[Originally posted on the Judgment of Paris Forum on November 20th, 2004.]
Recently, a visitor to this site kindly provided us with a treasure-trove of new images. "New" might not be the correct word to describe them, however, because they are not images of currently-working plus-size models, but luminaries from the not-so-distant past.
Our generous benefactor tells us that he worked in the fashion industry throughout the 1990s and kept many images of the models who were active in those days.
Among the notable items that he sent us were scans of some of Jennifer Larkin's comp cards from the beginning of her career. Former Ford/Campbell model Jennifer is the eldest and most beautiful of a family of four daughters--of whom no less than three became plus-size models--and she was one of the most prominent faces in Mode at the beginning of its run.
Full-figured fashion in those pre-Mode days was a long way from reaching the Torrid stage, but the plus-size models of the time did the very best that they could with what they were given. And although their commercial work was inevitably of the "happy, smiley" variety, in their tests they anticipated more progressive days ahead.
Here is Jennifer exuding allure in the best Linda Evangelista manner:
By the time Mode produced its February 1998 issue, featuring Bruno Gaget's famous cover showing the industry's top models in black body-hugging apparel (which, we are told, the models themselves referred to as "not-so-little black dresses"), Jennifer was a full size 14, and had developed a figure that rivaled Barbara Brickner's for sheer Classical perfection.
Here is another comp from the early 1990s, of a model named Diane Bucy-Wallace:
Now, as you might imagine, as soon as our contributor informed us that he had a collection of older images, one "request" for examples of a model's past work superseded all others:
But alas, Shannon Marie's career in the plus category was just getting started in 1998, so our "source" only had two newsprint scans in his possession, from early circulars. Shannon Marie's most ravishing days were yet to come in 1998, and she soon blossomed into a goddess beyond compare. But even as a straight-size-model-barely-turned-plus (as we see her here), she was already a vision of unparalleled beauty.
We are very grateful to our visitor for providing these historic images, and we hope to share more of them with the general public whenever possible.
- Jennifer Larkin gallery