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Old 1st June 2011   #1
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Default Vogue Italia: Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine

Most of the news involving fuller-figured models in so-called "high" fashion is disappointing because the girls in question tend to be only faux-plus. But this item is much more significant.

The cover of the new issue of Vogue Italia features size-16 model Tara Lynn and size-12/14 Candice Huffine.

Here's the link:

And the news:

Beautiful curves grace the cover of Vogue Italia this month in a stunning shot by Steven Meisel. Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley bring sexiness and beauty to Meisel’s incredible black and white shot. This is the first time plus-size models have graced Vogue Italia’s cover since the days of Sophie Dahl and we cannot wait to see just what this issue holds in store for us!!

Candice and Tara were the two models involved in the only successful editorial in the plus-size issue of V Magazine last year, so it's wonderful to see them achieve such success. The only missed opportunity is that Tara, the curviest, is behind a table, whereas her figure should be more boldly presented, and that the Robyn's pose is a bit risqué. On the up side, though, Candice is dressed in intimate apparel and is posed very sensually, although her curves are not quite as provocatively displayed as they were in V.

But the image is attractively photographed and, as a wonderful touch, shows the models at a dinner table with food on their plate - which sends the wonderful, subliminal message that in order to be this gorgeous, a woman should allow herself to eat rather than starving herself!

All in all, a gorgeous image and a wonderful concept - elegant rather than modern, and with a wonderful undercurrent of pro-indulgence.
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Old 2nd June 2011   #2
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Default Re: Candice, Tara: Vogue Italia cover

This cover is generating a good deal of media attention. The Daily Mail gets credit for linking it to an anti-anorexia initiative started earlier this year by Vogue's editor.

For a mainstream magazine editor, Franca Sozzani makes some size-positive points. And the Daily Mail writer gets credit for enthusing about the fact that the models' figures aren't hidden (although she fails to mention the most wonderful aspect of the cover -- the subtle association of food with curvy beauty).

It's not unusual for fashion magazines to employ the odd plus-size model for an editorial spread.

But Vogue Italia went one step further, featuring not one but three curvy beauties on their July issue cover.

The move comes as editor Franca Sozzani continues to campaign against pro-anorexia websites.

And rather than hide their figures in floaty dress, or cut them off at the waist, Sozzani proudly features Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley in their underwear.

The editor has been busy collecting signatures for a petition to shut down websites encouraging eating disorders.

She said: 'Fashion has been always blamed as one of the culprits of anorexia, and our commitment is the proof that fashion is ready to get on the frontline and struggle against the disorder.'

Sozzani has also promised to feature more plus-size models in the future.

She said: 'Why should these women slim down?

'Many of the women who have a few extra kilos are especially beautiful and also more feminine.'

The latter statement is especially nice to hear -- that fuller-figured women are "more feminine." It's an indisputable point, but to have the editor of a mainstream fashion magazine making it is quite significant.

When the anti-anorexia initiative came out, some individuals were -- rightly -- skeptical about Vogue's motives and wondered if the magazine wasn't just trying to give itself cover in the face of mounting criticism of fashion's ongoing, irresponsible promotion of starvation.

The writer observed (and asked):

It can be argued, however, that magazines like Vogue promote an extreme thin body type that drives negative body image and eating disorders in the first place. Pro-anorexia websites may even use images of the models in magazines like Vogue as "thinspiration."

Nonetheless, I'm happy to see an international fashion magazine take such a strong a stand against anorexia.

...What do you think? Is it hypocritical for Italian Vogue to create a petition against pro-anorexia websites or does the message carry more weight coming from such a large international fashion magazine?

The answer to the latter question could be, "both." However, the fact that Vogue Italia has now put plus-size models on its cover, and photographed them in a pretty glamorous way, lends some authority to the magazine's position. Because it's not enough to be against the promotion of emaciation; the fashion industry must also celebrate the alternative, which is full-figured, timeless beauty. With this cover, Vogue has taken a step in the right direction.
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Old 3rd June 2011   #3
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Default Candice, Tara: Belle Vere

One other thing that I especially love about the cover, and the related editorial, is that it is within itself a waif-free environment. Thus, the plus-size models are appreciated on their own terms, and there are no odious implied comparisons with any skeletal waifs.

