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Old 1st November 2005   #1
HSG
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Join Date: July 2005
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Default Vol Magazine: The Dutch MODE


Speaking of full-figure fashion in Holland, we just received our first issue of a Dutch publication titled Vol Magazine, and it appears to be positioned to do for the plus-size industry in The Netherlands what Mode did for the U.S.

Vol is published six times a year, and this is, in fact, the fourth issue of the magazine (Sept/Oct 2005). The 118-page (!) publication exhibits astonishingly fine production values, and is printed on high-quality, glossy paper stock.

The first and most important question that one needs to ask about Vol, or about any plus-size publication, was recently answered by vivelesrondes.com (a French plus-size portal). As the editor of that Web site reported:

Peter Burghoudt le rédacteur en chef et initiateur de Vol déclare : «Nous avons reçu des offres énormes pour placer des publicités pour tous types de produits de régime dans ce magazine, mais ce n'est pas ce que nous voulons.»

Roughly translated, this means:

Peter Burghoudt the chief editor and originator of Vol declares: "We received huge offers to give advertising for any types of diet products in this magazine, but that is not what we want."

In other words--no diet ads.

Bravo!

Now, in terms of visual quality, the magazine earns a mixed review. At the moment, most of the models appear to be local girls from the two top Dutch agencies--Ego's Models, and Euromodel.nl--where the talent pool is only so deep. However, Charlotte Coyle recently signed with Ego's Models, so unless the magazine strictly casts continental talent, let's hope that we see her in a future issue of Vol.

The other problem confronting Vol is indicated by the above cover. Plus-size fashion in Europe is currently far less progressive than in the U.S., and the "New Femininity" is only beginning to make its presence felt, so the styles are generally more matronly than one would like.

On the other hand, the photography is surprisingly good. And note the cover cut line: "De Nieuwste Mode in 42, 44, 46, 48 . . ." Not only is this an obvious reference to Mode's famous slogan ("Style in Sizes 12, 14, 16 . . ."), but the models in Vol do, in fact, embody those sizes. Therefore, this is not a publication of faux-plus amazons, but of genuinely full-figured goddesses.

We would be remiss not to leave you with a sample of this magazine's visual content, so we have scanned three pages of the issue's finest editorial--a bridal-lingerie layout.

Seeing as these are lingerie images, and as such, not to everyone's taste, we will offer text links to the images, rather than posting them directly. Anyone who does not care for lingerie imagery is asked to give the links a pass.

Image 1:
- Click here to view small size
- Click here to view large size

Image 2:
- Click here to view small size
- Click here to view large size

Image 3:
- Click here to view small size
- Click here to view large size

The model in all three images is Laetitia, a gorgeous size-44 goddess (U.S. size 14?) represented by Euromodel.nl. And for the sake of more conservative readers, here is a severely-cropped glimpse of one of the pages. Note the model's lovely, Sarah-Brightman-like hairstyle. Based on these tears, we must affirm that she is certainly a talent to watch--especially in Europe, where gorgeous models are few and far between.

The image indicates what makes this layout so successful. Lingerie editorials are by far the greatest challenges for fashion photographers, since the line between sensuality and vulgarity is treacherously thin. And even if lingerie images do not descend to the level of trashiness, they can all-too-easily become cold, clinical depictions of human anatomy, like today's ubiquitous "reality" campaigns, which are more suitable for physiology textbooks than for fashion magazines.

But the Vol layout is soft and dream-like. The images unabashedly reveal the fullness of the models' figures, but they do so in a graceful way--though soft-focus lenses, and gentle lighting. The settings are opulent and comfortable, and the mood is relaxed and languorous.

* * *

Lacking a working knowledge of Dutch, it is impossible for the present author to assess the non-visual content of this magazine--although Vol's article about "Hot Berlin" certainly features some wonderful photographs of Europe's most fascinating city. (What a shame that Vol is not published in an English-language edition.)

But in a magazine such as this, the visual content is what matters most, and based on the bridal-lingerie editorial noted above, Vol certainly exhibits promise. If, in the future, it features more subversively attractive models, and perhaps spotlights more feminine/romantic/goddesslike attire, it could do much to initiate size celebration in Europe, just as Mode did in North America.

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