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Old 27th November 2006   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Ribbons and bows

No, this is not an anticipatory Christmas post, and we will not be discussing how to wrap holiday gifts.

Rather, we have in mind a particular type of hair accessory that was--in a better time--one of the most popular adornments of feminine beauty, and very much deserves to make a comeback.

A tour of the Torrid site turned up the following image of Miss Olson looking utterly ravishing wearing a pair of "bow barrettes." It is simply remarkable how much these diminutive accessories add to her loveliness:

Click to view product page

There was a time, of course, when ribbons and bows were staples of feminine dress--for women of all classes, both noble and common. The effect of these items upon male viewers was legendary, for men in every era have found such girlish adornments irresistible.

Picture postcards from the early 1900s often show young ladies--not just girls, but young women of courtship age--looking enchanting with these hair adornments.

Regular readers of this forum may even recall that we once discussed a scene in the third Lord of the Rings film, in which Frodo's travelling companion, Sam, overcomes despair in the midst of Mordor by holding onto a recollection of his beloved Rosie Cotton--who, he recalls fondly, "had ribbons in her hair." That one particular detail lingers in Sam's memory, like an idée fixe, and gives him solace when he needs it most.

Part of the popularity of this style was due to the fact that it offered innumerable variations. In vintage images, sometimes a bow appears by itself,

while in other cases, the bow ties off a ribbon that has a functional as well as a decorative purpose--holding in place a goddess's thick, luxuriant tresses.

Such an arrangement is doubly seductive. The enraptured viewer knows that it would take but a tug of the bow to loosen the ribbon, allowing the damsel's tresses to spill over her bare shoulders, in a golden cascade.

And sometimes, a ribbon is embellished not with a bow, but with another captivating hair ornament, such as a garland, or a flower.

For the most adorable effect of all, both accessories occasionally appear together.

But perhaps that is too lavish a look--at least for now, until ribbons and bows make a bona fide comeback as a popular trend. In the meantime, Torrid offers rather subtle variations on this theme, such as the barrettes in the top image, or the "Black Satin Bow Headwrap" shown below, which is chic and elegant as well as pretty.

Click to view product page

It would be wonderful to see these timeless accessories re-emerge in contemporary fashion. If they do, young women will be astonished at how much these feminine touches help them capture men's hearts. And models like Kelsey are ideally suited for showcasing these enchanting items, as plus-size goddesses exhibit precisely the sort of soft, unmodern beauty that perfectly compliments these eternally beautiful designs.

(Paintings by Angelo Asti and Emile Vernon, reproduced as vintage postcards.)

Last edited by HSG : 28th November 2006 at 17:47.
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Old 28th November 2006   #2
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Default Re: Ribbons and bows

I agree that ribbons and bows make lovely hair accessories. It would be wonderful to see them return in a big way. I can imagine talented designers giving them a novel spin, just as other timeless styles, like peasant blouses, have been reinterpreted via the New Feminininty in fashion.

It's amazing how pretty all of the ladies in these vintage paintings and postcards look. They have lovely eyes and long beautiful hair of course, but what really distinguishes them from today's supposed icons of attractiveness is that these women look well-nourished. They look fed, in other words. Just by their soft, full, gorgeous faces, you can see that they didn't starve themselves. They look radiant and satiated, and comfortable with themselves.

It's also remarkable how much Kelsey resembles them. She truly is a reincarnation of that kind of timeless beauty. Both of these headshots of Kelsey are simply breathtaking.

I found one more example of Kelsey modelling bow barrettes at Torrid, and it's a stunning headshot as well, but these bows have a "leopard" print, and I prefer the solid red and the black:
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Old 28th November 2006   #3
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Join Date: January 2006
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Default Re: Ribbons and bows

You all would like Sweden now, I think. We often wear ribbons and roses and satin bands and everything in our hair, and wrapped around our waists. We wear girly dresses even for weekdays.

