Springtime in Paris

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Posted by HSG on April 11, 2005 at 03:41:47:

Crystal Renn's recent appearance in French Vogue may have prompted some readers to ask themselves, "Why have the French made no significant contributions to the aesthetic restoration?"

After all, France is renowned (to the point of cliche) for its beautiful women, its chic couture, and its irresistible cuisine. The French were primarily responsible for popularizing the opulent aesthetic that dominated the fine arts of the 1800s. And throughout twentieth century, (with only a few regrettable exceptions,) the city of Paris was admirably successful in keeping the blight of modernist architecture out of the traditional heart of the city.

One could therefore assume that French soil would provide the most fertile ground of all for cultivating an aesthetic renewal.

Moreover, the French fashion establishment famously resents the very suggestion that New York rivals Paris as the capital of world couture.

This makes it all the more surprising that France has allowed the United States so entirely to dominate the world of plus-size fashion and modelling--and even stood idly by while countries such as Italy, England, Germany, and Holland (Holland, for goodness sake) have outpaced it in this field.

This season, however, we can finally announce the presence of a significant French player in the plus-size fashion field, thanks to a noteworthy new Spring/Summer 2005 line (and an exciting new model) at the venerable Parisian plus-size retailer, Giane Forte (www.gianiforte.fr).

Like most European plus-size retailers, Giane Forte has traditionally featured rather basic styles on . . . rather basic models. But this season, the company has come out of its shell, debuting a much more romantic line--and showcasing it on a truly exotic goddess.

With thick, heavy tresses, plump lips, decadently full facial features, and haunting eyes, this model is the very embodiment of 21st-century opulence.

The cosmetic artist undoubtedly deserves part of the credit for the allure of these images, giving the model's makeup a hot pink theme that is simultaneously vibrantly youthful, and irresistibly seductive:

But the model herself deserves most of the credit for bringing the Giani Forte fashions to life, both because of her wild beauty, which possesses the qualities of an elemental force of nature,

and because of her innate modelling talent, which allows her to evoke a wide range of emotions, from the steamy seductress of one's waking dreams,

to the wide-eyed wonderment of a Sibyl in a Domenichino painting,

to the more innocent sensuality of a coming-of-age ingenue.

To be sure, some of the Giane Forte items are rather less impressive than others. And like most continental plus-size retailers, Giane Forte still errs too far on the side of the formless over the fitted, and the shapeless over the curve-embracing. (GF could certainly do with a touch of the Torrid magic.)

This also leaves the model's precise size a bit of a mystery. The images suggest that she is genuinely full-figured, albeit barely, so let's peg her at a womanly 14.

And finally, let's attempt a translation of a rather provocative bit of text that appears on the Giani Forte information page. In describing the intentions of the Giani Forte line, the text says something along the lines of,

After twelve years of producing plus-size clothing, we are pleased to say that today, the "small sizes" envy us.

Envy. There's that word again. But it is an apt expression in this context. Not only might there be some minus-size women who will covet the Giani Forte styles, and wish that they had the curves to wear them properly, but there is also nary a waif in the world who will not envy the surpassing beauty of the new Giani Forte model, and wish to possess even a trace of her allure:

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