Renaissance of the blonde
How fascinating (and unexpected) to see that the recession appears to be having a positive influence on the culture.
Previous posts have noted that both femininity and the fuller-figured ideal are making a comeback during the economic downturn.
A new article in The Times notes another favourable development -- the return of the golden-haired, fair-eyed look (which was associated with the fuller female figure in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Victorian Era, and every other past century of Western cultural history).
Here are the choice excerpts:
It's humorous to hear the writer describe the opposite of the timeless ideal as "quirky." What that "quirky" look really should be called, frankly, is ugly. So the return of the fair (and fuller-figured) ideal is, truly, a return to genuine feminine beauty.
But I was fascinated that the article mentioned the significance of the fair ideal in fairy-tales and folklore. The writer makes a greater nod to Western cultural history than journalists often do, and she does so without a modern left-wing political bias. It's encouraging to see.
Also notable is the point in the article that "it isn’t easy to find a fabulous-looking blonde, as you need someone quite classy looking”. This is so true in the plus-size industry as well. There are quite a few blondes, but only a very few whose look is truly timeless, like Kelsey Olson, Charlotte Coyle, Chloe Agnew, Valerie Lefkowitz, Justine, Kailee (when she is in her blonde phase), and the loveliest of all, Shannon Marie.
I hope this means that models like Kelsey will be more visible in the near future.
Re: Renaissance of the blonde (article)
I like the fact that the article describes this as the "renaissance" of the blonde, especially given the posts on this forum that have demonstrated how the fair-featured look was idealized in the Renaissance, and in other eras:
I especially love this passage in the article:
I'm also fascinated by the many terms that the article uses to describe the characteristics of fair-haired beauties:
-"zingy and upbeat"
-"appealing to a lot of tastes, it’s a classically beautiful look"
-"forces of good, honesty and trust"
-"bathed in radiance and light"
-"wholesome-looking girls with flaxen manes who will reassure rather than shock the consumer"
It's encouraging to see the above qualities being presented as desirable, as something that the fashion industry is now actively pursuing. For too long fashion was concerned with the opposite. It explicitly wanted to be "threatening," to "shock" the public with ugliness/edginess and UNwholesomeness in the extreme (think "heroin chic"), until "shock" itself became tired and shopworn and cliche.
Now the qualities of being "wholesome," the "forces of good, honesty and trust" are being celebrated again. It's an encouraging sign, and I hope that this marks an overall turn in the culture.
Re: Renaissance of the blonde (article)
The article is truly refreshing. The point that it makes about the timeless idealization of fair beauty is, of course, very true.
Whenever one revisits the classic fairy-tales (as they were originally told--before the modern media began warping them), one finds that the heroines are invariably flaxen-haired, fair-eyed beauties, with abundant, flowing tresses.
The is true even of characters who have, in the modern age, been depicted otherwise. Few people know this, but while the magnificent dream factory of Walt Disney ultimately changed Snow White into a brunette for the eponymous film, in the original sketches Schneewittchen was depicted as a blonde.
She had the kind of soft, rounded, childlike facial features that epitomize timeless beauty.
There is historical precedent for this, of course. Schneewittchen was traditionally depicted with fair tresses--as seen, for example, in this print reproduction of a 19th-century wall painting (destroyed in the war) that used to exist in Drachenburg Castle, along the Rhine, showing a fair Snow White with her attendant dwarves.
The recurrence of this look is too universal to be merely a convention. It speaks of something deep within the human heart--an innate appreciation of fair features as betokening wonderful, almost magical qualities, a kind of beauty so compelling that it invites an appreciation that is more than merely physical, but engages the imagination and the spirit as well.
it’s a classically beautiful look. The association with blonde hair goes back to childhood: we associate these characteristics with forces of good, honesty and trust.
However, the article also identifies a persistent limitation in fashion-industry thinking. While the industry's pursuit of "wholesome-looking girls with flaxen manes who will reassure rather than shock the consumer" is commendable, fashion fails to realize that nothing is more shocking (adversely so) than images of obviously emaciated models.
a woman who is more curvy and facially engaging is what people find reassuring,
healthy bodies encourage us in turn to thrive.
The article admirably intimates the traditional association of soft, feminine fullness with the flaxen look. Writers like Charlotte Bronte and Kate Chopin refer to this association in their novels. Many blonde beauties have a natural tendency towards sweetly seductive greediness and alluring self-indulgence, which helps them to develop attractively rounded limbs, generous waists, and overall plump figures.
If the fashion industry, or any part of it, has finally recognized the wrong-headedness of selecting models merely to offend the bourgeoisie, and is seeking girls "who will reassure rather than shock the consumer," then it should embrace models who, besides possessing fair beauty, exhibit full features and buxom figures as well. Those are the girls who connect with the public, because their beauty brings to life our fondest dreams and deepest longings.
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