The Vogue Italia web site has now posted the entire "Belle Vere" editorial online, complete with a larger version of the cover page and even a short, lyrical, behind-the-scenes video of the shoot, which is as much an impression of its mood as it is a "making of" feature.

Here's the larger cover. Now we can see that Tara Lynn is not hidden behind the table after all, but reclining, with her legs coquettishly kicked up behind her.

Many of the images in the editorial are nude, so they cannot be posted, but here are two that can. Candice was given the most voluptuous hairstyle of the shoot and looks utterly stunning. This is a remarkably sensual image.

The most size-positive photograph of the editorial is this opulent portrait of Tara Lynn, which celebrates the luscious fullness of her figure, especially the roundness at her abdomen, and even her reverse-view curves, as shown in the mirror.

I'd like to draw attention to two more images, although I cannot post them directly because the models are in a state of undress (so please be warned of that before you click on either link). However, both of these images are extraordinarily seductive and size-celebratory because they lovingly feature the soft curves along the models' backs. How remarkable that Vogue, commendably, did not airbrush these gorgeous figure features but showcased them so beautifully.


second model (Tara Lynn?):

The Vogue site comes with the following text:

So Curvy! Emphasizing a soft and sinuous sensuality, the maquillage concentrates on the brightness of the skin. That it sets off with a radiance effect foundation cream such as Photo Perfexion Light, in light shell, which, thanks to an innovative formula smoothes down the complexion.

Zoom onto the eyes with the avant-garde of mascaras: this is Démesure, audacious black, equipped with a pop-up brush that sculptures the lashes one by one, guaranteeing definition and volume. On the lips? The glossy formula with a liquid crystal base Rouge Interdit, in enchanting beige, lipstick prodigy with SensoOil Complex that, while it offers intense and bright colors, ensures moisture and extreme comfort.

A "soft and sinuous sensuality" evoking "comfort"; yes, this editorial by photographer Steven Meisel selects just the right aesthetic to glorify full-figured femininity. Some of the images have a bit more nudity than I'd like, but with the soft lighting, glamorous setting, incredibly gorgeous and voluptuous hairstyles, absence of airbrushing, and best of all, the incorporation of rich delicacies into the images (underscoring the pro-indulgence theme), this is a remarkable artistic success.

Here's the link to the entire editorial, including the graceful video. Be sure to click the "fullscreen" button to view the images at their proper size.

Last edited by HSG : 3rd June 2011 at 06:43. Reason: URL edited
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Old 3rd June 2011   #4
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Default Re: Candice, Tara: Vogue Italia cover

I wish that there had been more photos of Tara Lynn in this editorial, as she has the most abundant figure of the three models. Candice was definitely given the most gorgeous hairstyle. I just wish that she were fuller figured. If she were Tara's size, she'd be one of the industry's most significant models.

Kaitlynn makes an important point when she praises the editorial's "waif-free environment." When magazine stories try to mash plus-size model with minus-size models, usually this results in the selection of a faux-plus girl at best, then dressing her to hide what few curves she has (a.k.a., "Huh? Which one is the plus-size model?") Here, on the other hand, with an all-plus cast, the curves are not hidden but showcased. Bravo.

We're quite lucky with this editorial, although I wish that it had featured some Judgment of Paris favourites like Kelsey Olson, etc. Instead of ugly modernity and the freakishness that is often the hallmark of "high" fashion, this editorial mixes size celebration with opulence. Beautiful.

One other aspect of the editorial that I really like is that it conveys a sense of lassitude and indolence, with many of the models lounging sensually over the sofas. That too is an ideal choice for showcasing full-figured femininity.

The Vogue Italia editor, Franca Sozzani, has posted a few thoughts about this issue of her magazine.

There are good and bad points in what she says, and a few mixed messages, but some of the wording is very commendable, especially coming from someone in the "high" fashion industry:

I'm referring to the June issue of Vogue Italia, with a cover and an opening editorial featuring curvy women. Curvy is sexy: this is the message. These are women with voluptuous bodies and soft curves.

Sexy, because curves have always been a symbol of well-being and beauty, since antiquity. "You are so beautifully slim" is one of the most appreciated compliments of our times and it has been such since the 60s, when slimness started being interpreted as a reference code for the only possible form of beauty. Nowadays, a sex symbol for many generations, a timeless icon of beauty and femininity like Marilyn Monroe would be considered curvy. And what about Jane Mansfield or Elizabeth Taylor?

