Few aficionados may be aware of this, but besides Figure
and Big Is Beautiful,
there are two other publications currently in print which exclusively employ plus-size models.
Both are what may be termed "sewing" magazines, and in addition to featuring editorial pages showing full-figured models in various outfits, the magazines include cut-out patterns for readers to utilize in fabricating the displayed garments for themselves.
Sewing is all but a lost art among women today, but readers with older European parents may remember their mothers buying patterns and fabric from textile stores, and sewing dresses at home, on venerable Singer machines.
It is hardly coincidental that both of these plus-size sewing magazines are European in origin. They survive as tributes to the noble distaff heritage of traditional womanhood.
One of the two publications, the biannual Burda Plus,
is a consistent disappointment, as it exclusively features faux-plus models. But the other magazine, a Dutch quarterly launched earlier this year, is far more notable. It is called KnipXL,
and it is already on its third issue.
Said issue (Winter 2007) deserves a mention here, because it includes several editorial pages featuring the lovely and popular Karen Vermeiren. Karen is a rarity in European--a model who is youthful (early 20s), gorgeous, and genuinely full-figured--and her work always merits praise.
The most exciting page in the magazine--and one of Karen's most thrilling images to date--is the following. Although the dress is black, the feminine cut exhibits the model's shapely arms and soft shoulder-and-neck area. This is a shining example of the "body as fashion accessory" principle, whereby the soft fullness of the model's figure, so generously on display, is the most eye-catching aspect of the look. Note also that the dress reveals the rounded contours of the model's waist. Karen adopts a fittingly sensual, dynamic pose for this seductive dress.
Alas, the rest of the pictures are far more conservative, although Karen's luscious figure does attempt to give the formless garments some shape. Here, the attractive curve of her hip is visible beneath the fabric of the dress.
This outfit gently embraces her generous waist.
The same is true of this ensemble. The sheer sleeves are an attractive touch--the next-best thing to sleeveless. Note the appealing fullness of the model's facial features.
And finally, although many of Karen's headshots have been far lovelier than this (see her ZJ.dk campaign, for example), this picture does, at least, display the soft fullness around the model's neck-and-shoulder area (with no visible clavicle).
Applause to KnipXL for featuring such an attractive and truly full-figured model in its pages. Although the clothing is not as exciting as one might wish (excepting the sleeveless dress), perhaps the fact that these items are meant to be home-sewn results in a relative simplicity of design.* * *
Nevertheless, the pictures amply testify to the voluptuous beauty of Karen's figure, and we earnestly hope that these tear sheets advance her career. She is the most promising model on the European continent.
Incidentally, anyone wishing to order issues of KnipXL can do so via the ever-helpful services of Typical Dutch Stuff, which also ship issues of hard-to-find Big Is Beautiful magazine overseas.