A beautiful idea from Fashion Bug

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Posted by HSG on October 05, 2004 at 03:15:52:

Much as we lament the fate of companies that stop using plus-size beauty in their advertising, and often end up bankrupt as a result (e.g., Cotton Ginny in Canada, August Max Woman in the U.S.), we applaud companies that temporarily lose their way, but then return to prominence.

For many seasons, Fashion Bug boasted the most effective plus-size fashion advertising in America, rivaling Elena Miro and the Reitmans divisions on the world stage. FB's models were young, gorgeous, and visibly full-figured. The chain featured Shannon Marie at the very height of her beauty, and later created campaigns with the Irene Marie girls that won rave reviews from aficionados on a weekly basis. When Figure was first announced, the prospect of a "Fashion Bug magazine" thrilled everyone.

Then, for about a year, Fashion Bug seemed to lose its way. Why is anyone's guess. But now, we are pleased to say that FB is back with a vengeance, producing one immortal image of timeless femininity after another.

Valerie is currently Fashion Bug's shining star, and the results are as exquisite as anyone could have expected from the teaming of a superlative model with a top-notch promotional team.

Valerie's new FB cover image is fresh and invigorating. It warms the heart even as it foreshadows frosty days ahead. Some fans liken this to a GAP ad, and we can only imagine how much better the campaigns of that self-consciously "hip" retailer would look, if GAP used feminine models instead of androgynous Hollywood celebrities.

And Valerie's cover for the Plus landing page fairly invites the viewer to return the model's knowing gaze, which bespeaks intelligence, mischief, and even a touch of mystery.

But fans of this popular model will be delighted to learn that an even greater delight awaits them in Fashion Bug stores nationwide.

While visiting a FB outlet the other day to pick up the new issue of Figure, we were astonished to find a life-size poster of Valerie in . . . black lingerie.

As far as we know, this is Valerie's first lingerie campaign since her celebrated Vassarette series, and the beauty of the image is all but undescribable. One has to see it to believe it. Indeed, while we were there, we obseved one fellow in the store who was accompanying his girlfriend on a shopping excursion. When he noticed the poster, he froze in place, and for several long moments, gazed at the image with such a dreamy mix of admiration and Sehnsucht as a patron in the Uffizi gallery might bestow on the Medici Venus.

And who could blame him?

* * *

Oh, yes--we almost forget to mention Fashion Bug's "beautiful idea." The chain has now launched a "Plus Girls" line--and we commend them for it. FB is not yet promoting the new category with a model-based campaign, but it is already carrying several related items online.

Now, younger girls can shop with their older sisters at Fashion Bug stores, which offer a very nice environment for anyone who is full-figured. As the chain's Web site indicates, the "Plus" category is more prominent than the "Misses" sizes, which accurately reflects the fact that the majority of American girls and women are full figured.

Slowly but surely, North American retailers are distinguishing the true face (and figure) of twenty-first century womanhood. Now, it's just a matter of getting the mass media to acknowledge, accept, and celebrate this once-and-present ideal.

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