its finest-ever promotion, alongside Kelsey. Far from being overshadowed by the blonde supermodel, Jenn more than holds her own, and provides a fine aesthetic complement to her famous peer. Indeed, the following picture is the most size-positive, pro-curvy image of the look book, an alluring celebration of the model's luscious thighs and womanly hips. The photograph has a feeling of glorious abundance, aided by the fact that Jenn appears so comfortable with her well-fed physique. The model exhibits a real sense of weight, a seductive physicality that is irresistible.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace16.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace16b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>If Kelsey's pictures are gentle and ethereal, then Jenn's are lavishly physical and fleshy. Much as Kelsey veritably personifies a flower blossom in the cover image of the look book, so Jenn embodies a succulent citrus fruit in this vibrant orange dress, so effectively photographed by Michael Anthony, who recorded just the right moment when a warm breeze wafted the fabric and gave the dress motion. The dress exposes Jenn's luscious arms and lavish voluptuousness, as well as baring her gorgeous legs--perhaps the finest legs of any working plus-size model.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace10.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace10b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Every individual involved in creating these images deserves applause for their overall success. The model herself is the key, of course--the curve under her chin being an irresistibly sensual feature, and her generous hips forming the dress into a curvaceous, womanly shape. The model's hairstyle is pure goddess, an opulent, romantic arrangement of her thick, luxuriant tresses. The turquoise necklace and bracelet, as well as the yellow flower in her hair, are ideal accessories for enhancing the look--the former creating a rich colour contrast, the latter adding to the juicy citrus feeling of the ensemble.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace11.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace11b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>The next image shows more brilliance from Jenn and Michael Anthony, with the model deftly opening up her skirt to give it movement, and the photographer catching just the right moment when the fabric curls into a pleasing, rounded shape. The vibrant, fuchsia hue stands out richly against the white structure behind her, its weatherbeaten look adding to the appeal of the image, giving it a rustic, homespun character.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace12.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace12b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Jenn has worked for companies such as Torrid in the past, but one is amazed at how much more attractive she appears in this new SWAK campaign than in her previous shoots. She seems to have blossomed into richer proportions, and the added beauty greatly enhances her effectiveness as a plus-size model. This pink gown lovingly embraces her sumptuous physique, accentuating her abundant décolletage. The fullness in her facial features is highly becoming, while the floral hair adornment injects the requisite "country" element into these images of a very graceful dress. Her physique exhibits an attractively untoned appearance.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace13.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace13b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>We trust that readers have been attending to the poetic captions with which SWAK has adorned many of the page in this look book. The statement accompanying the follwing image is especially instructive. "<i>How a cowgirl wears lace</I>" underscores the theme of the campaign--uniting countrified (cowgirl) with graceful (lace) elements. The dress is exquisitely lovely, and extremely flattering on Jenn's magnificent figure, defining her substantial voluptuousness and baring her gorgeous legs. The model's pose is particularly effective--a lazy, languorous stance that is very sensual and enhances the romantic qualities of the lacy apparel. Jenn create the persona of a ripe, luscious young woman veritably waiting to be ravished--or rather, teasing her countless admirers into thinking so, while she toys with their hearts. The animal-hide accessories--the boots and the belt--play off of the lacy dress, uniting romantic and rustic elements in an exciting manner. Note how Michael Anthony skilfully uses the shed as a dark frame for setting off the ivory dress. The horse in the background offers an added romantic touch.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace14.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace14b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>The final image provides a closer look, showing in greater detail the very pretty fabric of the dress. The model's dark, vain expression is most arresting, a blend of voluptuous passion and indolent lassitude. The luscious, berry-red lip colour stands out vividly against the earth tones of the image, drawing attention to the model's mouth and injecting another sensual element into the picture. Usually one dislikes wider belts on plus-size models, preferring the thinner variety, but in this case, the belt creates an exciting tension in the image, with how it presses into the model's physique, creating the sense that it is only barely keeping the model's curves under control--just as she can barely keep her voluptuous passions in check--and engaging the viewer's interest in how opulent her figure might be if it were unrestrained.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace15.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/swak/grace15b.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Congratulations to everyone involved in this absolutely outstanding look book--truly one of the finest publications the plus-size industry has ever produced, equal to any magazine editorial we have ever seen.
This is unquestionably a high-water mark for the celebrated model/photographer pairing of Kelsey Olson and Michael Anthony, representing some of their all-time-best work--and in the two-page photograph of Kelsey as a princess alongside her noble steed, the most beautiful single image of Miss Olson's career to date, a masterpiece of timeless beauty.
Brave also to Jenn Purviance, whose images in this campaign are by far the finest of her career. If she retains her current appearance, richer and fuller than in her past images, she will certainly be a talent to watch. As a model who possesses both of the necessary traits of true plus-size models--gorgeous <i>and</I> visibly full-figured--her potential for success is limitless.
