(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum on January 4th, 2004, in response to a post by renata.)
Thank you for the notice. You are now the second person who has tipped us off about this model, who appears in advertisements for a company called "Precious Formals." Although the company's Web site does not feature her image, she currently appears both in Your Prom magazine:
and in a similar publication titled Teen Prom, where she sports a much more becoming (and much better-shaped) pink dress:
The model is indeed remarkably pretty, and Precious Formals deserves praise for using a genuinely full-figured model in its ads. The junior-plus category is still terribly neglected in print advertising, but at least these appearances constitute a step in the right direction.
Canadian schools have little in the way of a "prom" tradition, but anyone who remembers John Hughes movies from the 1980s is well aware of the American fascination with this event. And "promwear" magazines comprise a rather interesting sub-genre of their own. Although 99.9% of the models in these magazines are still waif(er)-thin, the photography generally steers clear of modernist freakishness, and instead favours fantasy-based images that are by turns enchanting and whimsical--much like the photography in bridal magazines, except with a great deal more colour.
Indeed, looking at some of the ads and editorials in these prom magazines is both inspiring and disheartening, because the images seem to absolutely demand the use of models with better curves. Here is an eye-catching page from Your Prom. The mirror motif, the extravagant jewellery, the sumptuous gown--all of these goddess-related attributes simply cry out for the use of a model with richer proportions than the one who appears in the ad:
And here is a page from a Teen Prom editorial titled "Picture Perfect," which recommends that girls add retro/vintage-style dresses to their options:
The "frame" detail, which surrounds each of the images in the editorial, immediately makes one think of pictures at an exhibition, but the effect is ruined by seeing an underweight model framed in this manner rather than an embodiment of timeless beauty. And the model's dress, which is strongly reminiscent of 19th-century gowns worn by Lillian Russell, absolutely begs to be draped over a generously-proportioned figure in order to give it the proper contours, rather than over a thin frame, on which it simply falls flat. Just imagine how much better it would have looked on the model in the Precious Formals ads.* * *
"Retro" or not, most prom-oriented dresses are tailor-made to suit the plus aesthetic, and accentuate the charms of a fuller female figure very well. One can only imagine how many GQ-type high-school heartthrobs end up taking their cheerleader girlfriends to the prom simply because that is what they are "supposed to do," but secretly spend the entire evening wishing they were with the curvaceous vixen across the dance hall instead.
Hmmm. Now that sounds like a John Hughes movie in the making . . .