The article is truly refreshing. The point that it makes about the timeless idealization of fair beauty is, of course, very true.
Whenever one revisits the classic fairy-tales (as they were originally told--before the modern media began warping them), one finds that the heroines are invariably flaxen-haired, fair-eyed beauties, with abundant, flowing tresses.
The is true even of characters who have, in the modern age, been depicted otherwise. Few people know this, but while the magnificent dream factory of Walt Disney ultimately changed Snow White into a brunette for the eponymous film, in the original sketches Schneewittchen was depicted as a blonde.
She had the kind of soft, rounded, childlike facial features that epitomize timeless beauty.
There is historical precedent for this, of course. Schneewittchen was traditionally depicted with fair tresses--as seen, for example, in this print reproduction of a 19th-century wall painting (destroyed in the war) that used to exist in Drachenburg Castle, along the Rhine, showing a fair Snow White with her attendant dwarves.
The recurrence of this look is too universal to be merely a convention. It speaks of something deep within the human heart--an innate appreciation of fair features as betokening wonderful, almost magical qualities, a kind of beauty so compelling that it invites an appreciation that is more than merely physical, but engages the imagination and the spirit as well.
As the Times article suggests,
itís a classically beautiful look. The association with blonde hair goes back to childhood: we associate these characteristics with forces of good, honesty and trust.
However, the article also identifies a persistent limitation in fashion-industry thinking. While the industry's pursuit of "wholesome-looking girls with flaxen manes who will reassure rather than shock the consumer" is commendable, fashion fails to realize that nothing is more shocking (adversely so) than images of obviously emaciated models.
The article even includes several references to this fact; e.g., when it mentions that
a woman who is more curvy and facially engaging is what people find reassuring,
healthy bodies encourage us in turn to thrive.
The article admirably intimates the traditional association of soft, feminine fullness with the flaxen look. Writers like Charlotte Bronte and Kate Chopin refer to this association in their novels. Many blonde beauties have a natural tendency towards sweetly seductive greediness and alluring self-indulgence, which helps them to develop attractively rounded limbs, generous waists, and overall plump figures.
Therefore, while the fashion industry seems (according to this article) to apprehend part of the means by which it can win back the public--by reintroducing blondes with a wholesome, gentle look--it misses the most important component of all in traditional beauty, and that is, the voluptuous figure that naturally accompanies blonde tresses and light-coloured eyes.
Fortunately, plus-size fashion can satisfy these needs, offering goddess models who possess both fair features and the sought-after "curvy," "healthy bodies" that the article describes. Just look at these brand-new Polaroids of the breathtaking Kelsey Olson, from her Seattle agency, Heffner Management--images that are more gorgeous, though mere snapshots, than even the most sophisticated editorial work from other models.
In the top-left and bottom-right pictures, Kelsey appears indescribably lovely, yet demure and reassuring--evoking precisely those pleasurable sensations that the public is seeking, according to the article. The Times author only errs in suggesting that this look is specifically desired now--for the truth is that it represents an eternal human preference, favoured at all times, whatever the social conditions of any period may be.
In the other two images, showing Kelsey with her jacket removed, the full measure of her beauty is revealed. In the steamy top-right picture, she appears overtly alluring. Her left hand draws attention to her golden dresses, prompting the viewer to imagine similar tactile appreciation. Her grey tee fits her figure closely, defining her curves. Never has her figure appeared as stunning as it does here. The viewer perceives the fullness of her luscious, 39" waist (a measurement that is clearly indicated on the card). But the overpowering impression that one receives from Kelsey is of her complete self-assurance in her physique. She knows that her generous proportions are precisely what make her attractive.
In both images, the model's sumptuous waist is openly displayed. In the bottom-left picture, she appears casual, wholly comfortable with herself--radiating a kind of pleasure that only a goddess who is not starving, but enjoying life to the fullest, can project. Kelsey's pleasure in her own person is infectious--for who could view this image and not wish to share in her delight? What makes her ideally beautiful is how soft her figure always appears--free of any trace of androgynous "tone," but rounded and shaped into perfection by natural fullness.
If the fashion industry, or any part of it, has finally recognized the wrong-headedness of selecting models merely to offend the bourgeoisie, and is seeking girls "who will reassure rather than shock the consumer," then it should embrace models who, besides possessing fair beauty, exhibit full features and buxom figures as well. Those are the girls who connect with the public, because their beauty brings to life our fondest dreams and deepest longings.
- Kelsey Olson galleries