|11th January 2011||#1|
Join Date: July 2005
Courtney: Runway in Arcadia
As most of you will have heard, Lane Bryant is sponsoring a plus-size fashion convention in Nevada on the weekend of February 18th to 20th. The company has launched a model search for this event, offering the winner an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas to walk in a major runway show that promises to be the highlight of the convention. Entries are accepted in the form of YouTube videos showcasing the contestants' best runway walks.
Courtney Legare (née Courtney Hanneman), whom readers may remember from her modelling work and from her popular Functional Girl column, is among the many hopefuls who have entered this contest. However, for her submission video, she decided to do something creative and original. Instead of merely filming a catwalk clip, she situated her runway footage within a captivating 60-second styling tutorial:
The video was shot by director Ray Bengston (www.eyekool.com) and camerman Alex Mongiello, who used cinema-quality HD equipment to give it an extraordinarily professional look.
The video begins with Courtney (a.k.a. "C.J. Legare") describing each item of her outfit, from her ornate necklace to her opulent ring. Notice, as she displays her ring, the adorably sensual detail of the dimples at the model's knuckles--a trait that is unique to true plus-size goddesses.
An inset shot highlights the glittering golden shoes with which Courtney punctuates her outfit. The entire video looks and sounds like an excerpt from a professional TV styling show, thanks to the model's convincing delivery and the top-notch production values.
An even better use of cutaway footage appears a moment later, as Courtney is seen in a runway segment that should guarantee her admission onto any professional catwalk. It shows her doing a confident, fluid modelling march that is of haute-couture calibre.
What distinguishes this model from the faux-plus girls who populate all too many plus-size runway shows is that Courtney is a robust size 18/20 (as she proudly declares in the video), and the video boldly celebrates her luscious curves.
The enchanting outdoor setting helps to create the video's gorgeous look, with the rich greenery playing off against Courtney's red tresses, which are lit on fire by the sunlight and seem to move with a life of their own.
Just for good measure, the clip concludes with a full-screen segment of Courtney performing her commanding catwalk strut. Notice that the lines of the sidewalk subconsciously echo a fashion runway.
The footage demonstrates the aesthetic advantage of having a legitimately full-figured girl walking the catwalk, given the seductive commotion in her figure as she walks. A 19th-century writer once described similar undulating movement in Lillian Russell's rounded body as "so many sonnets of motion."
Although the backdrop is a contemporary streetscape, the stonework gives it a more classical feel than a bleaker, steel-framed modernist setting would exhibit. Courtney's walk is polished and graceful--a professional runway gait, but persuasively interpreted by a true plus-size model.
Courtney's submission video has already received hundreds of views on YouTube, but the Judgment of Paris has been granted the exclusive privilege of sharing an extra treat with the public. It is our pleasure to present a host of fascinating outtakes from the shooting of Courtney's clip, as well as behind-the-scenes footage that was captured by a second camera with the express purpose of documenting the filming process.
The unique beauty of truly full-figured models derives from the fact that they display soft fullness in every aspect of their persons, including plump hands and rounded fingers. Plus-size women should be proud of these alluring features, which are so much prettier than the tough, bony digits that androgynous models exhibit. Such "man hands" betoken either hard labour or starvation, while the soft, feminine hands of plus-size models suggest lives of ease and indulgence.
Aficionados of timeless beauty will particularly enjoy the following pair of clips, which feature the breathtaking outdoor footage of Courtney doing her runway walk that was incorporated into the video's inset sequence.
If anything, Courtney's walk is even better in these segments than in the streetscape scene that closes the submission video.
This footage was shot early in the morning, so the lush foliage glows with the kind of transcendental emerald light that we raved about in last year's "Natural Beauty" post.
The model's succulent figure harmonizes perfectly with the fecund beauty of this idyllic dreamscape. The camera lingers over her every sumptuous curve as she performs her catwalk turn.
This footage seems like a glimpse of a better world than our own, a world where fashion is personified by well-fed goddesses, not starving waifs, and where bucolic verdure, not blighted urban cityscapes, are seen as the ideal backdrops to showcase feminine beauty.
The videos show Courtney performing her runway walk flawlessly, time and again, varying her arm positions and movements, but always exhibiting confident command and maintaining the even facial expression that is required on the runway for photographers to snap multiple still images. (Even many of the so-called "top" plus-size models have difficulty mastering this skill, as indicated by last year's One Stop Plus show.)
