|5th May 2011||#1|
Join Date: July 2005
Alexandra in Wonderland
Our last encounter with Alexandra Newton saw this Australian plus-size model taking full advantage of her fairy-tale beauty by personifying a curvaceous Cinderella. Surely when the Brothers Grimm imagined their ideal Aschenputtel, they had someone very much like Miss Newton in mind.
We are now pleased to be able to share another quasi-editorial that Alexandra shot not long before she was signed with Bella Model Management. In this photo session, Miss Newton takes on the guise of the eponymous heroine from Lewis Carroll's literary classic, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). This Pantomime Photography shoot vividly brings Carroll's text to life, illustrating many of the book's most famous moments, yet also succeeding as a fashion story.
We should be clear: the premise of a full-figured Alice is not without precedent. In Disney's classic film adaptation, Alice is depicted as one of the loveliest of all of the company's famous princesses: a fair-haired, blue-eyed Saxon girl. Although her arms and upper body are conventionally slim, she exhibits attractively plump legs, whose contours are clearly shaped by soft fullness rather than by even a hint of unattractive muscle tone.
This still from the film suggests that not only does Alice have appealingly full legs, but that she has the making of a pear-shaped figure, and will someday blossom into a lusciously proportioned young woman.
Thus, Alexandra's images offer a plausible and beautiful portrayal of a future-tense Alice, a Disney princess who has grown up to become a voluptuous vixen, yet who still retains the innocent prettiness of her youth. As we have noted before, Alexandra is very convincing in narrative contexts, and her Alice exhibits fetchingy troubled, vulnerable looks that give her the quality of a woman-child, a girl who is both childlike and mature all at once. The wardrobe styling is perfect: an alluring, figure-baring update of Alice's signature pale-blue dress, along with that enchanting black ribbon in her hair. Her peaches-and-cream complexion establishes her as the English Rose that Alice is meant to be.
Observe the intriguing contrast in models in the following image, which shows our Alice pursuing the novel's rabbit character (here incarnated in human form). Rather than differentiating the models by hair colour or by complexion, the photographer allows the girls' disparate bodies to distinguish the two and to tell the story. The fact that the plus-size model contrasts so vividly with the rabbit-model simply on the basis of her physicality indicates the visual effectiveness of employing full-figured models in fashion editorials. Alexandra appears soft and well-fed, her opulent figure betokening fecundity and femininity, compared to the androgynous rabbit-model. The rabbit-model's attire is masculine, in contrast to Alexandra's dress, which showcases her buxom womanliness. Alexandra personifies a sensually spoiled young princess, used to indulging herself freely, living an easygoing, pampered existence--a sheltered life into which this "rabbit" introduces the first unsettling element of risk.
The next image shows Alexandra imbibing the potion that opens the doorway into deeper levels of strangeness on Alice's journey. Notice the hesitation that the model cleverly records in her facial features. She communicates her character's awareness that after she quaffs the contents of this vial, there is no going back, and she will enter into a new realm of understanding. One thinks of Eve pausing before biting the apple in Eden. The photographer skillfully includes in the frame a glimpse of the model's buxom décolletage, allowing the image to be read as a young girl's journey into womanhood, the imperilment of her innocence.
One manner of threat to girlish innocence comes, of course, from questionable male advances, especially if we interpret Alexandra's narrative in this editorial as betokening the predicament of a buxom young woman whose precocious physical charms are, for the first time in her life, attracting unsolicited attention from men. The fellow in the following image obviously personifies the hookah-smoking caterpillar from the novel. With his odd hairstyle and fanciful clothing, he forms a pointed contrast to the alluringly voluptuous but still trim and proper Alexandra, like a clash between the modern and the traditional, between degenerate counterculture and Victorian sensibility. Although exhibiting a soft appearance with her fleshy arms, Alexandra's attitude clearly indicates that she is unimpressed by the narcotic-pushing caterpillar Lothario, and her innate sense of morality allows her to avoid this particular threat.
Alexandra's next encounter is with a stratospheric Queen of Hearts, who forms a pointed contrast with Miss Newton in her physical appearance: brunette rather than blonde, narrow instead of curvaceous, with androgynous features as opposed to Alexandra's baby-faced beauty. The monarch's excessive height allows the photographer, for a moment, to cast our Alice back into the role of a little girl. Given the contrast between Miss Newton's well-fed figure and the Queen's flapper-like frame, one could easily read this image as symbolizing the clash between timeless femininity and the artificial mold that dominates the fashion world: an overly tall, underfed, freakishly dressed androgyne versus a soft, naturally proportioned, well-fed girl garbed in a traditionally feminine manner of dress. Alexandra's expression in this image is thoroughly disdainful, indicating that she is too secure in her body and in her aesthetic values to succumb to this distorted modern standard, just as she was too secure in her moral values to fall prey to the smoking caterpillar, above.
