The November issue of Canada's LouLou
fashion magazine contains, for the second time this year, a supplement devoted to plus sizes, sponsored by the Reitmans group (MXM, Addition-Elle, Penningtons).
The previous season's supplement, which advertised the company's fall lineup, was a thoroughgoing failure, exclusively filled with faux-plus models, and producing not a single notable image of any fan favourites.
This edition, however, is a dramatic improvement--at least in its ads. The editorial content is still deplorable, with LouLou
's blinkered editors persisting in the belief that models over a size 10 don't exist. But the advertisements in the new supplement are absolutely gorgeous, and feature two of the most popular and beautiful models in the industry.
Most notably, this issue marks the first work by Quebec enchantress Justine Legault
for a major plus-size retailer. Of all of the models in the industry, Justine has achieved the least exposure in proportion to her beauty--a beauty that beggars belief. Hopefully this tear sheet marks the long-awaited blossoming of her career. She appears in a dramatic ad for Addition-Elle, looking every bit the size-14 goddess that she is.
The pose is languid and sensual, the expression alluring, but what makes the picture especially gorgeous is the fact that the photographer celebrates Justine's luscious, pear-shaped figure. Miss Legault is quite buxom, and yet, as the picture clearly shows, her nether-hourglass curves are much more generous. Next to a full waist, curvaceous hips are the most attractive figure features on a plus-size model, and to see a model as stunning a model as Justine with such womanly proportions makes a profound statement about the true nature of ideal beauty. With her pear-shaped body, fair tresses, and soft limbs, Miss Legault is a Classical sculpture come to life.
Enlisting Justine's services is also a notable triumph for Addition-Elle, which has not produced a hit campaign in several seasons.* * *
But really, the issue completely belongs to Click XL's shining star, Kailee O'Sullivan, who appears in three magnificent full-page ads (one of them a two-page spread).
A reader posted a small version of the following image in a previous thread, but here it is at a proper size.
The top takes full advantage of the model's buxom beauty. Her shapely arm looks soft, and attractively free of any "tone." Kailee's expression is haunting (she is one of the most expressive models in the industry), and captures the viewer's heart. She looks almost . . . hurt in this picture--wounded emotionally--and this naked display of emotion makes her irresistible. As in so many of her best pictures, Kailee blends a girlish delicacy and fragility with a robust, well-fed look, and the mixture of the two impressions is intoxicating.
The following scan shows the left half of Kailee's two-page layout. The very long, straight hair flowing over her bare shoulders is a new look for this Irish princess--one which suits her particularly well, especially the lighter colour.
Kailee's arresting expression has elements of the dreamy, faraway gaze that many models employ, yet Kailee injects unique intensity into the look. Her mouth, set in a turned-down pout, and dramatically emphasized by the red colour, communicates hunger and passion. The roundness of Kailee's facial features means that her images always evoke a sense of softness, even when her expressions are not deliberately "pretty."
But by far the most gorgeous of all of the pictures in the supplement, and one of the all-time great photos of Kailee's career, is the following, which appears as part of a three-in-one ad.
Kailee's pose is overtly, intensely alluring. The camera catches her at the very moment that she is sweeping back her hair in a sensually languid manner. Even in this still image, one senses the slow, graceful heaviness of her movements. Her figure looks uncommonly soft and full, and the top is tailor-made to show off her luscious contours. For once, an image acknowledges how buxom she is, the v-cut plunging deeply, offering a heady glimpse of decolletage. Anyone encountering a sight such as this would immediately become Miss O'Sullivan's ardent worshipper, enslaved forever to her beauty.
Another image from the three-in-one page shows Kailee with her long hair flowing dramatically, and with a penetrating look in her eyes. Her kissable red mouth, slightly parted, attempts an editorial touch of cruelty, yet the effect is wonderfully sweetened by Miss O'Sullivan's innately doll-like beauty.
The final image is not as successful as the rest, due to a hunched-over pose which is a regrettable carryover from straight-size modelling, and which plus-size models should avoid. (Goddesses should always let their figures push forward, rather than collapsing in on themselves.) The lace trim on the top is a nice detail, though, and as a sleeveless item showing off bare shoulders, it does have its charm.* * *
This is how the third page looks complete:
All in all, the new LouLou Holiday 2008 supplement is a visual tour-de-force, for which the Reitmans group deserves great credit. It is the closest Canadian equivalent to Figure magazine, and it exhibits Mode-like visual quality, at least in its ads.
If only the supplement's editorial pages matched the beauty of its MXM and Addition-Elle promos, it would be a splendidly size-positive publication. Alas, the LouLou editors are still imprisoned in their faux-plus mindset. Let us hope that these celebratory ads expand their aesthetic, and, as a consequence, that the editorial content of future editions will similarly showcase timeless beauty.
(You may click on the above images to view them at a larger size.)