We have frills and laces and red lipstick and curled opulent hair. The fashion here is really beautiful right now.

But then there is the sad part, the dresses are made for thin bodies. So the girls and women that would look the most beautiful in the dresses are cut out from the fashion that would really suit them. The dresses don't suit those thin persons. They would suit girls like Kelsey or Kailee a lot more.
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Old 28th November 2006   #4
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Ribbons and bows

There is, of course, another way in which black ribbons and bows are sometimes used for an equally provocative effect: when they adorn the lovely neck of a fair damsel.

In From Russia with Love (1957), the finest of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, (which also translated into the best Bond film ever made,) 007 becomes ensnared by Fleming's most irresistible, most girlish vixen, the Russian agent Tatiana Romanova.

In the novel's famous seduction scene, Bond finds Tatiana languishing indolently in the bed of his hotel room. 007 is caught off guard, and asks the Russian beauty,

"What have you got on?"

She pulled the sheet a fraction lower to show a quarter-inch black velvet ribbon round her neck. "This."

Bond looked down into the teasing blue eyes, now wide as if asking if the ribbon was inadequate . . .

Just how instrumental that particular bewitching detail, that black ribbon, is to Bond's entrapment by this angelic foe is revealed later in the book, when 007 berates himself for having succumbed to Tatiana's soft charms. Angry at his own naivete, Bond imagines what his Soviet foes must have said to themselves, when setting him up for his conquest:

"Comrades, it is easy with a vain fool like this Bond. Watch him take the bait. You will see. I tell you he is a fool. All Englishmen are fools." And Tatiana--the lure. The darling lure. Bond thought of their first night. The black stockings and the velvet ribbon . . .

The image of the black ribbon against Tatiana's fair skin remains fixed in 007's mind, even when her foreign allegiance has been revealed.

And it just so happens that, thanks to MXM, we have an example of a plus-size model, (and a blue-eyed beauty like Tatania,) Kailee O'Sullivan, exhibiting the irresistible draw of this fashion accessory. This is not quite Kailee's best MXM image, but it still captures the feminine enchantment of a ribbon-and-bow combination.

Whether they are used as hair adornments, or to draw attention to a vixen's lovely neck, ribbons and bows are singularly alluring items of feminine dress--especially as exhibited on timeless beauties such as Kelsey and Kailee. It would be wonderful to see these accessories become wardrobe staples in the coming season.

Last edited by HSG : 30th October 2012 at 12:43.
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Old 29th November 2006   #5
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Default Re: Ribbons and bows

Originally Posted by HSG
007 becomes ensnared by Fleming's most irresistible, most girlish vixen, the Russian agent Tatiana Romanova.

Not to get too off-topic here, but I definitely agree that From Russia with Love is the best of the Bond movies. It was only the second one filmed (after Dr. No), and every subsequent installment made 007 more cartoonish, and the plots sillier.

What no one seems to understand is that while it is important to make Bond himself gritty and relentless (as the latest film apparently does), it's just as crucial that the so-called "Bond girls" be soft and feminine, by contrast. Ursula Andress had this quality in Dr. No, as did Tatiana in From Russia with Love, and their soft touch complimented Bond's hard edge.

The more masculinized the Bond girls have become (especially in the last two decades), the more the films have become pointless - reduced to being just another variety of dull, mindless "action" features, with actresses' stunt doubles performing ridiculous fight sequences.

But I digress. The original point of the thread is very true - ribbons and bows really are bewitching accessories, especially when they tie back masses of gorgeous hair...
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Old 15th December 2006   #6
M. Lopez
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Default Re: Ribbons and bows

Just a tip - Torrid has a new bow barette style, also modeled by Kelsey, in a really beautiful headshot:

Her facial features look soft and lovely, and her skin very fair.

It would be wonderful to see ribbons, bows, etc. become popularized in fashion, especially in the way they were worn in those old postcards. Perhaps these little modern accessories are a step towards reviving that very pretty aesthetic.
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