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Old 9th July 2005   #1
HSG
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Default Crystal Renn: New Torrid campaign


As many of you will be aware, Crystal Renn is headlining Torrid's fall campaign. The images may not quite match the level of Charlotte Coyle's spectacular series from November 2004 through early 2005, but that is not really a fair comparison. Charlotte's campaign was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and may never be surpassed in its perfection, from the fair beauty of the model, to the wildness of her expressions, to the sumptuous allure of her size-16 figure. But if we leave comparisons aside, we will see that Crystal's campaign has already produced a number of memorable images, and at least one bona fide masterpiece--an image that will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most singular fruits of this model's career.

First and most notably, Crystal appears in the following full-page ad for Torrid in the current (August 2005) issue of Seventeen magazine. You may click on the image to view it at a larger size:

It might have been nice if Torrid had featured some of its more exciting, feminine attire for this ad, but the denim theme is understandable if this is an early-out-of-the-blocks, "back-to-school" promotion.

Two things in particular make this ad a visual delight, and a splendid expression of the Torrid spirit:

1. The fact that Crystal is proudly showing off her curvaceous midriff. What a wonderful message to deliver to Seventeen's readers--whether they themselves are full-figured or not! It shows that a girl can have a soft figure, and be a beautiful model in an ad in a major magazine. Plus-size girls will immediately gain a confidence boost upon seeing this ad, but it might do their underweight rivals some good as well. It could help them realize that they can abandon their current starvation diet and start eating normally again, guilt-free. And it might help them view their own curvaceous classmates in a more approving way.

2. The fact that the Torrid company logo, with the phrase "plus sizes," is right there, in big bold type, in this top teen magazine. So much for plus sizes being invisible! This, the ad says, is what "plus sizes" actually look like--attractive, well dressed, and delighted with their own curves. Here, "plus sizes" becomes a term of pride. And in an aesthetic role reversal whose time has come, we suspect that more than one underweight young girl will gaze upon Crystal's image and think, "I wish I wore 'plus sizes' too, so I could look like her."

* * *

Wonderful as the above ad may be as a "statement," some of Crystal's other Torrid work, which has been popping up all over the web, is actually considerably more accomplished.

First, here is a decolletage-rich image of Crystal sporting a wide-brimmed chapeau that is rather more feminine than the hat in the Seventeen ad. (It echoes the elaborate hats that were fashionable in the time of Lillian Russell.) As we have noted before, these purple/violet/burgundy shades are lovely on Crystal. Her demure expression is a nice touch, and fitting for the outfit.

The "overexposed" style favoured in Torrid's ad photography looks better on some models than on others. It suited Charlotte perfectly, because it heightened her already fair features, and gave her a positively angelic look. But it is also very becoming on Crystal. With her raven tresses, it gives her something of a "Snow White" quality as well--but a Snow White who is all grown up, and who is discovering her seductive wiles.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the following image. Here we see Miss Renn fairly exuding sensuality, and the image forms a wonderful contrast with the one above: "Genteel lady by day, enchantress by night." The dress in this ad (and in the subsequent image) appears to be rather more attractive than the previous outfits. Indeed, the only way in which this image could have been improved is if the model was fuller-figured.

This image also reminds us that while hats can be interesting, when a model possesses thick and abundant tresses like Crystal's, which are as black and wavy as the sea on a moonless night, it is almost a crime to keep them hidden from view.

But now, we come to the piece de resistance. The following ad represents Crystal at her absolute best, and is one of the most remarkable images that she has yet created. Here she is channeling emotion in a way that one usually only associates with Barbara Brickner, or Valerie Lefkowitz. She appears to be in the throes of passion, a Bacchante caught in mid-dance. The hair tumbling freely over her shoulders contributes to the effect. And the way in which the belt presses against her soft midriff makes this a curve-positive image, as well.

Breathtaking--what else can one say? And all in all, one might have wished that this image had been chosen for the Seventeen ad.

* * *

Perhaps not all of Crystal's Torrid ads are as successful as these, but on balance, it is a magnificent series, and merits praise for both the model, and for Hot Topic. It's encouraging to see the company disseminating these images so widely. Who knows what effect they may have?


Last edited by HSG : 11th July 2005 at 15:06.
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Old 10th July 2005   #2
MelanieW
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Default Re: Crystal Renn: New Torrid campaign

The images are unforgettable, especially the last one. But I agree that for Torrid especially, it would have been awesome if Crystal was a bit more curvaceous. Still, the campaign is pretty exciting. I think I preferred her spring Lane Bryant campaign, just because the setting was so magical and dreamlike. But these are amazing too - just in a different way.

I had a look at the issue of Seventeen with the ad. What is best about it is that it is so in-your-face, with Crystal showing off her midriff that way. No shrinking violet here! Its pretty revolutionary, and for Seventeen, it needs to be.

And while its great to see it there, I also cant help but fantasize about how incredible it would be if every ad in the magazine was for plus sizes. Why not a mag such as "Seventeen Plus" or "Cosmo Curvy Girl" or "Teen People Plus"? Then there would be a slew of different plus ads and even editorials, in different moods and styles, and models in a range of sizes from 14 all the way up.

Just dreaming a little.
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Old 18th July 2005   #3
Kaitlynn
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Default Re: Crystal Renn: New Torrid campaign

Torrid has the Seventeen ad on its cover page. I agree that Crystal would be even more subversive if she were a bit fuller. But she really looks confident, and it's a great image, very body positive. Kudos as always to Torrid, where beauty begins at size 14!
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Old 24th October 2005   #4
HSG
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Default Re: Crystal Renn: New Torrid campaign


Looking back on the campaign as a whole, one would have to say that Crystal Renn's Torrid series has yielded mixed results. A number of the images have appeared as advertisements in national publications, including Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, but the choices have often seemed puzzling, with more beautiful images--such as the ones featured above--neglected in favour of less appealing urban/modern images.

But no one can deny that the current Torrid cover (which first appeared as an ad in last week's issue of Rolling Stone) is the finest image of the entire series. It lives up to the standard set by Charlotte Coyle's Winter 2004/05 Torrid work, and celebrates Crystal's universally-admired arms and decolletage. The mask (tying it in to Torrid's Hallowe'en campaign) endows Crystal with a bit of mystery, although a more vintage-style mask, such as one work in the "Masquerade" episode of The Phantom of the Opera, might have been even more enticing. The hairstyle is voluminous and wonderful. The expression is fittingly wild, and Crystal's fair skin contrasts well with the black Hallowe'en costume.

Crystal is always most popular when she is presented in an especially feminine manner, as in her Italian Vanity Fair tear sheet, or her Spring 2005 Lane Bryant Campaign, or in the Gaultier show. But this image inhabits an interesting middle ground between those appearances, and her more modern incarnations. It is an unapologetic glorification of soft, feminine curves--and one can only imagine how many Rolling Stone readers became instant converts to the cause of size celebration when they viewed this advertisement in their magazine, accompanied by the bold "Torrid Plus Sizes" declaration that appeared with it.

Crystal's Rolling Stone ad (and current Torrid cover), Oct 6th 2005 issue:

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