Beautiful, curvaceous, famous and loved by important men. Weren't they "belle vere"?...The body of a voluptuous woman is fascinating for the proportions and curves that other women don't have. The erotic fantasies described by great writers are often about women with this body type.
What I especially appreciate is that she recognizes the distinctive qualities of the plus-size aesthetic, indicating that well-fed goddesses have rich qualities of beauty that minus-size models lack. Her reference to curves being "a symbol of well-being and beauty since antiquity" signals that she has the right mindset. The Classical ideal is the definitive guide for celebrating the full-figured female body, and Sozzani's reference to antiquity is likely why her cover and this editorial are a success, where so many other appearances by plus-size models in "high" fashion are either too modern or too timid.

By the way, here's Vogue Italia's petition against anorexia sites. It's worth signing.
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Old 3rd June 2011   #5
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Default Re: Candice, Tara: Vogue Italia cover

Bravo to Vogue Italia for not only acknowledging, but celebrating the erotic appeal of the soft, fleshy feminine form. The photography and styling are breathtaking. I hope the fashion world will take notice and that we will see more such editorials.
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Old 6th June 2011   #6
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Default Re: Candice, Tara: Vogue Italia cover

The coverage for this story has been commendably positive. The articles I'm seeing clearly recognize that the plus-size aesthetic is far superior to the emaciation that the fashion industry regularly pushes.

In fact, I'm seeing signs that the public is ready for more, in every sense of the word.

Consider this observation:

Models Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley -- who no one but the fashion industry could call f** -- show that voluptuous beauty can be far more alluring than the stick straight waifs we’re so accustomed to seeing in magazines and on runways. Flipping through this issue is the cure for anyone who thinks curves are a curse.

Very positive -- and I appreciate the fact that it is the image of Tara Lynn (as the most full-figured of the models in the editorial) that is most often reproduced).

But did you catch the open door for something bolder?

Here it is again:

None of the featured cover models are truly “plus” size, but they are definitely thicker than those who usually grace the covers.

In both of these articles, the writers not only celebrate the appearance of the plus-size girls, but they don't even actually consider them plus size (which is entirely correct -- and Tara Lynn just barely).

Clearly, the public is now ready for true plus-size models, girls who are fuller figured than those who appeared in Vogue. Now the door is open for size 18s and 20s and so forth -- for models who are genuinely full-figured.

Also, now that society is really getting a glimpse of models with more curvaceous figures, it will be far harder for the industry ever to go back to promoting starvation. The public is rediscovering the natural human preference for plus-size beauty.
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Old 6th June 2011   #7
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Default Sogno di Donna

The nudity is perhaps a tad excessive, and one would have dearly liked to have seen some Judgment of Paris favourites in this shoot--particularly some fuller-figured models besides Tara Lynn--but given that we are dealing with a magazine called Vogue, the relative aesthetic success of this venture is remarkable.

Above all, the magazine did a splendid job in fashioning the overall look of the editorial: "luxury" and "opulence" are the keywords, from the generous portions of rich food to the sumptuous décor--a room in the famous Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. The model's well-fed figures, their voluptuous hairstyles, and their dramatic makeup all harmonize with this lavish aesthetic, creating an overall effect of extravagance and decadence.

The decision to shoot in the Waldorf certainly started off the project on the right foot. A masterpiece of Art Deco (the last aristocratic style in architectural history, before the democratic blight of modernism laid waste to the Western tradition), the Waldorf boasts soaring sculptural towers, posh rooms, and a magnificent lobby.

The only pity is that the editorial did not make further use of the hotel's princely interiors, such as the famous Silver Corridor--New York's answer to the Hall of Mirrors:

The signature features of the Waldorf are, of course, its elegant spires, rising above Park Avenue like the Art Deco equivalent of the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral.

Fittingly, Vogue's behind-the-scenes video begins with a view of those towers--which, alas, are not readily visible from the lowly vantage point of mere earthbound mortals.

The video then offers a look at the stately room that provides the setting for the editorial.

We find Tara Lynn adjusting her earrings in a mirror--but whether she is in the act of dressing or undressing is left to the viewer's imagination.

A glimpse through what appears to be a cracked-open doorway offers a peek at of one of the models lounging most sensually on a sofa. As Emily pointed, the sense of the models' indolent lassitude accounts for much of the editorial's dreamlike sensuality. Note the half-empty champagne glass on the table.

