Kailee: Zay Clothing, F/W 2009
It is a great pity not to see Karen Vermeiren modelling Zizzi's ZJ line this season. However, aficionados of plus-size beauty can take comfort in the fact that Kailee O'Sullivan is showcasing the Danish company's sister line, Zay Clothing, in a series of chic and fascinating images.
Being a fall/winter campaign, and being for a European label, the images predictably show little or nothing of Kailee's figure. However, they do have a great deal of class, and a distinctively European atmosphere. They appear to have been shot at a 19th-century train station--and as anyone who has travelled through Europe will know, train stations are one of the most distinctive features of the continent.
Notice, in this image, the ornate ironwork, and the cobblestone platform beneath Kailee's feet. Both features immediately transport the viewer to the 1800s--the century that marked the pinnacle of Western civilization, a time when the train network spread throughout Europe like a circulatory system. Although the train was a technological creation, the artistic inclinations of the time meant that even the most modern materials that were involved in the production of its engines and stations--like iron--were wrought into decorative, sculptural forms.
In this image in particular, note how the ironwork is shaped into rounded arches, which soar over Kailee's head like the vaulting of a Gothic cathedral. Note too the Fachwerk (half-timbered) building in the background, behind the tracks. In every way (except the clothing), these images transport the viewer to a more elegant century than our own.
And of course, Kailee's beauty perfectly suits the setting, for in the 1800s, her soft, round-faced, feminine look would have been universally recognized as embodying the feminine ideal.
If we come in close, we see the adorable roundness of her face, as well as her fair complexion. The ornament in the hair adds a wonderfully unmodern, elegant touch.
In this campaign, Kailee took the opportunity to shoot in an Old World setting as a chance to experiment with a whole range of new looks and emotions, all of which perfectly suit the theme of the promotion, and invite narrative interpretations. Here, for example, she appears every bit the young maiden in travelling attire, waiting for her train. She fixes the viewer with an unmistakable look of invitation, which makes him weak in the knees.
As the most Romantic of plus-size models, Kailee's finest expressions are the ones in which she shows the deepest feeling. Here, she projects a look of longing--or Sehnsucht, as the poets put it.
Coming in close, we see the vulnerability in the model's eyes. Is she waiting for someone to arrive? Is she yearning for something more intangible--for sensation, fulfillment, adventure? The floral accessory emphasizes her femininity. Her facial features look gorgeously round, and that fair complexion, with a gentle flush, makes her seem irresistibly delicate and in need of protection.
Another narrative masterpiece by Kailee is the following image, in which she gazes off dreamily through a window, while the light coming in from outside bathes her face in a gentle glow. The hairstyle is utterly enchanting, with the hair scarf tying back her tresses into a captivating style.
Just look at the heart-stopping beauty of Kailee's face. This image is far more sensual than the previous two "Romantic" looks, for here the viewer sees the most alluring of all facial features, the soft curve under the model's chin. Also, Kailee's cheeks--as ruddy as a ripe peach--look hotly flushed. One imagines that they would be warm to the touch. Observe the intensity of the model's gaze. Who else could exhibit such a soulful expression? One wonders what feelings the model might be experiencing to display such passion.
Perhaps to give viewers a chance to collect themselves, Kailee also created several smiling looks for this campaign, looks that nevertheless fit the theme of the shoot. Here, the model regards the viewer in a more playful manner, with a tip of her hat, and even displays her shapely legs.
This eye-catching photo shows Miss O'Sullivan descending a flight of stairs. As ever, a camera position that compels the viewer to look up at the model seems especially appropriate, establishing her as a goddess who is subtly but indisputably above her admirers, existing on a higher plane than they.
A closer viewer presents us with the most sensual image of the entire promotion, a celebratory display of the plump curve under Kailee's chin. The soft swell of this facial feature emphasizes the roundness of the model's face, making her appear doll-like and opulently feminine. Adding still further to the allure of the picture is the seductive black ribbon around the model's bare neck, which draws attention to the intoxicating fullness of her visage.
The final look of the campaign is the most casual and relaxed, a quiet coda that allows the music to trail off after the crescendos that have preceded it. Kailee looks down, slightly flushed, in an affected modesty over the admiration that she is given by all who see her--affected modesty because she knows full well that this demeanour only increases her attractiveness, and makes her worshippers that much more eager to shower her with the praise that is her due.
In addition to the photos posted above, Zay Clothing has hinted at one more image of Kailee that it will soon release--the cutest, most adorable picture of all--and that is the image that will grace the cover of the company's biannual custom magazine. This publication has not yet been issued, but here is a preview, with Kailee looking completely enchanting. The cover copy, which reads Vaer dig selv, means "Be yourself."
Fans deeply regret Karen Vermeiren's absence from this season's ZJ promotion, since Karen's campaigns for this company have been some of the most size-positive and memorable ever to come out of Europe. But Kailee's new work for the Zay line is captivating. The Old World setting was a terrific choice, and the model compellingly exhibited a range of new looks and expressions, each more intriguing than the last.
You can view larger versions of each of these images on the "collection" page at Zizzi.dk, or at a truly enormous size in the "downloads" section of the site (both of which are linked below):
Re: Kailee: Zay Clothing, F/W 2009
Yes! I do see that. While I love campaigns in which Kailee's curves are on display, I like this one too because it's so atmospheric, so quintessentially European. It's amazing how in the 19th century, the builders of the time took iron and made it into curvy and beautiful shapes (think of the Eiffel Tower), while today metal is used to make buildings look hard and angular and brutally modern.
And Kailee was the perfect model for this shoot. Ever since I read her interview, I've associated her with the idea of "Old World meets present day," timeless beauty alive in the here and now.
Zay Clothing has a series of lovely banners of Kailee in rotation on its cover page. They offer differently cropped versions of the images in the campaign, and the widescreen effect gives them a slightly different character.
I love the emotion that Kailee puts into her shoots, and the different moods that she creates (especially in the first two banners)- the different stories that she tells.
Re: Kailee: Zay Clothing, F/W 2009
At last, Zizzi has issued its latest biannual custom publication, and, as indicated in the pre-release promotional material, Kailee's gorgeous face graces the cover of the magazine.
Isn't she lovely? Her blue eyes have a soothing effect on the viewer. One could lose oneself in them. Zizzi went for all-out prettiness in this cover, and no model could fit that bill better than Kailee. She looks adorable--soft and gentle, yet immediate and present. The hairstyle, with the cute accessory, emphasizes her girlish qualities. The impression is one of sweetness and femininity, melded with a brilliant and captivating spirit. Even without acknowledging Kailee's luscious figure, this is one of the most engaging covers we have ever seen.
Rather than assaulting the public with urban blight and androgynous minimalism, the fashion industry should showcase lyrical beauty such as this, which encapsulates timeless beauty for a present-day audience, and epitomizes true femininity.
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