It comes as a pleasant surprise to find that the March/April issue of Figure
contains one of the most beautiful layouts that the magazine has ever shot, and is altogether one of the publication's best issues.
The star of the month is Kelsey Olson (Dorothy Combs, Miami), who appears in several utterly gorgeous photographs showing off her soft femininty.
Kelsey's most arresting picture in the issue, and one of the most size-positive images that the magazine has ever created, is the following.
The wardrobe is so-so, but the picture is breathtaking. Kelsey's expression is one of innocent astonishment. Her blonde curls float around her face like a golden halo. But above all, it is her sensual bare arm that is the centre of attention.
This is one of those rare, absolute masterpieces of full-figured imagery, the only pity being that it wasn't reproduced in the magazine at a larger size. Kelsey's limb is very soft and full, without even a trace of unattractive muscle tone--its Classical roundness due entirely to well-fed, natural beauty. Only a spoiled princess from a bygone era could ever exhibit such a breathtaking appearance, bespeaking a pampered, indulged lifestyle.
The picture recalls, of course, the most gorgeous photograph of Lillian Russell ever created, the following famous publicity card from 1899:
With her luxurious figure, Kelsey is a worthy inheritor of Lillian's title of "fairest of them all." The image reaffirms the truism that the finest plus-size-model photographs are those that reference Classical works of art, or pictures of timeless beauty from before the modern age.* * *
Equally captivating is the following photograph, a heart-stopping presentation of Kelsey's curvy figure.
Never has the allure of a wrap dress been better presented. As its name suggests, it wraps close to Miss Olson's figure, holding her in a loving embrace. Notice how the substantial, seductive weight of her figure is clearly visible, her sumptuous curves shaping the dress to her body. One can perceive a full waist and a rounded abdomen--the ideal attributes of Classical beauty--again, without even a hint of unfeminine "tone," just natural, soft contours.
Kelsey's pose is one of supreme self-assurance. She stands comfortably relaxed, holding her hip, seductively languid, completely at ease with her well-fed figure--displaying it, in fact. Kelsey's sensuality is innately of the gentlest kind, but the baby-blue colour of the dress softens her look still further, rendering her even more irresistible.
No model is better known for the fairness of her skin tone than is Kelsey, and the following image exhibits it to best advantage. She truly looks like an angel in human form, so delicate is her peaches-and-cream complexion. Her steamy eyes melt the heart; they exude such innocence and vulnerability. The viewers feels the overwhelming urge to protect her and taken care of her.
But even in this celestial image, her visage does not testify to moderation, but to secret self-indulgence. The beauty of her face is that it is full. The "measured messiness" of her hair can be interpreted in many ways, but above all, it gives flesh-and-blood reality to her angelic appearanc. And note how the charm bracelet presses against the soft fullness of her wrist--a supremely sensual touch.
The final two images aren't quite at the same extraordinary level of accomplishment, but they are still lovely. This photograph conveys a sense of the model's ease and comfort with her figure. The facial expression is somewhat coy.
Here is how it appears in the magazine. The text is highly appropriate.
And finally, the layout also includes this lively picture:* * *
The rest of the issue is well worth a look. There is a size-positive Fashion Bug ad featuring Krista Mays (a hit-and-miss talent, depending on how she is photographed), and another lovely editorial called "C'est la vie," featuring a model whose identity is unknown to us, but who is very attractive (although she could stand to be somewhat fuller-figured), and has appeared in Figure at least once before.
The other features are less successful.
But Kelsey's mesmerizing tear sheets are the reason to obtain the current issue of Figure. If only the magazine produced images of such heavenly beauty every month, it would truly be a worthy successor to Mode.