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Old 24th February 2010   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Valerie: The Doll's House (Zay Clothing)

Although it's sad to see how much Valerie Lefkowitz has diminished herself of late, she currently appears in a campaign that is so pretty that it richly deserves notice. Indeed, it is such an intriguing promotion that it would practically deserve a thread even if it featured a straight-size model.

Zay Clothing shot a memorable campaign last year with Kailee O'Sullivan in a setting reminiscent of a Victorian train station. Similarly evoking a vintage theme, this promotion is set in a quaint Victorian-era home, with bannisters, wood panelling, floral wallpaper, etc. The colours--muted pinks, gentle tans, and ivories--add to the vintage quality. Valerie herself displays her trademark doll-like appearance, and together, all of these elements prompt the viewer to regard the setting as a doll's house, a full-size version of a doll's house of the Victorian era.

However, intriguingly, the domicile is not a refurbished home, but one that shows considerable wear. This distressed appearance reinforces the idea of the locale as a life-size version of a doll's house, one that is a bona fide Victorian antique, and has endured the wear of a century of children's play. While it still retains hints of its original elegance, it now appears weathered and well worn.

The following is probably the loveliest image in the campaign, and the one in which Valerie comes closest to appearing curvy. The blossom in her hair (colour-coordinated with her wardrobe) is an enchanting touch. Her pose is soft and graceful, yet makes one think of a doll that has been carefully posed in this fashion. The weathered walls of the room provide a fine backdrop for the muted tones of her outfit. The top is highly attractive--sleeveless, and with pretty trim. Note the aged fireplace at the left of the image.

Click to enlarge

One especially fine aspect of this campaign is the wardrobe styling. Indeed, this is likely the prettiest line that Zay has ever produced. The white top here is very folkloric, and the shawl and necklace enchantingly feminine--all garments that one could readily picture on a vintage doll. Note once again the blossom in Valerie's tresses. And consider that although the dwelling is weathered, it is not decayed or dark, but rather, still possesses warmth, and a faded beauty.

Click to enlarge

This image, showing Valerie dreamily reminiscing, is especially memorable. The weathered bannister is a fascinating visual element. Observe how the golden colour of the walls complements the pink hue of Valerie's garment. Here we see the only other trace of fullness in Valerie's figure, a suggestion of a curve at her waist.

Click to enlarge

Valerie has always possessed a talent for generating soft, dreamy poses--perfect for this campaign. Her look and posing style made her the herald of the present generation of doll-like models, such as Kelsey Olson and Kailee O'Sullivan, who are currently the industry's most popular starlets. Here Valerie adopts a languid, recumbent pose, her eyes expressing deep yearning. The top is very attractive, ideal for framing plus-size beauty, and the floral accessories are charming.

Click to enlarge

The girlish braid in Valerie's hair further plays up her doll-like aspect. The outfit is rather too loose, but evinces a trace of the model's buxom curves (hopefully genuine), and the neckline is pretty. Note again the lovely colour palette--the pink playing off of the tan/beige and the ivory. This particular image shows no trace of wear in the home, rather indicating its what its original elegance must have been like--a very feminine elegance, not a masculine kind, given the light shade and delicate pattern of the wallpaper.

Click to enlarge

Our favourite piece in the Zay collection is this authentic-looking peasant blouse, folk embroidery and all--truly resembling a top that a girl from Pomerania or Silesia or Masovia might have worn in past centuries. A fuller figure would have greatly benefitted the model in filling out the garment. The necklace is less attractive than the other accessories in this campaign. Be sure to click on the image to view it at a larger size, to note the enchanting detail in the embroidery, which convincingly resembles a hand-sewn design.

Click to enlarge

In this image, the distress to the house is most apparent, yet the dwelling still appears warm rather than dark or sinister. The juxtaposition of the elegant wallpaper and the bare wall is visually interesting. Both the rose wallpaper and the tan/beige wall provide fine colour backdrops for Valerie's lavender garment. The large blossom that the model wears is, of course, the focus of attention in the image, and absolutely makes the outfit. Note that it, and not Valerie's face, is in the horizontal centre of the image.

Click to enlarge

The only prop in any of these images which seems a tad out of place is the chair on which Valerie sits in the following picture. It appears a tad too contemporary--not modern, necessarily, but of a later date than the Victorian/Edwardian ambience of the dwelling. Perhaps the prop suits the image, though, for Valerie's outfit in this case is also the most contemporary of her various looks. The colour scheme that dominates the campaign recurs here as well--a lavender/pink jacket and white pants, set off by a muted backdrop. This is the only image in the promotion that shows exterior light streaming directly into the picture--and notice how Valerie has tilted her head to allow her tresses to drape toward the window, allowing the light to illuminate her hair and make it shine like spun gold.

Click to enlarge

Finally, this image shows an intriguingly distressed floral wallpaper pattern, with text revealed beneath. This time, the colour scheme is reversed, with the pink elements appearing in the flowers in the wallpaper, while Valerie's outfit is the more tan/earthen colour. Again, she resembles a posed doll.

Click to enlarge

Apart from featuring Zay Clothing's loveliest collection to date, this campaign is interesting from a purely aesthetic point of view. The concept of the distressed doll's house is highly original, and the execution is unique and appealing. Usually, when fashion capitalizes on a "decay" motif, it presents a dreary, ugly/"edgy" aesthetic that is visually off-putting, and makes the models and the clothing look terribly unappealing. Moreover "urban decay" themes have been done to death, to the point where they are worse than cliches; they are self-parodic. ("Another drug den.")

But this campaign shows how one can present a weathered look and maintain a very pretty aesthetic, preserving a certain amount of Victorian elegance, yet giving an edifice a quality of age, faced beauty, and even dignity. The domicile in these images still looks potentially inhabitable, merely in need of a little love and care. And in this context, the model almost seems like a ghost as much as a doll; or rather, a reincarnated Victorian girl, dressed in clothing that is contemporary, but still possesses many traditional feminine touches, just as her own doll-like appearance harkens back to the 19th-century notion of the "angel in the house."

What a pity, though, that Valerie isn't as full-figured as she once was. If she were, this would have been one of the finest campaigns of her career.

You can see more images in the Zay branch of the Zizzi site, linked below.

- Zay Clothing

Last edited by HSG : 24th February 2010 at 22:10.
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Old 25th February 2010   #2
Join Date: February 2009
Posts: 50
Default Re: Valerie: The Doll's House (Zay Clothing)

What an absolutely GORGEOUS campaign! The clothes are hit and miss, but the setting is perfection and the hair & make-up is divine. It's feminine and romantic and Valerie is in her element. STUNNING! BRAVO!
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Old 22nd March 2010   #3
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 28
Default Re: Valerie: The Doll's House (Zay Clothing)

I have to say, Valerie is one of my faves. she is soooooo exquisitely beautiful. I think her only peer is Charlotte Coyle. To me they both embody exquisite beauty.
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