''Amazing Grace''

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Posted by HSG on May 25, 2005 at 07:01:20:

In Reply to: America Ferrera in Teen People posted by M. Lopez on May 24, 2005 at 20:18:06:

Thank you for identifying the issue. Here are some more scans from the editorial, showing off these fascinating, "Old-World" designs.

In the first image, the pretty top on the left, as well as the practically sheer dress on the right, are extraordinarily feminine. And while they obviously demand a better presentation--on models who exhibit as much timeles beauty as the dresses themselves do--it is quite a radical development for a glitz-and-glam publication such as Teen People to be showcasing designs such as these at all. These outfits would have been appreciated just as much a century ago as they are today.

Next, here is our own scan of America Ferrera's lovely page, which may provide a better idea of the detail in the fabric. Note that the colours are not quite as heavily saturated in this top as they appeared to be in the previous scan. Vintage pieces are generally associated with softer, more muted hues. But while this may be an accurate impression of the fabrics of the past, it could also be a misunderstanding, due to the fact that the colours of older garments have faded over time. Just as art historians developed a false impression of the colours used by Old Masters, because of the colour permutations of aging varnish, so could we have developed an inaccurate understanding of older fabrics, based on the slow discolouration of the material. When they were new, vintage pieces may have exhibited much deeper colours than we realize.

And finally, here is another ornate dress that was simply made for a more curvaceous wearer. Until now, the elegant aesethetic that we see in this image has only been present in bridal magazines. How wonderful to see it penetrating mainstream fashion.

The real shame of having lacked an independent, plus-oriented fashion magazine over the past few years is that we were all deprived of the opportunity to see fashion layouts featuring the latest styles, presented on true plus-size models.

In previous decades, this would have been a negligible loss, since fashion trends favoured androgynous styles that did not suit the plus aesthetic anyway. But ever since the "New Femininity" got under way, fashion trends in general have been remarkably favourable to full-figured femininity.

Let's hope that current or future plus-oriented magazines make the most of this cultural opportunity.

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