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Old 29th October 2011   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Re: Katrina van Tassel: Disney's curvy heroine

Oh my goodness, Tamika, thank you for this wonderful post. I enjoy your contributions to the forum very much, from your information about Lolita fashions to your fascinating thread about Yang Guifei. But of all your essays, this is my favourite.

The post is very timely. I remember watching "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" on The Wonderful World of Disney's Hallowe'en specials every year, when I was a child. The Headless Horseman was, for me, the most splendidly frightening Disney character outside of Fantasia. But I had completely forgotten how lovely Katrina was.

Your descriptions are ravishingly poetic. I especially adore the account of Katrina's wardrobe:

Originally Posted by Tamika
A particularly inspired design element is the gathered overskirt elegantly shaped to resemble pink flower petals fanning out from Katrinaís waist. It is as if Katrina herself is a blossoming flower, a quintessential symbol of femininity, her voluptuous curves harmonious with the enchanting beauty of nature. She is the most perfectly formed blossom imaginable, with all others seeming sad and wilted in comparison with her exquisite beauty.

That's so true. Katrina really does seem like a flower in full bloom, with hordes of bees in her orbit.

I also appreciate your pointing out that only figure-compression is keeping Katrina's body from exhibiting its actual plus-size proportions at the waist. This is a very sensual description:

Originally Posted by Tamika
Due to the nature of the costume, it is certain that Katrina is wearing a corset underneath her lovely dress, artificially restraining her waist. It is easy to imagine, then, that once freed of the corsetís tight embrace, her waist would be as soft and naturally full as the rest of her plump figure. The idea is reminiscent of the well-known photograph of Edwardian beauty Lillian Russell attractively unlaced, with the full beauty of her figure in view. It adds an exciting tension to her character; Katrina can hardly keep her curves in check, her bountiful beauty only tamed with aggressive corseting. The almost dangerous quality of her figure, coupled with the fact that the true extent of her curves are left to the imagination of the viewer, make her positively thrilling.

It makes sense that in the nobler era of the past, the time period in which Irving's tale is set -- an age when full-figured beauty was the acknowledged ideal of femininity -- a goddess like Katrina would indulge herself freely and allow her curves to blossom, knowing that it would only increase her allure. In watching the film, I was struck by how she has a charming touch of self-indulgence about her (craving the attention of many admirers, one suitor not being enough for her), so why would she ever deny herself any delicacies?

I'm really torn, now, as to which is the prettiest Disney heroine -- Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, or Katrina van Tassel. Aurora has such radiant, long, golden hair, but Katrina definitely has a much more generous figure. Given that the depiction of her artificially constricted middle does not represent the actual fullness of her waist, there's no question that Katrina qualifies as legitimately plus-size. A few more screen caps which I found online further testify to this.

Her arms are visibly full, as Tamika identifies.

Her face is soft and round, much more so than any other Disney heroine.

I adore this picture of Katrina literally as the centre of attention.

This is another rare moment in which Katrina exhibits a touch of that pouty petulance that Tamika mentioned. She still looks adorable, and her arms are visibly fleshy, testifying to the genuien opulence of her physique.

In her gown for the dance, she reminds me of Anita Ekberg. Katrina clearly knows how to dress for her figure and loves accentuating her voluptuousness. The hairstyle, with the ribbons, is adorable.

I'm glad that the film is on YouTube, but that version unfortunately cuts out a song, and YouTube quality is always limited. I found the movie online and plan to order it. It will be wonderful to have this one-and-only example of a plus-size Disney princess (because crowned or not, Katrina is a princess, if ever there was one).

For the DVD of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad at Amazon: click here.
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