While the primary "story" of the editorial is clearly the theme that full-figured goddesses are intensely seductive, no Steven Meisel layout would be without an intellectual subtext. The various glimpses of the maid tending the room, and the way in which the camera follows her every movement, even picking up details like her decorative shoes, hint at a possible subtext.

The theme of intimate relations is clearly marked in the editorial, not least by the girls' masks, which are commonly associated with romantic role-playing.

Now for the finest shot in the video, and one of the most gorgeous presentations ever of Tara Lynn's facial features. The voluptuous hairstyle, glamorous makeup, and ornate necklace enrich her already well-fed look, giving her an appearance of alluring opulence--"maximalism" incarnate.

Candice, benefitting from her high cheekbones, but also much beautified by the elaborate makeup and lavish hairstyle, also appears stunningly attractive. With the dusky, dramatic lighting in these images, the decadent hairstyles and jewellery, and an undercurrent of carnality among the models, these shots recall the famous seduction scene from Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula that a reader recently mentioned.

Another tantalizing glimpse through a keyhole captures the shooting of the issue's famous cover image. The viewer can easily put himself in the persona of a watcher who has discovered this trio of goddesses and casts forbidden glances at them, the danger of being discovered only adding to the excitement.

The title of the video is Sogno di Donna. In Italian, sogno means "dream" and donna means "woman." The final, lingering shots of the curtain (the curtain in which Candice likely draped herself, as seen above) gently wafting in the breeze help to create that dreamlike effect.

The cover of the issue, along with Mr. Meisel's editorial and his moody video, are effective presentations of full-figured beauty. The layout avoids all of the usual pitfalls that beset the "high" fashion industry when it engages plus-size models (e.g., modernist looks, urban-blighted settings, or using girls who are so faux-plus as to have no traces of fullness whatsover), but instead adheres to an opulent aesthetic that harmonies perfectly with the well-fed beauty of these goddesses.

Bravo to Vogue Italia for a fine showing.

- ''Belle Vere''

Last edited by HSG : 6th June 2011 at 19:23.
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Old 7th June 2011   #8
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Default Re: Vogue Italia: Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine

Vogue Italia has now posted several further images from the Sogno di Donna editorial, and not only are they lovely - finer than many of the earlier ones - but fortunately, the models are also clothed.

This is the layout's title page, showing Candice (I believe) at an elegant desk, partaking of some rich delicacies. I especially like this image because in an editorial that delightfully juxtaposes plus-size models with savoury foodstuffs, this is the only image that shows the model actually indulging herself. And she does so in a graceful manner - appetitive, yet refined. The lacy, satiny slip is very sensual, as is the white mink fur on her chair. She creates an exciting persona - spoiled and self-indulgent. Only the softest fabrics are permitted to touch the skin of this patrician princess. This picture probably conveys the mood and theme of the editorial better than any other.

However, it's Tara Lynn who really makes the editorial legitimate as a study in plus-size beauty, since she's the only one of the models who truly looks full-figured. This is a gorgeous reverse-view photo. With the backwards-looking glance, it reminds me of Shannon Marie's legendary over-the-shoulder Mode image, except with the model in a state of undress.

Finally, here's one more image of Candice, looking dreamily out the window, her hair wonderfully tousled, and appearing very buxom, the soft pillows of the sofa corresponding to her own plump curves.

These new images add a great deal to the editorial, giving it content that is at once more elegant, more size-positive (in the case of Tara Lynn's new page), and more pro-indulgent (in the case of Candice's eating photograph).
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Old 7th June 2011   #9
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Default Re: Vogue Italia: Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine

New York magazine ran an interview with Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani yesterday that offers further insight into the magazines position on curvy matters.

The lead-in is wonderfully pro-curvy:

On the June issue of Italian Vogue, you'll see something we don't often see on fashion magazine covers: flesh. Breasts spill out of bras, hips bulge out of panties, and the angular bony figures we are so used to seeing are replaced with the softness of women who have unapologetically voluptuous bodies.

That terminology is so sensual, so celebratory, that it is worthy of the Judgment of Paris. Only a few images in the editorial quite qualify for such loving descriptions, but I adore how appreciative the tone is.

