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Old 6th March 2009   #1
HSG
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Default The Final Figure, with Yanderis


Those who have been ruing the demise of Figure will be even more saddened when they see the magazine's wonderful final issue. For the first time since the beginning of its run, Figure is not only free of any diet ads (an absolute prerequisite for any plus-size magazine), but also free of the low-calorie food ads that it regularly contained, which were scarcely less regrettable. While not as pernicious as outright diet ads, such low-calorie propaganda still contradicted the publication's size-positive message. With those ads gone, the last Figure gives us the magazine as it should have been from the beginning.

Better still, the final issue includes a gorgeous fashion editorial shot by Kathryn Gamble, featuring the lovely Yanderis. As Figure's best photographer, Gamble has been to Figure what Michel Arnaud was to Mode. Almost all of the great Figure editorials, particularly those with Kelsey Olson and Yanderis, were shot by Ms. Gamble. Her work has been fully Mode-worthy, and consequently, while Figure never quite equalled Mode, its best photography was absolutely comparable to that of Mode at its finest. And in fact, Figure at its best was far better than Mode was toward the end of its run, when it had degenerated into a faux-plus precursor of the reviled Grace.

This reunion of Yanderis and Gamble takes Figure full circle. The first issue of Figure that appeared after Meredith Publishing took over the magazine in 2006 also featured an editorial with Yanderis photographed by Ms. Gamble. Said editorial, called "Romantic Lines," and shot at a Southern plantation, was probably the best layout that Figure ever created, and every bit as good as anything Mode ever produced. Therefore, it is highly fitting that for Figure's last hurrah, readers once again get to see Yanderis through Gamble's lens.

The new editorial, called "Prints Charming," is not quite on the level of "Romantic Lines," but is still extremely beautiful, and at least two of its images are indisputably Mode-worthy. The first page is, in fact, one of the loveliest images of Yanderis's career, and should have provided the issue with its cover. The dress (a delicate, feminine Fashion Bug item) is exceptionally pretty for Figure. Notice how the photographer has skillfully shot the item against a lively background that reinforces the floral-print theme.

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Yanderis looks exquisitely soft and delicious in this image. There isn't a hint of unsightly muscle tone on her figure--all is soft, sensual fullness. Her expression is captivating: a look of delight and of appetite, a joyful desire for food and for love. "She wants..." is the thought that Yanderis places in the viewer's mind. Her shoulders look soft, her arms alluringly full. There is fullness in her face as well. Her parted lips invite a kiss. The hairstyle is a highly flirtatious do (perfect for the image). Her necklace is tropical, suggesting the model's identity as a bird of paradise, a creature who exists solely for pleasure, and never exerts herself, but lives a good-time life of fun and frolic. The way in which the strap of her dress is slipping off her shoulder is breathtakingly sexy, a visual cue of invitation. Her pose seems to welcome an embrace.

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The image is a masterpiece in which the model's soft beauty, her pose and expression, the hairstyling, the wardrobe, and the background all come together to create an aesthetically harmonious whole, epitomizing soft femininity.

Scarcely less gorgeous is the following two-page spread. Plus-size models invariably look most attractive in sitting or recumbent positions (as in these two images), which suggest an intoxicating indolence on their part. This pose suggests the alluring heaviness of the model's figure. However, the image also captures the sense of fun seen in the previous image, albeit with a somewhat more leisurely spirit. Here, the goddess looks partially satiated, yet still wants more. The clothing is quite appealing--a feminine skirt and a pretty top that is attractive both for its vibrant pink colour and for the ruffles around the neck. The hair scarf is an inspired bit of styling, a playful touch that adds colour to the ensemble.

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If we move in closer, we find that the image is even more captivating. The sash at the midriff--gently embracing rather than constricting--is remarkably expansive, and suggests the generous width of the model's waist. The image does not disguise the sensual fullness of Yanderis's midsection. Her figure seems substantial and sensually weighty. Her buxom contours are evident, and her facial features appear full. The model's expression is a delightfully self-satisfied grin, with a glimmer of mischief in her eyes. Her life of ease and play clearly agrees with her.

