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Old 1st November 2005   #1
HSG
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Default Vol Magazine: The Dutch MODE


Speaking of full-figure fashion in Holland, we just received our first issue of a Dutch publication titled Vol Magazine, and it appears to be positioned to do for the plus-size industry in The Netherlands what Mode did for the U.S.

Vol is published six times a year, and this is, in fact, the fourth issue of the magazine (Sept/Oct 2005). The 118-page (!) publication exhibits astonishingly fine production values, and is printed on high-quality, glossy paper stock.

The first and most important question that one needs to ask about Vol, or about any plus-size publication, was recently answered by vivelesrondes.com (a French plus-size portal). As the editor of that Web site reported:

Peter Burghoudt le rédacteur en chef et initiateur de Vol déclare : «Nous avons reçu des offres énormes pour placer des publicités pour tous types de produits de régime dans ce magazine, mais ce n'est pas ce que nous voulons.»

Roughly translated, this means:

Peter Burghoudt the chief editor and originator of Vol declares: "We received huge offers to give advertising for any types of diet products in this magazine, but that is not what we want."

In other words--no diet ads.

Bravo!

Now, in terms of visual quality, the magazine earns a mixed review. At the moment, most of the models appear to be local girls from the two top Dutch agencies--Ego's Models, and Euromodel.nl--where the talent pool is only so deep. However, Charlotte Coyle recently signed with Ego's Models, so unless the magazine strictly casts continental talent, let's hope that we see her in a future issue of Vol.

The other problem confronting Vol is indicated by the above cover. Plus-size fashion in Europe is currently far less progressive than in the U.S., and the "New Femininity" is only beginning to make its presence felt, so the styles are generally more matronly than one would like.

On the other hand, the photography is surprisingly good. And note the cover cut line: "De Nieuwste Mode in 42, 44, 46, 48 . . ." Not only is this an obvious reference to Mode's famous slogan ("Style in Sizes 12, 14, 16 . . ."), but the models in Vol do, in fact, embody those sizes. Therefore, this is not a publication of faux-plus amazons, but of genuinely full-figured goddesses.

We would be remiss not to leave you with a sample of this magazine's visual content, so we have scanned three pages of the issue's finest editorial--a bridal-lingerie layout.

Seeing as these are lingerie images, and as such, not to everyone's taste, we will offer text links to the images, rather than posting them directly. Anyone who does not care for lingerie imagery is asked to give the links a pass.

Image 1:
- Click here to view small size
- Click here to view large size

Image 2:
- Click here to view small size
- Click here to view large size

Image 3:
- Click here to view small size
- Click here to view large size

The model in all three images is Laetitia, a gorgeous size-44 goddess (U.S. size 14?) represented by Euromodel.nl. And for the sake of more conservative readers, here is a severely-cropped glimpse of one of the pages. Note the model's lovely, Sarah-Brightman-like hairstyle. Based on these tears, we must affirm that she is certainly a talent to watch--especially in Europe, where gorgeous models are few and far between.

The image indicates what makes this layout so successful. Lingerie editorials are by far the greatest challenges for fashion photographers, since the line between sensuality and vulgarity is treacherously thin. And even if lingerie images do not descend to the level of trashiness, they can all-too-easily become cold, clinical depictions of human anatomy, like today's ubiquitous "reality" campaigns, which are more suitable for physiology textbooks than for fashion magazines.

But the Vol layout is soft and dream-like. The images unabashedly reveal the fullness of the models' figures, but they do so in a graceful way--though soft-focus lenses, and gentle lighting. The settings are opulent and comfortable, and the mood is relaxed and languorous.

* * *

Lacking a working knowledge of Dutch, it is impossible for the present author to assess the non-visual content of this magazine--although Vol's article about "Hot Berlin" certainly features some wonderful photographs of Europe's most fascinating city. (What a shame that Vol is not published in an English-language edition.)

But in a magazine such as this, the visual content is what matters most, and based on the bridal-lingerie editorial noted above, Vol certainly exhibits promise. If, in the future, it features more subversively attractive models, and perhaps spotlights more feminine/romantic/goddesslike attire, it could do much to initiate size celebration in Europe, just as Mode did in North America.


