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Old 20th May 2013   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default A Fresh Look at Swimwear

Over the past half-decade, the most notable change in the landscape of the clothing industry has been the rise of the plus-fashion Web logs, whose authors comment on style trends and often photograph themselves in various outfits.

Perhaps the best-known Web log in full-figured fashion is that of Gabi Gregg, a young entrepreneur who has appeared on national television and in mainstream magazines. Recently, Ms. Gregg partnered with the plus-size swimwear label Swimsuits for All to produce a collection under her own name. So successful has it been that some styles have already sold out, just a few days after the line's official launch.

Why have the full-figured fashion Web logs proven so popular? Why do so many women read them? And why has this particular collection been a success?

A significant part of the answer can be deduced from the initial image (shown below) that introduced Ms. Gregg's line to the world, which demonstrates that the author's stunning figure has certainly helped her cause. As Justine Legault's Elle Quebec cover indicated, 2013 is the year of celebrating full-figured thighs, and in this image, the author's luscious legs are confidently displayed, as is the rest of her richly curvaceous figure. She strikes a self-satisfied pose and an expression worthy of a professional model.

Click to enlarge

Compare this size-celebratory photograph to the disappointing images of faux-plus models which the fashion industry customarily tries to pass off when it markets swimwear to curvy women. Those frauds look scarcely different from straight-size models, perhaps a touch more substantial, but still exhibiting constricted-looking narrow waists and tediously "toned" figures.

And that identifies a central reason for the proliferation of full-figured-fashion Web logs: the plus-size modelling industry has generally failed to showcase opulent female bodies (over a size 18), instead limiting itself to a faux-plus standard, so the public has turned elsewhere to find images of legitimately curvy female figures--to Web logs in particular.

In the promotional images for the Gabi Fresh swimwear line, the author is shown to be abundantly buxom, so much so that a hint of soft flesh seductively escapes from her swim apparel (which is very attractively styled at the bust, with a touch of ruching and appealingly thin straps). She fills out the swimwear in a highly attractive manner.

Click to enlarge

What makes the Gabi Fresh promotional images so refreshing is that they exhibit genuinely full-figured bodies, physiques that appear soft and natural and well-fed, and thus demonstrate to curvy women just how gorgeous they themselves would appear in swim apparel.

To help her promote her line, the author enlisted the services of a true plus-size model, a size-16/18 beauty whose work has been celebrated here before: Maxey Day Greene. But far from being merely a run-of-the-mill swimwaif, Maxey has a gorgeous 40" waist (just one inch shy of Sophie Sheppard's, and on a 5'7 frame). As a result, she looks breatthaking in swimwear, with a sensually soft physique, seductive curves along her sides, and an exquisitely fair, delicate skin tone.

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The most gorgeous image to emerge so far in the promotion of Ms. Gregg's line is the following, which is one of the most alluring swimwear photographs ever taken. It shows the model and the author seductively lounging on colourful blankets, their soft, full waists and sumptuous thighs comfortably on display. The image is pure size celebration, aided by the figure-baring nature of the swim apparel. Commendably, neither the photographer nor Swimsuits for All has distorted this image with unwanted airbrushing; the round, untamed fullness of the girls' midriffs is presented as central to their attractiveness--which it is.

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A "dancing" photo shows model and author adopting profile stances, not hiding their curves in any way but showing off rounded waists and shapely legs. The vibrant colours of the swim garments are infinitely more appealing that the dull, black, I'm-ashamed-of-my-body standard that the industry customarily inflicts on curvy girls.

Click to enlarge

Many of the promotional images for this collection show the models frolicking girlishly in the pool, engaging in watergun battles and generally having fun. The pictures show curvy women how they should feel about going to the beach or to a pool party: rather than being anxious or stigmatized, as the curve-o-phobic media has taught them to feel, they should be self-assured and joyful, knowing well that their natural embonpoint gives them a complete advantage in pulchritude over their underweight rivals.

Click to enlarge

Fans will note that Miss Greene looks even more attractive in this campaign than in her past shoots, with her fair skin, rounded arms, soft fullness at the neck-and-shoulder area, and tresses that appear lighter than ever before, as if gilded by the sun.

Click to enlarge

Unfortunately, readers visiting the Gabi Fresh collection at will find the items displayed on smaller models. And that is such a pity, as the curvier bodies shown in the promotional photos do a much better job of showcasing the swim apparel. The following image from Glamour, for example, shows the author with full arms, rich voluptuousness, and a rounded middle--all physiqual qualities that are feminine and highly attractive, and all of which the swimsuit frames in a lovely way.

Click to enlarge

Several behind-the-scenes photos vividly exhibit the girls' personalities. In this image, for example, Gabi appears playful while Maxey, fittingly, looks vain and aloof, every bit the professional model.

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A cosmetics close-up shows just how much fairer Miss Greene's tresses are, in comparison to her previous shoots, as they flow over her shoulders in a romantic manner.

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Notice the attractive fullness that Maxey's facial features exhibit when she smiles such a warm, endearing smile. Her fair skin tone vividly sets off the neon-green swim material and the fuchsia lip colour.

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Another triptych shows the group in a different manner of swimwear. The two-piece styles are, of course, much more alluring, but these more conservative designs have an appeal of their own. Maxey's tresses appear, enchantingly, to glow with their own golden light, even as her peaches-and-cream complexion exhibits just a hint of a flush at the cheeks.