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A third image photographed against the backdrop is also pretty, but is marred by the unattractively chaotic print of the skirt. The casual top and sweater are quite appealing, though.

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This relaxed smile from Yanderis is a very natural expression. It creates the impression that the photograph was incidental, a snapshot taken almost before the model knew that the camera was focussed on her. (Creating an illusion of spontaneity demands considerable skill on a model's part.)

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The other two pages in this editorial are less successful, as the wardrobe is not as pleasing, and the background is more modern (and therefore less attractive). Still, both Ms. Gamble and Yanderis do what they can with it, and present it as well as anyone could.

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The big, open-mouthed smile from the model here is all kinds of fun. Yanderis is several years removed from her debut campaign for Addition-Elle, but she still retains her youthful charm.

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The following page closes out the editorial. The accessories help make the best of the situation. The necklace is very well colour-coordinated, and the earring is quite unique.

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Yanderis's smile makes the whole picture worthwhile.

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Besides the editorial, the final page of the final Figure offers a little write-up about Yanderis, including the following blurb:

Yanderis' Favourite Things

In front of the camera, a model's all about the fashion feature. But we asked "Prints Charming" model Yanderis Lodos about her personal style after the shoot is done.

Lodos is no slave to fashion. "I don't follow trends: I make up my own!" explains the native and current resident of Miami. Lodos got her modelling start at a radio-promoted modelling-acting call eight years ago. She hopes to pick up acting, but loves the excitement of getting into "character" on a shoot. Her Cuban heritage probably plays a part in the girly touches Lodos adds to her style: dramatic eyeliner and fitted tops for dressier occasions.

You may click on the following image (as you can click on any of the other pictures in this thread) to view it at a larger, more readable size.

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* * *

This editorial, and the absence of any diet-related material, sends Figure magazine off with dignity. As a whole, it never quite equalled Mode at its best, but it was definitely visually superior to Mode at its poorest. Furthermore, its very best editorials--which appeared approximately once every two issues--were every bit as good as Mode's finest.

The textual content, on the other hand, was always something of a liability to the magazine, and was never as size-positive as it could have been. In this respect, Figure's record was somewhat spotty.

What Figure did provide, though--and this is priceless--was a waif-free environment, a magazine free of any underweight models, and wholly populated by genuinely full-figured girls. And that is the most important criterion of all.

Token plus-size images or editorials in magazines that are otherwise filled with androgynous anorexics cannot make up for the absence of an all-plus magazine. It would takes dozens of such token appearances in Seventeen or Glamour to make up even one issue of Figure. That's why, for all that we celebrate such token appearances when they occur, they are no substitute for a 100% plus-size publication. And for that reason, Figure's downfall is a severe setback to the cause, and is deeply to be regretted.

One can only hope that a new plus-size print magazine will appear in the near future. Such a magazine can learn from Figure--particularly from its use of true plus-size models. However, it can also reject those aspects of Figure that made it less beloved than Mode (the distinguishing features of which we itemized in our interview of 2007).

Farewell, Figure. You will be dearly missed--perhaps not as much as Mode, but far more than the unlamented Grace. Size-celebration will be much poorer without you.

If there were any chance for Charming Shoppes to reconsider closing this magazine, we wish that it would.

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Old 6th March 2009   #2
tkds
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Default Re: The Final Figure, with Yanderis

The truly beautiful woman, who cherishes and luxuriates in her beauty, does not become less beautiful as she ages. She retains her youthful charm, and adds layers of nuance and sophistication with each year, and she can combine all of those in whatever proportion she chooses. She knows when to turn up the temperature -- and she has the confidence to set the dial a few degrees warmer. Yanderis is clearly such a woman. This editorial is absolutely stunning. It helps that the clothes are springtime garden party fare; such clothes are naturally so pretty and feminine. But Miss Yanderis is upstaging the very flowers themselves.
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