Last edited by HSG : 1st November 2005 at 02:05.
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Old 1st November 2005   #2
Emily
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Default Re: Vol Magazine: The Dutch MODE

I adore that lingerie editorial. It's like a dream-sequence in a romantic movie. And I think Laetitia has an absolutely beautiful figure. I especially appreciate the fact that the magazine chose, in her, a model who has such a soft and natural figure, rather than what we see with some models, who look so artificially aerobicized that they resemble steroid-taking members of the women's swimming teams from the old communist bloc. Laetitia more closely resembles the goddesses in Old Master paintings -- which is especially fitting for a Dutch magazine, since so many great painters were from the Low Countries.

Is there any way to obtain a subscription to this magazine?
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Old 1st November 2005   #3
tkds
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Default Re: Vol Magazine: The Dutch MODE

Wow. That's just incredible. And there is no way that 42, 44, 46, 48, . . . got there by accident. Whoever is producing this publication is clearly familiar with MODE and seeks to model VOL on the best years of MODE. Even the dreamy lingerie editorial is reminiscent of a MODE editorial that featured Barbara Brickner. What is in the brown circle on the cover? Something about chocolate? Sexy girls have dessert, so do sexy Dutch girls enjoy their chocolate? This is a vision of the world I can definitely share!
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Old 2nd November 2005   #4
HSG
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Default Re: Vol Magazine: The Dutch MODE


It's funny that you should refer to that circle, because Kirsten (who has a working knowledge of Dutch) also noted this feature. The circle indicates that the issue contains an "insert" devoted to . . . chocolate. Only after Kirsten pointed this out did we discover that such an insert had, indeed, been included with our copy of Vol.

And what an insert! It is, in fact, an entirely separate 60-page magazine of its own, approximately half the size of a standard 8.5"x11" magazine, but printed on the same high-quality glossy paper stock that one sees in Vol itself.

The theme of the supplement is nothing less than a full-fledged celebration of chocolate, in every form imaginable. In addition to many fashion editorials showcasing chocolate-hued attire (as the cover indicates), it includes pages upon pages of desserts, cakes, candies, and other delicacies.

The issue also features a clever accessories editorial that groups items according to "flavour"-themed colours, such as "dark chocolate" for dark brown, "milk chocolate," for off-white, "butterscotch" (as seen below), and others.

It even features cosmetics layout that is similarly organized according to a chocolate theme:

Furthermore, the supplement includes another travel article about a European city, this time spotlighting Antwerp. And in case you're wondering, that palace-like structure in the illustration below is actually Antwerp's main train station. The unrestrained opulence of this 19th-century Historicist marvel harmonizes perfectly with the decadent, lavish tone of the entire issue.

(We felt compelled to post this page at a larger size.)

In this supplement, Vol clearly intends to capture some of the the "Pleasure Zone" quality of the original Mode, along with its unapologetic celebration of La dolce vita ("the sweet life"). We have never seen the quintessentially feminine love of food and fashion integrated in such a chic and delightful way. One would almost think that this supplement was a special project designed to transform every self-denying modern waif back into a full-figured Baroque goddess.

(Could there possibly be a better goal?)

The only shortcoming of Vol remains its glaring lack of truly gorgeous models. This is truly an unfortunate drawback, and it severely limits Vol's subversive power. If only Vol's models were more aesthetically remarkable, it would indisputably be one of the finest plus-size projects ever created.

* * *

Those of you who have asked about subscribing to Vol might wish to enlist the services of a wonderful and friendly enterprise called "Typical Dutch Stuff" (www.typicaldutchstuff.com). We obtained our own subscription to Vol via this company, and the first issue arrived well-packaged and in perfect condition. Obviously aimed at Dutch emigrees nostalgic for reminiscences of the Old Country, TypicalDutchStuff.com has a quaintness that is most appealing.


Last edited by HSG : 26th November 2005 at 10:11.
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