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Old 8th June 2007   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default ALL curves are gorgeous, pt.3

In two previous forum discussions, we noted that one of the most positive effects that plus-size models have upon society is that they show full-figured women the beauty of their natural curves, and demonstrate that so-called body "flaws" are not flaws at all, but just the opposite--irresistible aspects of feminine allure.

In the aforementioned discussions, the specific features of plus-size beauty that we celebrated were first, the lovely natural curves that a full-figured goddess characteristically exhibits along her back, and second, the "slight rise" of a "slope toward the throat" that Renaissance writers considered "the foremost ornament" of womanly charm.

In this post, we will discuss a different trait--one that is perhaps the most attractive of all physical characteristics of plus-size beauty, and the one that most boldly defies today's underweight standard.

Although modern media culture valorizes cadaverously narrow, caved-in waists, and artificially flattened abdomens, historic representations of timeless beauty reveal that until the modern age, goddesses who embodied ideal feminine allure were always depicted as possessing softly swelling midriffs, and generously rounded abdomens.

In the Crouching Aphrodite of the 3rd century BC, the plump curves around the midsection of the Classical divinity of beauty are lovingly depicted.

And in Giorgione's Renaissance masterpiece, the Pastoral Concert (1508), the light and shadow effects are carefully arranged to highlight the opulent abdomens of the goddesses.

But one need not go so far back as to Classical Antiquity to verify the male attraction to the fullness of a woman's midriff. Tyra Banks recently noted that while she was curvier, younger men were specifically attracted to what she termed her "muffin top," as well as the "roll around [her] middle." Likewise, a male columnist for Glamour magazine recently admitted his attraction to a woman's generous midsection, stating:

I've been spending my Sunday afternoons at a particular cafe, sort of writing this column but mostly women watching. There are plenty of wannabe Giseles to look at -- concave-stomached girls wearing tiny shirts. But I'm obsessed with one woman who . . . has long, dark hair, big hoop earrings and a curvy, soft belly. Those Renaissance painters knew something Hollywood doesn't: Rounded lines just look more inviting than hard, straight ones.

Although plus-size fashion photography is not always as size-positive as it could be, it does (at the best of times) allow models to exhibit the physical characteristics of timeless beauty--occasionally even including that most seductive of all features, a curvy waist.

* * *

Perhaps the most celebratory image of this feature, and one of the finest pictures that any plus-size model has ever created, is the following photograph of Christina Schmidt, from her extraordinary 2006 test shoot with Fadil Berisha:

No other goddess exhibits irresistible vanity the way Christina can--perhaps because no other goddess is gorgeous enough to pull it off.

The finest image of Gaynor Anema's career is certainly this sensual photograph, which has won repeated praise on this forum. It shows the model casting a seductive glance, fully cognizant of her own allure, and completely comfortable with her generous curves, defined by her knit top.

In this dreamlike image from Reitmans's greatest-ever campaign, from Summer 2006, Barbara Brickner's fitted camisole closely embraces her curvy abdomen, while the model appears attractively relaxed in this idyllic environment.

During the most gorgeous phase of her career, when she was a 14/16, Valerie Lefkowitz's finest images celebrated all of her womanly curves, including a shapely lower-hourglass, as seen in this celebrated Junonia swimwear shot.

Before she put her career on hiatus, Shannon Marie--the most gorgeous of all plus-size models--appeared in this Fashion Bug ad, which, although not designed to emphasize the figure, still disclosed the model's rounded abdomen, as indicated by the seam in the slacks.

Shannon Marie had blossomed into an 18/20 when the above image was released, and was then at the very peak of her beauty, but even earlier, in her profile from 1999, she discussed learning to love herself, "tummy and all."

In this famous Torrid cover, Charlotte Coyle seems to be issuing a challenge to the viewer--"I dare you to say I'm not beautiful"--even as she pulls her camisole close to her figure, to better define her curvy waist.

Can anyone claim that the generously-proportioned midriffs of the models in the above images diminish their irresistible allure one iota? Rather, they enhance these goddesses' beauty.

If we turn to the recent past, this rare photograph of an uncorseted Lillian Russell, exhibiting a sensually languishing look, shows that her natural waist measurement nearly equalled her celebrated bust size.

Anita Ekberg, famous for her intense cinematic sexiness and equally intense love of Italian pasta, exhibited a rounded abdomen in her most alluring role, that of the temptress in Fellini's segment of Boccaccio '70.

Of all of the images that remain from Sophie Dahl's plus-size days, none is more revered by fans than this photograph of the model participating in a London runway show in 1998, wearing an alluringly fitted dress that disclosed her then-curvy waist.

Canadian model Etheliya later achieved a similar effect in this famous test photo, which shows her dress emphasizing her womanly rondeur.

Perhaps no model has ever created as daring a presentation of a shapely midsection as did European beauty Karen Vermeiren, for Zizzi Denim, in the image below. The setting is atrociously modern, but the pose, and the way in which the fitted top unapologetically celebrates her generous waist, make the image a singular triumph.

Proving that full-figured goddesses need never feel any compunction about donning closely-fitted jeans, size-18 model Cathy Bole creates a youthful look here (for Fashion Bug, 2004), with the round fullness of her abdomen simply presenting another attractive, womanly curve, in a contemporary-yet-feminine presentation of natural beauty.

