(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum, December 28th, 2003.)
Judging by the correspondence that we have been receiving, it seems that many visitors are still wrestling with the question, "Should full-figured women follow fashion trends, or not?"
The operative word, of course, is "should," not "can"--because (as Mode taught its readers) plus-size women can wear anything--anything at all.
But while some fashions are simply acceptable as adornments for the plus aesthetic, others are altogether preferable. And since full-figured feminine beauty is best complimented by timeless styles rather than by modern concoctions, then perhaps the real question that a curvaceous femme fatale should ask herself when deciding whether to incorporate a voguish element into her personal wardrobe is not, "Is it trendy?" but, "Is it timeless?"
"Romantic" fashion is a perfect example of a trend that was/is ideally suited to the full feminine aesthetic. And now, here is another wonderfully unmodern craze--the rage for so-called chandelier earrings:
We must point out, however, that these lovely baubles could as easily be dubbed "Classical earrings," inasmuch as they are inspired by Classical and Renaissance forms.
First-time museum-goers are invariably struck by the ornateness of the jewellery that survives from antiquity. Even the lay person with no particular interest in objets d'art realizes that such creations are the products of societies that revered femininity and viewed beautiful women as goddesses, and sought to adorn them in a suitable manner.
The earring above, like the two which follow, is a Greek artifact from the 4th century BC, and looking at it, one immediately notices the disc-and-pyramid motif that recurs in many of today's "chandelier" styles (e.g., in Ljubenka's spectacular headshot, above), as well as the overall quality of luxury and opulence.
Further testifying to the notion that these accessories were created for living goddesses, many even incorporate goddess motifs in their design. The earring above features the goddess Nike (the "Winged Victory" of the famous statue in the Louvre) along with two winged figures of Eros, and the earring as a whole symbolizes triumph in love. The victory goddess reappears, driving a quadriga, in this resplendent masterwork from the Hermitage:
Small wonder, then, that today's "chandelier" earrings suit full-figured women so well, since they are inspired by the aesthetic of eras in which plus-size beauty was preferred.
But look at what happens when one attempts to adorn one of today's starving celebrities with such timeless ornamentation:
This image of Gwyneth Paltrow was pulled from the Vogue Web site, and it is remarkable how ill-suited these earrings really are for this vaunted icon of "modern glamour." They overpower her completely, and contrast so vividly with her rather mousy look that they make her plainness even more pronounced. One is reminded of a little girl trying to dress in her big sister's apparel, and being swallowed up by it.
By contrast, chandelier earrings are tailor-made for plus-size models. Their ornate design perfectly compliments the opulent beauty of the fuller female figure. In this test image of Valerie Lefkowitz, note the consistency of the aesthetic effect--how the brilliant earring harmonizes with the exquisite fullness of the model's facial features, and with her dreamlike, ethereal expression, and with her magnificent tresses, as they cascade over her sumptuous, bare shoulders.
Curvaceous women should neither be slaves to trends, nor should the be enslaved by a deliberate avoidance of trendiness as something that is "not for them." With timeless beauty as their guide, they can select the fashions that suit them best--and when they do, they will outshine their underweight rivals at every turn.