The video that M. Lopez linked features some marvellous visuals which richly reward a second look.
Miss Cummings first turns up in a brief behind-the-scenes shot. She appears at the left of the frame.
Then, the entire cast appears in a group shot, all in their period outfits. But notice that Lily, the fairest of the models, sits enthroned in a position of prominence, somewhat removed, off to the right of the screen, wearing a more elaborate headdress than the rest. Without question, she is the princess of the group, the queen bee. The other girls are all turned in her direction to look at her, and she herself is obsessed with the same agreeable sight: her own beautiful countenance, as viewed in a mirror.
The other participants in the shoot adopt a light-hearted mood, but Lily genuinely inhabits her 19th-century persona, richly relishing the sight of her own loveliness, as voluptuous Victorian vixens such as Georgiana Reed or Ginevra Fanshawe would have done.
Nothing is more desirable than a goddess who is in love with her own appearance. Throughout history, iconic depictions of the beauty-goddess Venus have presented the fair immortal as gazing upon her own reflection. Observe the alluring self-involvement that Lily exhibits in her scenes.
A moment later, she lids her eyes heavily, adopting the most seductive of all gazes and exuding those most archetypally feminine of qualities--greed, selfishness, vanity--with the highest intensity of allure. Note too the soft fullness at the model's neck area.
The camera cannot seem to get close enough to this vision of carnal self-adoration. She luxuriates over every portion of her beauty, perfecting the kind of haughty glance that, she knows, is sure to ensnare any man's heart.
An instant later, however, in an unguarded moment, Miss Cummings chuckles in unaffected delight. Note that most sensual of all facial features, the luscious curve under the model's chin, testifying to a well-fed opulence of person that complements the ornate richness of the attire.
A subsequent scene in the video features the shoot's photographer ensconced amid the girls. Notice the effective styling: unlike the other models, Lily wears a pink/berry outfit that harmonizes with her "plump and pink and flaxen" attributes, her snowy-fair complexion. Note too the attractive roundness of the model's face.
The finest presentation of the beauty of Lily's facial features appears a moment later, in a still showing the model wearing a different yet equally fabulous headdress. Her face is round and full, gorgeously so, and her impassive expression darkly alluring. Note in particular that acclaimed mouth, so carnal with its dark cosmetics, the lips naturally shaped (not collagen bloated), turned down in an expression of bewitching cruelty.
What makes Lily so effective at adopting these dark looks is that her skin tone is so delicate and fair, procelain with just a hint of flush at the cheeks, a Victorian-doll quality that softens the effect of her wicked expressions.
A close-up highlights very effective cosmetics artistry. Lily's skin tone makes her an ideal canvas for a variety of compelling looks.
Lily's third look for the shoot is the most expressly cinematic. How fitting, then, that we first glimpse it in black and white. In another era, Miss Cummings would have been a starlet of the silver screen.
Yet it is in colour that the model's true beauty is revealed, exhibiting, as this shot does, the fresh fairness of her skin, a spun-sugar look of exquisite delicacy, which effectively plays off against the mature, sensual attire.
Lest there be any doubt that Miss Cummings is the star of this short film, the final shot consists of a slow, lingering close-up of Lily's facial features. It begins with a glance at her softly creased, fleshy neck, against the plumpness of which the hard jewellery seems almost threatening.
Next, the camera lingers on her pink cheeks and golden curls, and her exquisite profile.
And finally, with that sensually expressionless gaze which is her trademark, Lily fixes the camera with a haunting look, her blue eyes crystalline, ethereal.
The video effectively sets the model's Lillian-Russell-like beauty back amid the opulent trappings of the 19th century, in which context her rich loveliness--so fair and fleshy, so sugary soft--appears especially gorgeous.
Bravo to Miss Cummings for so convincingly embodying the superior beauty of a bygone era, an era whose aesthetic wonder we can still revive in the present day, if only we have the will to do so.
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