If those words reflected the mindset of the media as a whole, then we would soon be living in a world where the Classical beauty ideal would be restored.

Franca Sozzani states point-blank that "curvy women can be beautiful and very sexy" and points out the following:

Q: The models have expressed disbelief in the cover — they didn't believe it would actually happen until they saw it.

A: Ah yes, I know. We did it to show this kind of beauty, because they are really beautiful in a way, and happy to be like that. That is something that is very important — to be happy of your body, to decide how you look, to feel sexy and sensual and feminine. None of them want to be on a diet, not at all.

I admire the fact that she added the last observation. I hope every girl who reads the issue or sees the images takes this no-diet comment to heart, and realizes that she doesnt need to starve to be beautiful, but can be even more gorgeous at a comfortably full-figured size, and eating whatever she wants.

This answer is interesting for everyone who wonders how models get chosen:

Q: Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine, and Robyn Lawley are on the cover. How did you decide on this particular cast?

A: Steven Meisel did the casting, and I think he saw many, many girls, and he decided on these three.

I dont know if thats the case for every shoot, everywhere, but it shows the power of photographers, and indicates that they too are culpable for either lamentably promoting emaciation or, as in this case, for admirably embracing a naturally curvaceous ideal of beauty. Meisel could have chosen all 10/12s, but fortunately, he didnt, instead including a 12/14 and even a 16.

The magazine asks why Crystal Renn wasnt there; Franca Sozzani could have simply stated the fact: Crystal is no longer plus size.

The next comment is very interesting, because it shows that at least one fashion editor realized the hypocrisy of the industry when it comes to opposing anorexia. For justified reasons, none of her efforts were truly valid until she shot this cover and included this editorial:

Q: Historically you haven't featured many plus-size models in the magazine. Why are you doing this now?

Q: I’m doing it now because I did this petition against the pro-anorexia websites, and this petition in a way is going up every day, because now 9,000 signed the petition, and most of them, the people anyway in the comments, they say, "Yes, you are doing this petition, but you only use skinny girls on the runway, in the magazines, so what do you want to teach us?" So I said, I will show you, I will use beautiful women — curvy. And so we did it because they all say Italian Vogue would never do it.

The most important question in the interview - and Im glad the magazine asked this - is basically, why are 99% of models so skeletal and emaciated? The answer is unfortunately a bit of a non-answer - that is, Sozzani calls it a "mentality," but doesnt say why this mentality exists. Also, her answer unfortunately revives the youth canard:

Q: But why haven't you — and the rest of the fashion industry, for that matter — featured women who were plus-size with any regularity at all over the past couple of decades? It was skinny, skinny, skinny, and more skinny for so long. Even though plus-size girls are much more visible now than they had been, skinny models unquestionably dominate the casting circuit.

A: Because I think it’s a mentality. Let’s say, for example in the eighties, beauty was very sporty, very healthy, and we arrived at the supermodels: They had hips and butts, and they were really women, and that started this long wave of teenagers whose bodies are still not shaped, most of them. And immediately they thought the skinnier you are, the more beautiful. All in fashion are victims — the media, even myself, even the runways — of the beauty of the moment.

The answer is troubling because (1) the fashion elite are not "victims" of the "beauty of the moment", they create the "beauty of the moment"; they define the "beauty of the moment"! Curvy could be the "beauty of the moment" if Franca and her peers made it the "beauty of the moment," which they could do by simply eschewing cadaverous waifs and selecting plus-size models to be the industry standard.

As for "teenagers", this is nonsense. The world is filled with plenty of full-figured teens. The fashion industry could "discover" just as many plus-size teen models as it currently "discovers" corpse-like, skeletal teen models. When Sozzani says "women with bodies are much more interesting than teenagers," well, what about teenagers with curvy bodies? There are plenty of them. Make them the "hot, new" supermodels instead of making models out of the teenagers with anorexic bodies.

But perhaps Sozzani herself still feels pulled two ways about this. Still, whoever wrote the article and did they interview for New York magazine adopted a very pro-curvy stance. If we heard more voices like that in the media more often, then the full-figured ideal would slowly but surely be restored.

And even if not all of Sozzanis statements are 100% pro-curvy, her actions (i.e., having these plus-size models photographed in such a glamorous and size-positive way and putting them on her cover) speak louder than words. Her issue delivers a message of true body love.
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