View Full Version : Can we love Figure again?

16th May 2006, 15:31
<br>The question is: Can <i>Figure</i> magazine win back readers' hearts?

Maybe--just maybe.

If <i>Mode</i> was like a non-stop romance that only ended with the tragic death of the beloved, then <i>Figure</i> is like a relationship that suffered a divorce, but now appears poised for a reconciliation.

Prior to its debut, <i>Figure</i> raised the hopes of countless plus-size beauty aficionados that it might become the next <i>Mode,</i> then quickly alienated every proponent of size celebration by running diet ads and body-shame stories.

At one point, it even seemed that <i>Figure</i> might be mending its ways, only to relapse into weight-loss propaganda.

But have things finally changed at <i>Figure</i>--for the better?

Let's hope so.

This is the second issue in a row in which <i>Figure</i> has not run any diet promotions. It is also the second issue in a row featuring the gorgeous Anna Loukachenets (Irene Marie, size 14/16) in a fine layout, one which emphatically deserves attention.

The spread is called "Worldly Impressions," photographed by Rose Callahan, with (stunning) hair and makeup by Joe Simon. And frankly, <i>Mode</i> itself would have been proud to run such an editorial--especially because Anna is a <i>Mode</i>-worthy model, if ever there was one.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna/figure11.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna/figure11a.jpg" border="0" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center></p>The layout has a distinctly Orientalist quality, which the photographer achieves with warm, rich hues and moody lighting, as well as an ornate setting of Turkish carpets, wood screens, and cushy sofas. It all provides a highly appropriate environment for the exotic-themed apparel that is on display, and for Anna herself--a more irresistible Odalisque than any Orientalist painter ever imagined.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna/figure12.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna/figure12a.jpg" border="0" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center></p>Below is the most breathtaking image of Anna in the layout, who is achieving ever-greater recognition as one of the most remarkably attractive models in the industry--and a legitimately curvaceous one at that. In her, <i>Figure</i> has found a "star" of the kind that can bring readers back issue after issue, hoping to see her latest work.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna/figure13.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna/figure13a.jpg" border="0" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center></p>The ultra-feminine hair and makeup contribute much to the effectiveness of the editorial. Anna's tresses have been given a romantic wave and golden accents, and the makeup is highly dramatic, but intentionally beautiful rather than experimental. The result is a rich, luxurious look that is perfectly suited to Anna's soft, rounded facial features, and harmonizes with the exotic theme of the layout.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna/figure10.jpg"></center><p>The same team that created "Worldly Impressions" also contributed a two-page accessories editorial to this issue of <i>Figure.</i> It is equally attractive, and although Anna's images in it are small, they are demure and lovely.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna/figure08.jpg"></center><p>Lavish accessories are perfect adornments for plus-size beauty, as they naturally compliment the opulent splendour of a soft, full look. Exotic-looking items such as these also have a folkloric quality that underscores the timeless nature of curvaceous femininity.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna/figure09.jpg"></center><p>All in all, <i>Figure</i> deserves considerable praise for this issue, which, on the strength of Anna's editorials, is one of its best to date. There are several other notable layouts in the issue, with popular models such as Ivana and Tomi, along with a number of interesting articles.

To its great credit, <i>Figure</i> has never faltered in its commitment to using true plus-size models (size 14 and up). In this way, it has actually surpassed <i>Mode,</i> which suffered a precipitous drop in reader approval as its models diminished in size. Overall, the quality of <i>Figure</i>'s imagery is better than it was when the magazine debuted.

The principal factor that was holding <i>Figure</i> back, and alienating aficionados of timeless beauty, was its incomprehensible and offensive use of diet promotion. But if the magazine has finally changed its advertising policies, and is committed to delivering a positive message of size celebration, rather than a mixed message of body-shame, then perhaps <i>Figure</i> can rekindle a love affair with its readers, and win back their hearts.

(You can click on several of the above images to view them at a larger size.)<p>- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/anna.htm" target="_blank">Anna Loukachenets galleries</a>

16th May 2006, 16:35
I've admired Anna from the time of her first Laura Plus work, but I think she looks even more stunning in this editorial than before. It would be nice to see her in more campaigns. I also appreciate the fact that this layout has a "theme". Too many of Figure's editorials seem to be shot in bare studios. Putting the clothing in a visual context, especially an attractive one, really adds so much. I like the shell-colored sleeveless top, and I'm glad that the stylist matched these blouses with skirts instead of pants.

The inclusion of diet ads in Figure was an obscenity. Good riddance! I hope they're gone for good, this time. Maybe I'll start paying attention to the magazine again.

18th May 2006, 16:50
The banishment of diet ads (if it holds true) is very good news indeed. And what a stunning layout. It reminds me of an exotic Kate Dillon hairstyles editorial that once appeared in Mode. That gorgeous third image should have been a Figure cover. Anna is a goddess.

I looked through the rest of this issue, and it was quite good. Some of the pictorials were a little basic, but the consistent use of size-14+ models is enough to win my loyalty.

On the other hand, I just completed a reader survey for Figure magazine. I don't know what to think of it. It showed a projected future cover with a slightly different text design. I loved the cover captions, such as "celebrating the plus-size woman," "sexy plus-size fashion," and other affirmative tags. But the cover was a little on the dull side, with a bare white background and a cover image that looked a little matronly I didn't recognize the model.

The recipe is simply: keep the 14+ models, do not bring back diet ads, raise the bar a little on the editorial glamour, maintain a fashion/beauty focus (with some lifestyle content, like travel and culture, but not enough to overpower it), and maintain a celebratory, positive tone (no mixed messages), and this is all the magazine I need.