Crystal Renn: Paris Vogue and Saks

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Posted by HSG on March 10, 2005 at 06:46:18:

Quite an impressive pair of credits, no?

We are delighted to see that Crystal Renn's beauty and career are blossoming in conjunction with one another.

First of all, after finally completing an ocean crossing by tramp steamer ship, our copy of the February 2005 issue of French Vogue has finally reached Canadian shores. And, as many of you already know, Miss Renn appears in a nine-page editorial layout in this issue.

(We have also heard that she was considered for the cover. What a pity she didn't make it.)

This is undoubtedly Miss Renn's finest editorial work since her appearance last year in American Vogue. Some of the clothing is surprisingly lovely, considering the source.

Here, for example, we see Crystal in a magnificent cascade of white ruffles:

And were it not for the digital manipulation to which the following image has been subjected (Crystal's arms are much lovelier than this photo indicates), this would undoubtedly be one of the finest tears of the model's career. The inspiration of the Hellenistic Venus Anadyomene statue from the Archeological Museum in Syracuse, Sicily (juxtaposed on the left) is unmistakable:

Usually, we would cry foul about the digital minimizing of Crystal's figure. But it is difficult to level a charge of body-shame at French Vogue in this case, because what distinguishes Crystal's layout--more even than the clothing that it displays--is the clothing that it does not display.

In the greater part of this layout, the model is presented in various states of undress. And the images do qualify as artistic nudes, with chiaroscuro lighting:

The other images in the editorial are even more daring in their presentation of Crystal's figure.

Because of our long-standing policy of avoiding nude images, no matter how tasteful, we may not be able to preserve this editorial for posterity at this site. However, just as we alerted Megan Garcia's fans to her "Blonde Bather" nude image in Figure It Out, so we encourage Crystal's fans to obtain a copy of this magazine (via eBay, or through other means) for themselves. Her body confidence is sure to be inspiring.

* * *

We are also delighted to alert Miss Renn's admirers to the new March 2005 Salon Z catalogue from Saks Fifth Avenue (linked below).

One tends to forget about Saks campaigns, because of the company's long-standing policy of using faux-plus models. But Crystal's work for this retailer has been something of a breakthrough, and the March Salon Z promotion displays an extraordinary level of craftsmanship.

The images in the catalogue evoke the feeling of Old Master paintings, in their rich, golden colours, in their dramatic lighting, and, yes, in the way they exhibit the full glory of Crystal's curves.

This image, the best in the book, conforms to the recent trend for celebrating curvaceous midriffs:

and this page shows off the model's shapely legs, and demonstrates how much more attractive even "professional" clothing looks on a womanly figure than on a wiry frame:

Like Lane Bryant's classically-inspired spring promotion, this campaign easily rises to the technical level of a top-flight editorial in a fashion magazine. The photography and lighting are wondrous. Here, the electric intensity of the orange hue recalls the vibrant tones of a Jean-Leon Gerome painting (and the images do exhibit more than a touch of an Orientalist quality):

The clothing itself is a matter of personal taste, but Crystal does a fine job of investing it with some life.

We commend the progress that Saks has made, both in enlisting the services of a more visibly curvaceous model, and in devoting more care and attention to the visual impact of its plus promotion than it has in the past.

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