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Old 3rd July 2006   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Seventeen: Timeless beauty, today

A visitor to this site provided an interesting response to our recent "What about . . . plus-size modelling?" post (in which we speculated about the kinds of models that full-figure fashion industry would be employing today, if plus-size modelling had never existed, and were currently being invented). She informed us that at least one fashion glossy does occasionally feature plus-size models who possess the qualities that we described: youthful, attractive, genuinely full-figured, standing at a normal height, and exhibiting soft, rounded features.

And that magazine, our young reader informed us, is Seventeen.

Hitherto, Seventeen has only attracted the notice of plus-size model aficionados due to the fact that it occasionally runs Torrid print ads. But the aforementioned response prompted us to take a second look at the magazine's editorial pages.

Predictably, much of Seventeen's content still consists of wall-to-wall waifs. However, in one or two pages per issue, the magazine--astonishingly--does feature models who embody the timeless ideal. Its plus-size models are visibly curvaceous, highly photogenic, professionally styled, and are even allowed to display the confident attitude that one usually associates with their underweight rivals.

The March 2006 issue featured the following image of a plus-size model named "Elle." With her soft, fair features, and opulent figure, she embodies the feminine ideal celebrated in each of poems that we examined in our "Medieval Beauty" series. Seventeen commendably gave Elle a romantic hairstyle, stylish accessories, and allowed her to look genuinely pleased with her own appearance. Best of all, it made no attempt to distort or minimize her natural, curvy shape.

Click to enlarge

The July 2006 issue featured a plus-size model named Katherine (below), whose Classical figure is reminiscent of Barbara Brickner's. Like Elle, Katherine exhibits rounded facial features and full, shapely arms--all hallmarks of true beauty. And Seventeen dressed her in an attractive, figure-embracing dress that unreservedly celebrates her curvaceous shape.

In selecting these models, the Seventeen editors wisely dispensed with the thinness-oriented "rules" of straight-size modelling, and instead welcomed the characteristics of soft fullness that epitomized feminine beauty in every century prior to the twentieth. Seventeen's models embody the aesthetic ideal that all plus-size fashion retailers should pursue, when choosing representative talent.

Click to enlarge

Seventeen's July issue also featured a return appearance by the understandably popular Elle. Again, the magazine bedecked her in lovely accessories, and made no attempt to diminish her curvaceous appearance. And although the dress in this particular image is less than ideal (because of its material, not its cut--denim being too stiff a fabric to effectively adorn plus-size beauty), Seventeen more than made up for this by allowing Elle to exhibit the kind of poised, supremely confident demeanour that is usually reserved for straight-size models. Elle's expression appears to say, "I know I outshine every other model in this magazine." And she surely does.

This particular editorial also identified Elle's height and dress size--a size 14 at 5'3. Thus, Seventeen wisely eschewed yet another gauntness-oriented "rule" of straight-size modelling when selecting its plus-size talent--i.e., the anti-plus emphasis on tallness, in favour of the more visibly curvaceous proportions that attend a more natural height.

Click to enlarge

In selecting attractive models with opulent proportions, Seventeen is finally giving young full-figured girls the opportunity to see idealized versions of themselves, and creating a fashion-industry aspirational fantasy based on their own curvaceous appearance.

Furthermore, it is providing the public with a positive image of full-figured youth that the media otherwise continues to suppress.

However, these images from Seventeen do not merely exhibit a distant ideal, but represent the norm among today's plus-size girls. Today's voluptuous vixens--the Christina Schmidt generation--are stylish, poised, confident, and increasingly comfortable with their natural proportions.

And it's encouraging to see one magazine finally acknowledging this.

- Plus-size beauty = supermodel beauty

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Old 4th July 2006   #2
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Default Re: Seventeen: Timeless beauty, today

Both models are very pretty. It's great to see a mainstream magazine using genuinely plus-looking girls, and presenting them in a positive way.

Junior plus has always been severely under-represented by the fashion industry- even by plus-oriented publications, which never made any sense at all. Great as Mode was, its short-lived junior spinoff, Girl magazine, was a major disappointment, because it tried to represent "all" sizes (which resulted in just one or two token plus-size models appearing per issue, and those were usually the faux-plus types). These lovely images from Seventeen show what that magazine could have been, if only it had truly dedicated itself to plus-size teens.

At least Torrid, with stars like Christina and Kelsey, is finally representing this demographic.
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Old 7th July 2006   #3
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Seventeen: Timeless beauty, today

It would be wonderful if Torrid would publish a magazine for plus-size young women. It could feature not only fashion and beauty tips, but positive articles that would boost readers' self-esteem.
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Old 25th September 2006   #4
Join Date: July 2005
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Default ''Elle'' est plus jolie

As a follow-up to this thread, a reader mailed us a page from another issue of Seventeen, featuring Elle--the fair-haired beauty mentioned above. She really is a stunning young talent, and one hopes that she is (or will be) represented by an agency, and that she plans to make a career of full-figured modelling.

The styling in this image is a mix of good and bad (cute dress, nice accessories, gorgeous hairstyle, all undermined by that terrible jacket), but Elle herself is remarkable. She exhibits the round face and fair-haired attributes of timeless beauty, and with her visibly soft, full features, she possesses precisely the qualities that the public wishes to see, in plus-size models.

Kudos to Seventeen for choosing its "curvy" representatives so well.

- Click here to view the image at a larger size

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