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Imagine a trio of curvy Charlie's Angels wielding waterguns rather than lethal weaponry, with footwear cutely accessoriezed to match the prints in their swim tops, and you understand the appeal of the following photograph.

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By contrast, the final promotional image is an intensely sensual depiction of the trio, back to being Greek goddesses rather than TV warriors, lounging oh-so-seductively amid plump pillows, sinking with an alluring weight into the yielding cushions. The author appears especially voluptuous in this image, while Maxey's arms look gorgeously full, her clavicle submerged in an abundance of soft flesh at the neck, her generous middle round and replete, even as she fixes the camera with a steamy, appetitive gaze.

Click to enlarge

Bravo to Ms. Gregg for her new line, and to Swimsuits for All for accepting images of curvier models (including the author herself) to promote it--even though, on the company site, the swimwear is regrettably promoted on thinner girls.

The rest of the industry should pay attention to this campaign, and to the popularity of Web logs in general, and learn a lesson: Curvy women do not wish to see clothing showcased on images of faux-plus models, any more than they wish to see it on minus-size androgynes. Rather, the industry should enlist professional models who are at least Maxey's size, and Ms. Gregg's as well, and showcase fashions on such genuinely full-figured bodies. Such images are both more relatable and more aspirational to curvy clientele. The success of this line, and the popularity of plus-size Web logs, proves it.

(Click images to view larger.)

- Gabi Fresh collection at Swimsuits for All

Last edited by HSG : 20th May 2013 at 15:39.
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Old 25th May 2013   #2
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Join Date: June 2011
Posts: 105
Default Re: A Fresh Look at Swimwear

I LOVE the fact that this campaign featured fuller bodies modelling swimwear, and in such figure-baring poses.

The only thing I don't like is the high-waisted style. That looks awful, frankly, and defeats the purpose of having a two-piece. The good thing, though, is that it seems as if these swimsuits can be worn high-waisted or can be adjusted for a lower, more normal-height waistline. In the image of Maxey in the green swimsuit, standing by herself, she has the waist a bit lower, and it looks much better. It really should be a bit lower still, though. When wearing a two-piece, the bottom portion should never rise above the navel. So these swimsuits are fine, because one can wear them lower-waisted. Just don't roll up the waistline so high that it looks almost like a one-piece.

And the bright colours are so much better than boring black.

As for Swimsuits for All, I have mixed feelings. Kudos to them for partnering with Gabi Gregg to produce this collection, and especially bravo to Gabi for shooting her styles on fuller bodies. BUT, I don't like the fact that everywhere else throughout its site, Swimsuits for All uses faux-plus models to showcase swimwear.

When Swimsuits for All features models like Katherine Roll and Maxey throughout its pages, modelling all of its swimwear, then I'll support them.
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Old 2nd June 2013   #3
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Default Re: A Fresh Look at Swimwear

What a wonderful depiction of happy, healthy, beautiful summer fun! The author and the models look so radiant! From an interview with Gabi Gregg, I came across another showing Maxey and Gabi looking gorgeous, getting ready to hop into the pool.

This entire photoshoot is a fantastic example of size celebration (and plus-size swimwear marketing) done right. Gorgeous, genuinely full-figured models in sexy, stylish swimsuits (galaxy print and vibrant neons!), all looking alluringly pleased with themselves and having a poolside blast — now, that is aspirational! The subversive beauty and infectious joyfulness depicted in these images has no doubt played a large part in the popularity of the pieces from this line, and it is not surprising that they are already out of stock, due to demand. I applaud Gabi Gregg and Swimsuits for All for taking such a size-celebratory approach (one that the plus-size customer base has long been waiting for) in this campaign, but I hope that they will see this as a first step in that direction and will proceed to create even better promotions in the future.

For one thing, as mentioned in the original post, it is extremely disappointing to find the swimwear displayed on faux-plus models at the Swimsuits for All website. This is a point often emphasized on this forum: seeing plus-size clothing on models who are not full-figured does not help the plus-size customer shop (and especially online, where images are the customer’s only piece of information) or inspire her to purchase the clothing. The use of faux-plus models is insulting (it suggests "a body of your size is too unsightly to be shown, so we use smaller models") and scarcely better than not using models at all, because they do not give the customer an idea of how the clothing will look on her body.

I hope that Swimsuits for All will heed the message that emerges clear as day from the overwhelmingly positive response to these promotional images: beautiful, talented and genuinely plus-size models such as Maxey and other Judgment of Paris favorites are the natural choice to model their swimwear.

Another important point was the one made by Tanya: the two piece swimsuits shown in the campaign are worn so high-waisted that they are practically one-piece.

Now, I see nothing wrong with one piece swimsuits. However, these high-waisted bottoms look far too much like the “shapewear” that all too often plagues plus-size clothing lines. Gabi does say that the bottoms can be worn high or low waisted, but I suspect that they will be too constricting to be comfortable if rolled down low, and will probably even have a tendency to roll back up.

It would be better to offer a wider variety of styles, and it would be especially important to include midriff-baring, low-waisted styles for customers who favor them, as these are currently difficult to find in plus sizes. Also, it is crucial to show plus-size models looking fantastic in such styles to combat thin-supremacist propaganda. To include actual bikinis would certainly be in line with Gabi’s philosophy of subverting any ridiculous style "rules" shoved at curvy women. Forget "flattering" and wear what you like (and look great doing it)!

Hopefully, Swimwear for All and other plus-size retailers will pay careful attention to the positive reception by the public of this campaign, and many more swimwear lines and promotional campaigns will continue in this vein of true size-celebration.
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