As Kirsten pointed out, the Cinderella
tale does provide an especially fitting analogy for Crystal's triumphant appearance at this fashion show (especially if we factor in touches from the Russian version of the Cinderella story, "Vasilisa the Beauty," which we discussed in an earlier thread
at this forum).
Think of the similarities: the most beautiful of young damsels (Crystal, representing all full-figured maidens), is long forced to dress in degrading, ugly clothing (i.e., the frumpy, formless styles of the past), and is not permitted to be seen in public (i.e., in the media). Meanwhile, her thinner and less attractive sisters (the androgynous models) are given expensive gowns, and are allowed to attend the formal balls (i.e., the runway shows).
But then, a contemporary designer becomes fairy godfather and Prince Charming all rolled in one, bestows on her a dress worthy of a princess, and she becomes the belle of the ball.
A genuine fairy-tale come true, no?
(The flower in the hand was the crowning detail--a truly inspired touch.)* * *
The point that Chad makes about the economic rationale for a Parisian designer to finally enter the plus-size market is well founded. According to statistics relayed in a recent article in wwd.com,
"Among three sizes of women's apparel — regular, plus and petite — plus sizes saw the strongest sales advance in the 12 months ended this June, rising 4.2 percent to $17.4 billion from $16.7 billion a year earlier."
By comparison, straight-size sales rose only 0.4 percent, as indicated in the following table, which accompanied the article:
However, the potential entry of Jean-Paul Gaultier into plus-size fashion would be irrelevant, if we had no indication that the designer possessed an understanding of, and appreciation for, the plus aesthetic.
But the dress that he designed for Miss Renn proves--astonishingly--that he understands this aesthetic perfectly. For no one could design a garmet such as this who did not believe that the body inside the dress was unattractive.
Consider its size-celebratory qualities:
-it shows off the wearer's arms and decolletage
-it is perfectly fitted to the body's contours
-in every detail of its construction, it follows the principle of the curve, rather than the line
-it is not marred by even a single modernistic touch
-the floral ornamentation is a work of pure beauty
But let's not forget the most important point in Gaultier's favour; the one, fateful decision which ensured that this appearance was a triumph, rather than a disappointment, and gave all of us hope for the future:
Gaultier did not use a faux-plus model to show off this dress--which would have made the whole exercise utterly futile. Instead, he chose a goddess who is at least curvaceous enough to be visibly full-figured, and who possesses a figure that is soft, rather than hard.
And the result was runway . . . history.
- Note the quotation that coincidentally headlines Miss Renn's gallery page . . .