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Old 14th October 2006   #1
HSG
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Join Date: July 2005
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Default ''Framing the feminine figure''


(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum, June 17, 2004, in response to praise of a new Torrid image of Melissa Masi (who was a gorgeous size 16, at the time).)

Melissa looks utterly devastating--more beautiful than ever before. And without question, Torrid--and the Torrid approach in general--is the natural inheritor of the Mode legacy, which was about fashion liberation, rather than fashion prohibition.

A new e-mail circular from Torrid features the following text:

Live a little!

No muumuus for you

Live aloha in alluring sundresses and flirty flats from Torrid.com!

Being plus size doesn't mean you have to spend the summer in scary, ugly muumuus!

This summer, bring the spirit of aloha to every function when you wear fun sundresses from Torrid.

and is accompanied by this intoxicating image of Melissa:

Looking through Torrid's "Dresses" section, it is an absolute joy to see so many lovely examples of the "new femininity" on such a stunning plus-size model. The images demonstrate just how perfectly these dresses accentuate the beauty of someone with a naturally curvaceous figure, instead of a waif-like frame--a figure that can give them their intended shape.

If Mode were still around, it would be publishing many gorgeous layouts with plus-size models in these delightful "sundress" styles. Full-figured women should not be slaves to trends, but when a "trend" comes along that is tailor-made for the plus aesthetic, why not make the most of it?

But pretty as these dresses are, the real reason why they are so very becoming on voluptuous figures has to do with a concept that Elena Miro introduced a few seasons ago--i.e., that fashion is best understood as a frame for the beauty of the womanly figure.

For example, the most attractive features in the above ensemble are the soft shoulders and shapely arms of the model herself. The dress looks so becoming because it is a splendid frame, one which embraces Melissa'a shape, and reveals her curves.

This concept--of emphasizing the attributes of plus-size beauty--is worlds removed from the "cover-up-the-curves" approach that still persists in some circles. But this new wave of fashion liberation is fast becoming received wisdom in the industry--and it's about time.

To discover just how widely this progressive notion has spread, here is a striking new image from Barbara Brickner's plus-size maternity line:

Who would have thought that maternity wear would ever be worth writing about? But it is, because the designer of the above outfit realized that soft shoulders, arms, and legs are the best fashion "accessories" of all. And in an outfit that frames those features, the woman wearing the dress can look absolutely ravishing--pregnant or not. (Gorgeous setting, too, incidentally.)

* * *

The time for body shame, for hiding, and for disguising, is long gone--and good riddance, too. The plus-size fashion industry is finally giving curvaceous women the opportunity to show off their best features--i.e., precisely those features that a curve-o-phobic society once told them to keep under wraps. We hope that living goddesses everywhere will make the most of it.

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