(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum, March 13, 2004, in response to a post which several size-positive statements by Monica Bellucci.)
Before earning accolades as Mary Magdalene in The Passion of the Christ, Italian model-turned-actress Monica Bellucci first attracted attention on this side of the Atlantic with a small but memorable role in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula (1992), a film that served Bram Stoker poorly, but was ahead of its time in capturing the aesthetic sensibility of 19th-century Victorian Romanticism, and bringing it to the silver screen.
In the film, Bellucci plays one of three female vampires who emerge from a bed in Dracula's castle, and take advantage of a weak-willed Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves).
At the time of the film's release, the dramatic makeup, romantic tresses, darkly sensual attire, and exotic jewellery (including chandelier earrings!) that Bellucci wore for the part appeared strikingly unmodern, and were like nothing that most audience members had ever seen before, except possibly in a museum.
Today, however, with fashion having become much more romantic, Bellucci's opulent ensemble no longer appears so impossibly foreign, but rather, just a heightened version of the exciting styling choices that are currently available.
A DVD rental of the film is highly recommended. Try "stepping" through the Bellucci scene frame by frame, noting the brilliant styling and art direction.
If a new plus-size magazine were to debut right now, wouldn't it be exciting if it adopted Shey's suggestion to create editorials based on works of art and literature, and included an inaugural "evening wear" layout, inspired by this intensely Orientalist scene? Such an editorial could showcase whatever fashions/cosmetics/accessories it needed to, but it would do so in a memorable way, weaving the kind of opulent fantasy that best fits the plus aesthetic.
The spread could even include a text narrative, but instead of writing it from scratch, the magazine could incorporate passages from works of Romantic literature that are contemporary to the Orientalist movement, such as Byron's "Turkish" romances (e.g., The Giaour, which introduced Western Europe to vampire lore a half-century before Stoker penned his novel).
The public is ready and waiting for such an approach. The question is, will anyone meet the challenge?
- Mary Magdalene in art