Prosit Neujahr to one and all!* * *
Hardly a day goes by that doesn't bring with it further evidence that the Aesthetic Restoration is subverting the "media values" that were imposed on our culture for decades, and replacing them with timeless principles.
One example of this cultural revival was recently forwarded to us from a longtime reader of this forum, who found an article at FWD that astonished her, and that she felt compelled to bring to our attention.
"As I was going through it," she relates "I couldn't shake the feeling that I was actually reading a post from The Judgment of Paris - that's how similar in tone and content it was to the messages that I regularly read at your site."
The article is (unfortunately) about a new collection from a straight-size designer named Lynn Park, but in every way, (both aesthetically and philosophically,) it is an expression of the "New Femininity" that is sweeping the fashion world.
And, as we discussed in our new "styling gallery," the designs that are emerging as a result of this feminine revival are ideally suited to the plus-size female figure (whether the designers yet realize this, or not).
More important than Ms. Park's specific creations are the attitudes that she expresses towards design and femininity--attitudes which the writer of the piece clearly shares.
Here is the excerpted text of the article in question:
Lynn Park's Goddess Collection Sets Off Sirens
By Hilarie Page
December 27, 2004 @ 4:29 PM - New York
More than occasionally, isn't it fun to put something on that accentuates one's feminine charms and wiles in a way that no postmodern tailoring can? Something that brings out a certain Knight in Shining Armor in every man whose gaze falls upon them? Something that says dare we say it? The Fairer Sex.
Think of Jane Fonda in "Barefoot in the Park" in a tight pair of slightly shorter cotton hip-hugger bell-bottoms.
Think of the smoldering sexuality of screen siren Jean Harlow in "Platinum Blond."
Think of Sharon Tate in her finest hour, dressed in a white wedding mini-dress up to here with legs down to there. Scroll back slightly to her starring role as a doomed sexpot in "Valley of the Dolls," dressed in a haltered affair, throwing back pills as she stares at herself in a mirror.
Now rewind the tape ever so slightly and recall Billie Jo in Petticoat Junction, clad in ruffled pantaloons of the Bo Peep variety while giddily awaiting the arrival of her beau and you've got the epitome of feminine beauty in that time just prior to The Feminist Era as interpreted by designer Lynn Park.
Park's Spring/Summer Collection for 2005 manages to sew all these elements together nymph-girl, blossoming woman, swinging hipster, sixties starlet, living doll, and vamp into a wonderful collection of dresses and ensembles that says, "I am Woman; Hear Me
Her designs, primarily of silk, stretch silk, chiffon and silk charmeuse, lend themselves to the soft, feminine fluidity of the girly girl-cum-muse. Or the femme fatale, as the case may be.
Park's interest in fashion design grew out of a culmination of dressing her Barbie dolls, then later in her development designing her own clothes which her mother, an accomplished seamstress, helped realize. . . . Her Spring/Summer 2005 "Goddess Collection" grew out of [her] gutsiness, inspired by feminine icons in her own life, as well as a few from the silver screen.
. . . "From the classic chiton of ancient Greece, I infused glamour. And as the ancient Greeks did for versatility in the clothing, I allowed for the ties on some of the dresses in the collection to be worn in several ways."
By definition, a goddess is a woman whose great charm or beauty arouses adoration. Park incorporates the traditional definition of the word into her own idea of a goddess.
"In my mind, a goddess is a woman who epitomizes the beauty of classicism while, at the same time, being a woman of bravery and power in that she has overcome hardships to allow herself to be powerfully feminine. . . ."
One part sex kitten, one part Carnaby Street, one part mythology, with a pinch of Gloccamorra, Park's designs are a little bit retro. They imply sexy because they are drawn from a time where such designs might have even been considered racy. Yet they are somehow innocent, too as relatively innocent as a Motown record in an age of gangsta rap, or as a "mini"-dress cut only mid-thigh in a time when "mini" is almost prudish, having morphed into a classification of "micro."
The "Goddess" collection evokes a barefoot romp in the park of our own. It encompasses more than one mood or role, though all its components share a variation on a common thread: Enchantress. And therein lies its charm.
Note the article's rejection of politically-motivated, 20th-century attempts to deprive women of their feminine qualities. Note also the designer's use of the term "goddess" to refer to a woman who "has overcome hardships to allow herself to be powerfully feminine." That definition precisely describes the experience of full-figured vixens living in the modern world, who must overcome the institutional curve-o-phobia of contemporary society (which conspires to make them "hide," "disguise," "change," and "cover up" their best qualities), in order to allow their feminine beauty to shine forth.
From the moment that we first became aware of the existence of plus-size models, we knew that they could bring the "goddess ideal" back to a society that had been deprived of it for so long, and which stood in dire need of its restoration.
Today, that restoration is finally taking place.
Ad in a current bridal magazine, capturing the Zeitgeist of 2005 (and of 1805, and 1705, and 1605 . . .):