I think part of the challenge is the fact that the plus-size industry as a whole is still finding its legs. The undersized elements of the media (Vogue/Elle for women, Sports Illustrated for men) have been examining the market for years, and have a real awareness of it; they know exactly what works. In the plus-size industry, some creators might still be tied to their own visions, rather than in tune with public wishes (as we see when plus-size magazines used faux-plus models instead of the genuinely full-figured girls that the public has always asked for).
On that note, I also think it would benefit a potential plus-size calendar if it stuck to true plus-size models. There's no point in selecting faux-plus girls, or shooting the models not
to look plus. This won't attract fans of the skinny models, and will simply turn off individuals who are genuinely interested in the curvier look. I know of at least two Web projects featuring plus-size models that might be considered as targeting a male viewership, and it's significant that their models tend to be the size of the contestants on the Tyra Banks shows: about a size 18 and up.
By the way, I can't help but mention the astonishing fact that Barbara Brickner is even more gorgeous today than she was when she shot that unforgettable calendar. Here's a brand-new image of Barbara from Nordstrom:
She looks so
shapely, so beautiful, and makes that top look incredibly appealing for a curvy figure. I really like the dash of decolletage. And the fact that it has an empire waist, and that the overlay has a slit, means that it will be very comfortable on a generous waist.