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Old 2nd November 2007   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Valerie: A Return to Beauty (Dress Barn; Figure)

Could it really be true?

Could Valerie Lefkowitz--once the most popular of all plus-size models, before she tragically diminished herself--have regained her former beauty?

The first suggestion of such a possibility came with her heart-stopping recent Fashion Bug photograph. Then, Ford released new Polaroids, and listed Valerie with more womanly statistics.

Now, tantalizingly, the Ford site attributes even greater beauty to Valerie, identifying her as a truly goddesslike size 16/18.

Could this possibly represent Valerie's actual figure, rather than exemplifying the reprehensible (and inexcusable) industry practice of padding underweight models to make them look curvier?

The new Holiday 2007 promotion from Dress Barn is Valerie's greatest campaign in many seasons, and it doesn't answer the question conclusively--but it does, at least, admit the possibility.

This first image is utterly breathtaking--a masterpiece equal to Valerie's finest campaigns of yore. Her golden, doll-like tresses seem to glow with an angelic light. Her skin is as fair as that of a storybook princess. The waist tie binds just under the bust, defining the figure, and showing off the luscious beauty of Valerie's pear-shaped proportions. She gazes down, in affected modesty, knowing that every eye in the room is fixed on her, adoring her, in awe of her celestial yet womanly appearance.

Ms. Lefkowitz looks equally attractive in this image, which again, (even in the looser top,) identifies her pear-shaped proportions--the epitome of the Classical ideal. Note the healthy glow in her facial features, a glow that we haven't seen in Valerie's images in quite some time. It is that special glow which women acquire when they allow themselves to indulge and gain fuller curves. Could this herald the return of the entrancing Valerie of yore?

In the following image, one sees how perfectly the opulent setting harmonizes with the model's sumptuous beauty. As in the first picture, the Dress Barn garment has comfort in mind, with the sash fixed high, just below the bust and above the waist, allowing a curvy midriff, full abdomen, and generous hips to swell freely. The easy-chairs are visibly soft and plush, well upholstered and with extra cushions, suggesting that momentarily, right after this picture is taken, the model will sink into them and relax. The ornate stained-glass window in the background adds a feminine touch to the room, with its masculine, dark-oak wood panelling. Add to that the elegant carpet, and the result is an opulent setting of timeless elegance, testifying to the richer aesthetic of a past age--an age in which a goddess as womanly as Valerie would be acknowledged by all to be an unsurpassable beauty.

And finally, we come to this image, which causes us to take a cautionary step back and question whether those inexpressibly perfect stats (16/18 at 5'8) could actually be true. Valerie's facial features do not look as full as they did during the peak of her popularity, several seasons ago, yet the flowing top does admit the possibility of a curvy figure.

Again, one has to compliment Dress Barn on choosing a remarkable setting--but this company is renowned for choosing gorgeous locations for its shoots.

So in the end, fans are left cautiously optimistic. Certainly Valerie's agency measurements, as well as these photographs, invite speculation of a return to glory for this beloved model. But not until new test images emerge--or until Ms. Lefkowitz models attire that shows off more of her figure--will anyone know for sure.

Regardless, we must applaud the model and Dress Barn for producing one of the most captivating promotions in recent memory.

- Click here to see Valerie in the new Dress Barn book
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Old 5th November 2007   #2
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 633
Default Re: Valerie: A Return to Beauty (Dress Barn)

Valerie a 16/18? I can only say, I hope it's true. I hope so- very much. Valerie was an incredible inspiration when she was fuller-figured. Every shoot she did was so exciting, both gorgeous and size-positive. No one could match her range. To have her return to greatness would be a thrilling development.

These pictures are dazzling, and remind me of Valerie at her best. Maybe she has regained her curves! The images hold out that possiblity. The first posted page is especially beautiful- "princess-like curls," that's so very true.

The booklet also features a straight-size model on the facing page, and it's amazing how much more gorgeous Valerie is, with her womanly curves, than the other model. Valerie always proved the superiority of the figure with generous rondeur.

And you're right about the Dress Barn aesthetic. It's always been opulent and elegant, and the shapelier Valerie of this campaign looks like she belongs in this kind of rich, sumptuous environment.

I'll betting this will be the finest campaign of the Holiday season.
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Old 6th November 2007   #3
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Valerie: A Return to Beauty (Dress Barn)

The newest issue of Figure magazine is out, and apart from a pretty editorial by Kathryn Gamble with unidentified but attractive models, it's something of a disappointment. Rosie O'Donnell is on the cover (a more unfortunate cover choice could not be found), and, in a reprehensible development, an ad from a diet company has even wormed its way back into the pages of the magazine.

There is, however, a lingerie ad featuring Valerie Lefkowitz.

It's a lovely picture, although on the topic of "Is Valerie once again genuinely plus-size or not?" it would be hard to imagine a more inconclusive photo. Her beautiful arms look shapely, but the face is still thin, and the rest of the model's figure is hidden away.

In terms of theme, it is, however, a dazzlingly image. The model's fair skin and golden tresses harmonize with the delicate rosy hue of the apparel to create an exquisitely gentle colour palette. The cushions in the foreground, and the model's pose, enhance the theme of softness. The fire in the background adds a touch a warmth to the picture, which would otherwise have a cold flavour. Valerie's expression is enticingly demure.

Fashion Bug has a history of creating the finest commercial campaigns of any U.S. retailer, from its unforgettable 2001 campaign (featuring Shannon Marie at the peak of her beauty) to this lovely image. It's wonderful to see such an aesthetically accomplished ad in Figure, but a pity that the rest of the magazine is considerable less impressive.

Valerie's fans can be encouraged by the possibility that this advert was photographed a while ago, and the model may have regained more of her curves in the interim. We can only hope.

- Click here to view at a larger size

Last edited by HSG : 6th November 2007 at 15:06.
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Old 6th November 2007   #4
M. Lopez
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 587
Default Re: Valerie: A Return to Beauty (Dress Barn; Figure)

Although the aesthetic of both the Dress Barn and magazine pictures is beautiful, and Valerie is always brilliant model, I'm afraid that the hoped-for return to goddess status for Valerie may be wishful thinking - at least based on these pictures. Her facial features don't yet have the soft fullness that they once did, and the whole reason why the public has been asking for more generously-proportioned models is so that they would see full facial features as well.

Figure-wise, it's hard to be sure, and while I too am hopeful that Ford's exciting stats for Valerie might be true, I won't be convined until further images make it undeniable.

Valerie at size 16/18 would be breathtaking.
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Old 17th November 2007   #5
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 238
Default Re: Valerie: A Return to Beauty (Dress Barn; Figure)

I do hope the stats are true. Regardless, both the Dress Barn and Figure images are gorgeous, and Valerie is unquestionably creating her finest pictures in many seasons.

I really like the Fashion Bug ad. It may not be conclusive figure-wise, but it's a soft and lovely image rather than coldly clinical, the way some of Figure's lingerie editorials have been. It's a bit demure, and in a lingerie image, that's an attractive element.

The Dress Barn campaign is definitely the finest promotion of the season, and that first image, with Valerie in the grey top, is breathtaking. Her silhouette presents the attractive "guitar" shape (to use the phrase from the "Curvy Cola-Bottle" song) that fans hope Valerie has. That, and her fairy-tale curls, give her a 19th-century kind of beauty that fits in perfectly with the opulent, Old World setting.
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