Too often confined to a studio, Michael Anthony truly comes into his own when he gets the opportunity to shoot on location. The images in this look book are visual wonders, and many exhibit an unprecedented degree of size celebration matched with lyrical, poetic beauty. His eye is faultless, his lens unerringly identifying just the right moment to immortalize a glimpse of visual wonder.
And above all, kudos to Sealed with a Kiss and Sarah, the company's creative director, for making all of this magic possible. The SWAK dresses are, of course, absolutely gorgeous and highly flattering on full-bodied goddesses. But beyond that, for the company to have the vision and will to assemble such a perfect creative team and shoot this promotion in such an enchanting location is truly remarkable. The decision to conscious eschew the urban bent of modern fashion for a rural theme, which is ideally suited as a backdrop for traditional, full-figured beauty, was utterly inspired.
Beautifully done, one and all.
(Click images to view larger.)
- <a href="http://www.swakdesigns.com/plus-size/s-79-country-grace.aspx" target="_blank">"Country Grace" styles available at SWAK online</a>
18th March 2012, 04:52
I am absolutely floored by the beauty of this lookbook. The plus-size industry has produced numerous memorable campaigns over the past few months, including Sophie Sheppard for Penningtons, Hayley B. for Glamour Plus, as well as Katherine Roll's breathtaking tests with Stanley Debas and Patrick Brassard. But SWAK's Country Grace publication may be the most gorgeous of them all. Certainly each of these shoots has constituted an ideal presentation of plus-size beauty.
I've never seen Kelsey looking lovelier than in the image of her accompanied by the pony. I want that as a poster! The dress is truly fit for a princess, which is what she looks like. I also love the cover image, with her gown fluttering in the breeze. And Jenn's figure is so luscious, so full- I too hope that she will keep her richer curves, because all of the clothing looks great on her body.
Amazing photography by Michael Anthony. Words cannot express how much the beautiful location adds to the shots. And I adore the accessories, like the flowers in the hair. The pictures are so warm, so atmospheric- and so pro-curvy.
There's one more must-see photo to share, and that's the masterpiece that currently adorns the SWAK cover page. Kelsey looks gorgeous in this lilac dress, so ethereal sitting in the meadow. Her flesh is soft and fair.
The neckline accentuates her voluptuousness. It's such a romantic picture, like something out of a dream.
Michael Anthony has also publicly shared an extra image of the two models together. Very evocative, with the tall trees in the background, although I prefer the natural colour scheme to any filtering.
SWAK has also sent out an e-mail promotion featuring one of Jenn's images. The text is very poetic, effectively capturing the spirit of the images.
I am simply in love with everything about Country Grace. XOXO to Sealed with a Kiss for this heavenly treat.
22nd March 2012, 13:10
Everyone who loves this lookbook (and I utterly adore it) should definitely keep an eye on the SWAK page which features the fashions that adorn the publication.
Sealed with a Kiss has posted several further images from the shoot to accompany the product pages.
The Anastasia Maxi Dress is the star of the lookbook, appearing on the cover and in the unforgettable image of Kelsey alongside the beautiful horse. The product page includes another variation on the cover image. I prefer the one that was chosen for the cover, but this is gorgeous as well.
Kelsey wears the Lily Cardigan on the back cover of the lookbook, in a closely cropped image that focuses on her lovely face. The product page features the compete photo:
This is the most exciting discovery of all. SWAK calls the lacy item that Jenn wears while walking through the orchard a "Kim Dress, Vintage" and the product page has a photo of her in the gown that is even more beautiful than any of the look book pictures, as it shows off her very full, luscious legs.
Also, while this may be a studio image, it's well worth admiring Jenn's figure in the reverse-view photo showing her wearing the Anastasia Wrap Dress, which, true to its name, wraps lovingly close to her body and shows off her attractively full, fleshy arms.
I simply cannot get enough of this look book, nor of the curve-adorning dresses it features, nor of the gorgeous models who wear them.
29th March 2012, 19:51
Sealed with a Kiss has released another outtake from the shoot, this one featuring Jenn looking very curvy in thigh-defining denim. I still prefer the image that was published in the look book, but this photo is captivating as well.
Full size: http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/470884_10150645707803450_57836938449_9420036_240252324_o.jpg
Also, SWAK has offered a preview of its forthcoming summer styles, and I'm delighted to see that Kelsey will be modelling them! Here she is in one of the selection, an item with a colourful print:
Larger. Kelsey's hairstyle is very elegant for this shoot.
Also, here's Kelsey's own Instagram picture of the shoot, which offers a different perspective on the dress.
Absolutely ravishing -- but I miss the gorgeous location, the sunlight, the orchard, and the horse. SWAK has now spoiled us all, and everyone will be hoping for their next amazing location shoot with Kelsey.
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