What makes these segments so effective is that they convey everything that plus-size fashion imagery ideally should convey--a fashionable display of the clothing as well as a seductive celebration of curvaceous femininity.
Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to pick out the specific take that was employed in Courtney's submission video, particularly when the model's tresses swirl in tongues of fire as she dramatically tosses her head during her catwalk turn.
We reiterate our oft-stated dictum that plus-size models absolutely must maintain long hair.
All told, we get to see five splendid runway walks from Courtney (fully demonstrating her consistency),
each punctuated by a breathtaking catwalk turn.
This may be the first time that a size-18/20 goddess has ever been filmed to look beautiful in cinematic-quality high-definition photography. The result is a sight to behold.
But wait--there's more. While the main camera filmed Courtney's walk at eye level, another camera recorded the same segment from a dramatically lower angle.
This footage gives the model an imposing, statuesque quality, as if one were gazing upwards at a towering monument to a Classical deity.
The lower angle also provides a lovely view of the model's shapely legs. No faux-plus girl could show off this footwear nearly as well, since the model's full, fleshy limbs, attractively sheathed in tights, complement the rounded contours of the golden shoes.
Two more videos from this "enchanted garden" session show tight close-ups of the model. The first clip features a number of takes meant to be used as more cutaway footage,
while the second shows the model striking a number of captivating poses associated with still photography.
Among the most notable moments in these clips is this uniquely sincere smile (caught while the model was responding to the director and not consciously posing),
as well as this fiery flourish of her hair, which contrasts so richly with the emerald vegetation,
along with this magnificent stance, in which the teeming abundance of nature harmonizes perfectly with the model's sumptuous fullness.
The cameramen clearly appreciated Courtney's voluptuous contours and took every opportunity to celebrate them.
Genuinely full-figured models display sensual softness in every aspect of their beings, which is why they are so instrumental to size-celebration. "Real" women possess countless visible traits of fullness, so when true plus-size models exhibit such features as well, they demonstrate that such soft characteristics are not detrimental to beauty, but enhance it.
This image, for example, has Courtney once again displaying the adorable dimples at the knuckles that are so characteristic of visibly curvaceous girls.
Just for good measure, here is another pretty headshot from the video,
as well as one more glimpse pf the model's buxom curves.
Alas, at some point, we must all leave the celestial paradise of our dreams and return to terrestrial reality. The next set of videos, while lacking the Arcadian setting of the preceding clips, are still worth a view for their celebration of the model's luxurious size-18/20 dimensions. The first segment shows the raw footage that was edited into the conclusion of Courtney's submission video. Notice the difference in colour tint from the edited version.
This segment offers a longer view of Courtney's splendid runway walk, along with fine glimpses of her shapely, stocking-clad legs.
The runway turns (which were not included in the submission video) offer further size-positive views of the model's generous proportions. A faux-plus model on the runway is merely a reinforcement of the "thinner is better" myth, but a legitimately full-figured goddess shows full-figured women that all curves are gorgeous.
A close-up video offers a glimpse into the creative process that went into producing the final, polished result.
Some of the loveliest views of the model appear between takes, as she composes herself for subsequent shooting,
or in happenstance instances that present themselves during the filming process.
This "cityscape" session includes another video showing the model adopting a host of still-photography poses:
Particularly engaging is this come-hither, flirtatious glance, which Courtney directs towards the camera.
The following hand-in-the-hair shot is equally bewitching, not only because of the model's coy expression, but also due to the visible fullness of her forearm. Again we see how an authentically curvaceous model can advance the cause of size-celebration with every aspect of her person and via all manner of poses. A photograph with a true plus-size model need not even be a deliberate attempt at indicating fullness to achieve a size-positive effect.
The contrast between the model's well-fed, voluptuous figure and the narrow frame of the stick-thin mannequin in the window should not escape anyone's notice. This juxtaposition opposes the emaciated standard of the modern fashion world with the bountiful, generous ideal of timeless beauty. Naturally, Courtney's body gives her dress a far more attractive shape than the deficient proportions of the mannequin ever could.
Rather than filming a mere catwalk short on a cell phone, Courtney creatively incorporated her footage into a fully professional styling video, one in which she boldly declared her size-18/20 proportions and defined them via a fitted wrap dress. Besides demonstrating her runway prowess, the video also indicates what an accomplished stylist and communicator she is, with a TV-ready voice and polished delivery.
Last edited by HSG : 11th January 2011 at 18:57.
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