Of all of the subjects that are associated with fashion and its satellite industries, the one that has probably received the least attention on this forum is . . . cosmetics.
At first glance, it would seem that this topic does not require a plus-specific treatment, and that whichever rules pertain to thin women should apply to plus-size women, as well.
But is that really the case?
Consider this: could it be a coincidence that--whatever their other distinctions--plus-size fashion magazines have always created stunningly beautiful and effective cosmetics editorials?
was particularly renowned for its cosmetics stories. Whether they demonstrated the best way to embellish the peaches-and-cream freshness of a Shannon Marie (the greatest cosmetics model the world has ever known),
or the evening glamour of a Barbara Brickner,
the make-up features in Mode were bona fide works of art.
But Figure too has distinguished itself for its cosmetics editorials. Who can forget the pink-themed tour de force of make-up artistry that Valerie showcased on the cover, and throughout the editorial pages, of the Spring 2003 issue?
This look vividly recalls the "plump and pink and flaxen attributes" that Charlotte Bronte ascribes to her irresistibly selfish coquette, Ginevra Fanshawe. And in yet another example of plus-size models influencing the mainstream media, it is quite likely that this stunning pink masterpiece inspired the enchanting "Spun Sugar" look that Flirt cosmetics is currently showcasing on Carrie Tivador:
But the fact that plus-size models are singularly adept at promoting make-up should come as no surprise. Even the most thoroughly brainwashed, most curve-o-phobic individuals have always been forced to admit, "She has such a pretty face," when speaking of a plus-size goddess.* * *
And it is reasonable to assume that make-up artists have always secretly known what supermodel Rachel Hunter acknowledged in her recent criticisms of Teri Hatcher's drawn facial features: full-figured women possess far lovelier faces than underweight women.
Therefore, when curvy vixens do choose to wear make-up, they wear it far better than their emaciated rivals ever could. The roundness, the fullness, the soft, babylike contours of a plus-size model's face make it a far more agreeable canvass for the make-up artist's brush than the harsh angles of a malnourished countenance.
So perhaps there are certain specific techniques that embellish full facial features better than hard visages. We hope to examine this topic further, in the near future.
In the meantime, we have already received one useful contribution to this topic from Suzanne, a long-time reader of this forum. Suzanne advises us to visit the Web site of "Mark," a cosmetics line owned by the Avon group. And since Avon has used true plus-size models in its clothing promotions, we are glad to give the company a little extra publicity.
On one Web page at the Mark site, the company not only acknowledges the influence of the Aesthetic Restoration on current trends in fashion, but it even specifies how cosmetics can harmonize with this revival of timeless beauty:
The fall runways took a few pages out of Renaissance and retro rulebooks as evidenced by the velvet, lace, curls, embellishment and frill. Makeup was tender, soft and subtle, yet oozing with stunning sex appeal. The style hunters at Mark incorporated elements of retro romance into the latest color collection "Romantified."
To be precise, the correct term is "Romanticized," not "Romantified." But why quibble? Avon undoubtedly wanted to create an original term (one that could be trademarked) to denote their new line--and besides, if this promotion helps to spread the Romantic spirit, we will forgive almost anything.
In her message, Suzanne specifies that
The picture that accompanies [the new Mark line] is of a straight-size model but looks to have fuller facial features. If you go to that link and then click on "Get The Look" there are two more pictures of this model showing her face better. Instead of using one of those thinner oval-faced models they choose to use the rounder face as their Romantic Goddess.
Not only is it encouraging to see this tacit acknowledgment of the rounder face as the true incarnation of feminine beauty,
but it is particularly gratifying to see a mainstream cosmetics company encouraging its customers to adopt, as their personal ideal, the image of a "Romantic Goddess."
And this veneration of Romanticism is not just lip service. Suzanne relates that the text on the Romantic Goddess page specifically reminded her of the fairy-tale thread that recently appeared on our forum. That text reads,
Summer is the season of sizzling romance. But need we remind you of the glorious gazes to be exchanged while walking through fallen fall foliage? Or how sweet it is to snuggle up in a sweater with a latte in hand and a great conversationalist by your side? Perhaps you could discuss your favorite literary romantic heroine. Or you could pull out all the stops and look like one.
Can you believe it? Here we have a cosmetics firm subtly encouraging its customers to explore the world of Romantic literature--and possibly, even to incorporate it into their own lives.
What an exciting movement this is. And we say "movement" advisedly, rather than "trend," because the New Femininity appears to be no passing fad, but the leading edge of a cultural shift that is progressively gathering momentum. And no wonder. It is fulfilling the human need for timeless beauty, which has been unsatisfied for so long.
Once again--astonishingly--we see that fashion and its related disciplines are embracing the Aesthetic Restoration more wholeheartedly than any other field of creative endeavour.
Let the plus-size industry take note: the time has never been better for the Classical aesthetic to reclaim its rightful place as the true Ideal of feminine beauty.