Art inspiration; Neo-Orientalism


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Posted by Emily on March 12, 2005 at 19:07:35:

In Reply to: Crystal Renn: Paris Vogue and Saks posted by HSG on March 10, 2005 at 06:46:18:

I am not so ready to let Vogue off the hook for so obviously distorting Crystal's arms to make her look thinner, especially since many people consider those her loveliest features. But to give Vogue its due, I see this as another example of the best way of using art as inspiration for contemporary photography. Rather than trying to duplicate the Venus Anadyomene statue precisely, inch by inch, Vogue simulated the look and effect of the sculpture. It reminds me of the Mode image in which Barbara Brickner is shown walking, with her hands above her head, echoing the Winged Victory in the Louvre.

I compliment Saks for a high-quality promotion, but their entire spring campaign intensely and deliberately captures the Orientalist spirit, and for the company's core catalog, it actually took its models to the Near East, and photographed the campaign on site. The main catalog shows images of Turkish Bazaars, Moroccan markets, the Egyptian desert, etc. And some of the clothing is more feminine and body-conscious that what the Salon Z catalog shows.

Since both the locale and the clothing would have perfectly suited Crystal, and plus-size beauty in general, I wish Saks had shown the foresight to bring a plus-size model along on this location shoot, and market some of their more body-conscious styles to full-figured customers.

Why is Orientalism re-emerging today? Through the same factors that created it in the 19th century. The original movement was a fruitful artistic consequence of the culture clash between colonial Europeans and the Near East, and since America is playing that role today, the culture clash is happening again, the movement has become intensely relevant.

*Sigh* These should have been plus-size models:

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