An equally celebrated denim ad of roughly the same time showed Melissa King dressed in snug jeans, her self-confidence in no way diminished, but rather augmented, by her rounded profile.

Even a conservative retailer like Lord & Taylor occasionally contributes to size celebration, most notably with this fine 2006 image of Melissa, in which her soft waist creates a visible curve beneath her red tunic top.

This sensual test image of West Coast model Jenny C. achieves a similar effect, gently highlighting a shapely midriff, recalling the allure of '50s "sweater girl" photographs of stars like Marilyn Monroe.

But let's not forget Torrid. Over the years, the company has produced many notable images that have showcased all of the curves of the feminine figure. Melissa Masi won great acclaim for this image, from several season ago, in which her dress revealed the rondeur of a womanly midsection.

Earlier this year, Christina Schmidt appeared in a "sailor-chic" image presenting a two-piece oufit that fit closely, and highlighted her curvy figure. The model's look of ease and relaxation contributes greatly to the sensation of complete and total body-confidence that the image conveys.

Surprisingly, although she has one of the most alluring waist measurements of any model in the industry, Kelsey Olson has not yet created an image that celebrates this attractive feature in truly groundbreaking way. However, this breathtaking test image suggests just how attractive a silhouette a model with a full midsection can create,

and the steaminess of Kelsey's beauty in this Torrid item is due in large part to how sensually the top embraces her curvy figure.

"Ah, but those are too easy," some readers might say. "Can these goddesses look equally ravishing if they are required to bare their midriffs?"

The answer is: Of course they can--and even more so.

In one of the very few notable images ever produced by Grace magazine, this snapshot of a model wearing a midriff-baring Romantic peasant top is so lovely, that it verily makes one swoon. Any well-fed beauty dressed in this manner would instantly ensnare the heart of any man she might fancy.

More daring yet is Diana Zalewski's promotion from the last season of America's Next Top Model, showing her in the loveliest bikini that we have ever seen, and allowing her softly rounded waist to be revealed.

Kailee O'Sullivan's recent Glamour tear sheet caused an absolute sensation. It was widely acclaimed as the greatest (and most size-positive) image that Glamour has ever produced, and a masterpiece of size celebration. The praise for this image has been universal--right so--and we can only add that if anyone is ever seeking a visual definition of timeless beauty, this is it.

As a compliment to the above image, we offer this detail of a lingerie editorial from the Dutch publication Vol, 2006. It achieves a similar effect to Kailee's tear sheet, but in a different way. The model's figure appears even fuller, and the opulent setting harmonizes with the sumptuousness of Latetitia's soft curves. The differences between the two models' figures reminds us of Addition-Elle's famous phrase, "Curves are the body's natural art." The soft fullness of plus-size beauty adorn each goddess in a different way, making every figure a unique masterpiece.

* * *

In conclusion we ask once again: which are the true body "flaws": the visible characteristics of soft fullness that a goddess displays when she maintains a comfortable figure; or the jutting ribs and shrivelled, caved-in waists that an undernourished model or actress exhibits when she starves herself (as nearly all modern celebrities do), to the point of resembling a dessicated corpse?

All curves are beautiful, and the fullness of the waist and abdomen are natural aspects of feminine body shape. Only a lifetime of aesthetic indoctrination by the mass media could warp people's perceptions to the point that they fail to recognize these features as normal physical attributes, or view the repulsively gaunt appearance of an emaciated frame as being a desirable aesthetic goal.

But plus-size models can reverse the effects of this harmful brainwashing, and allow society to rediscover the charms of timeless beauty.

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Old 10th June 2007   #2
M. Lopez
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 587
Default Re: ALL curves are gorgeous, pt.3

Further confirming the point of this post, the current issue of Glamour magazine includes a letter to the editor concerning the Kailee O'Sullivan picture posted above, from several issues ago. It reads:

I promise that you will continue to increase your male readership if you keep including plus-size models like Kailee O'Sullivan. Men are attracted to curves!

Dave Kovacs
San Antonio

So true! And, as has been amply demonstrated here, that doesn't just mean hourglass curves, but full waists too - as well as rounded arms, curves along the back, etc. The male writer of this letter obviously found Kailee's soft midriff extremely appealing.

Men are attracted to all aspects of feminine softness, and when women diminish their curves, they diminish their beauty, too.

- - - -

Sadly, though, there are no similarly gorgeous pages in the magazine itself - although there is a very pretty blouse on p.174, modelled by a Kelsey Olson lookalike. (If it had been modelled on Kelsey herself, it would have appeared even lovelier.)
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Old 21st June 2007   #3
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 633
Default Re: ALL curves are gorgeous, pt.3

It's so wonderful to see this amazing collections of images of beautiful women, all with soft and curvy waists, all gorgeous and knowing all, all exuding total self-confidence. It also reminds you that Shannon Marie was and still is the most beautiful plus-size model there has ever been.

To this collection, I would also add the "Size Lovely" ad for Fruit of the Loom, featuring Melissa Masi, that was described a little while ago:

The text obscures the figure a little, but there's no question that the purpose of the image was to celebrate the model's round midriff:

It's a shame that Melissa is so thin-looking otherwise, because she does have a shapely waist.

Any girl who has ever had any issues with having a womanly tummy should see this thread. I'm sure that she would feel better about her natural beauty...
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