In Carroll's novel, the Court of Hearts comprises Alice's last adventure in Wonderland, but for this photoshoot, the well-known Tea Party provides a natural climax. A March Hare and a Doormouse would have been difficult to convey in a realistic manner, so this shoot's Tea Party finds Alexandra menaced by not just one but two Mad Hatters, who disturbingly recall the ruffians of Kubrick's Clockwork Orange. These individuals seem much more threatening than the comparably lethargic caterpillar-model from the previous image. They hold Miss Newton in their clutches, with one of them even glaring at the viewer in a challenging manner, as if to say, "What are you going to do about it?" The miscreant's effrontery in touching Alexandra's golden tresses feels like a violation, indeed a profanation of angelic beauty. Our Alice appears to be not just repulsed by them, but even angry--her petulance only making her that much more attractive.
A second image of this grouping is equally arresting. One of the Hatters touches the soft, delicate shoulder of Alexandra in a way that seems predatory, almost insect-like, and gazes at the camera as if to provoke the viewer's rage, knowing that the sight of such an unworthy scoundrel touching this goddess is infuriatingly offensive. Miss Newton, for her part, appears to have been interrupted while preparing to sensually indulge herself in a delicious teatime repast of cookies and tarts--their sweet, calorie-laden goodness essential to preserving her blossoming figure. Observe how hotly flushed she appears, and notice how the black sash of her dress struggles to contain the seductive fullness of her waist. The other Hatter holds a mysterious pink item toward her. What could it be? A narcotic disguised as candy? The image offers multiple narrative possibilities. He may be a villain intending to drug the young girl, while his partner in crime looks toward the camera, thinking, "You know what we are doing, but you are powerless to stop us." However, if we switch back to our fashion metaphor, then these reprobates could represent fashion editors or modelling agents trying to tamper with the beauty of a young plus-size model and her gorgeous curves, by trying to push a poisonous diet drug upon her.
The final image is the most gripping of all. Alexandra's skin is as fair as the driven snow. She looks more vulnerable and delicate than ever, even as her physique appears sensually soft and fleshy. Her blue eyes and pink lips complement her golden tresses and pale-blue dress in a harmonious blend of pastel hues. Her buxom curves are abundantly on display. The beseeching look in her eyes melts the heart. Notice too the subtle detail of her curled hands. She appears to be begging the viewer: "Rescue me. Save me." And surely there was never a damsel in distress more beautiful than she. The horrid villains beside her seem more contemptible than ever, their immoral designs upon this sweet angel evident in their vulturous gaze. In this image, Alexandra personifies the plight of timeless beauty in the modern age--so gorgeous, yet so vulnerable, and under immediate and constant threat from the ugly denizens of the modern world, who seek to corrupt its fair perfection by the foulest of methods.
Alexandra Newton is a stunningly beautiful young plus-size model with a singular knack for narrative performance in her photoshoots, successfully telling editorial stories while striking effective fashion-oriented poses. In this series, as in the Cinderella session, Pantomime Photography retold a classic tale in a compelling manner, and found wardrobe that was completely convincing from a fashion perspective, yet successfully identified Alexandra's character.
|7th May 2011||#2|
Join Date: January 2011
Re: Alexandra in Wonderland
Alexandra is stunning! What a pity that she's an Australian model. I'd love to see her working for some North American plus-size labels. I hope she will be appearing in more fashion images from Australia in the future. She perfectly embodies the fairytale-princess ideal.
How fortunate that, like her fellow Aussie model Hayley B., she has managed to avoid the unforgiving southern sun and has retained her peaches-and-cream complexion.
I had forgotten this, but it's true! I came across a Web site that features a complete series of screen caps from Disney's Alice in Wonderland,
and it shows that Alice, as Disney depicted her, does have full legs and the making of a beautifully pear-shaped figure.
Her chubby, rounded legs would do credit to any plus-size model:
Something else that I had forgotten about the film is how often the activity of eating comes up. Alice is always being presented with delectable things to eat,
and she can never seem to resist them.
Just for fun, here are two images of Alice with the "wet look" after she gets soaked during the film. With her tresses looser like this, the resemblance between Alexandra and Alice is even more pronounced.
Disney depicted Alice as a beautiful young girl. What a refreshing change from the emaciated-looking female characters who pervade the world of animation today. As someone else mentioned on this forum before, in the Clone Wars TV series, for example, there is a female Jedi character named Ahsoka whose limbs are so terribly stick-thin that she is often called "Anorex-soka." Disney's well-fed Alice, with her plump legs, is a much healthier-looking young girl.
Last edited by HSG : 5th June 2017 at 22:28.
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