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Velvet L'Amour's new web magazine - wow!

Have you ever wondered what kind of images could be created if art and fashion photographers worked with models who were not tall, skinny and young or anything close to it? Used the models' unique looks as ideals - as something to be emphasized and glorified, never hidden or shoehorned into the tall-skinny-young template? How powerful images like that would be? How they could completely expand and reframe our perception of what is chic and attractive?

I have. Although I enjoy creating and looking at grass roots fashion photography, both plus sized and general, I've always had a special place in my heart for photography that does more than just capture a person wearing a particular outfit. Good fashion images can be incredibly evocative. The lighting, the styling, the setting and the pose can trigger emotions; tap into archetypes and shared memories. Naturalism has its place, but I also admire art and style in fashion photography.

In the nineties, I read Elle and Vogue until they went over the top with herion chic. I loved the first year of Mode. They were starting to do the kind of work I wanted to see, but they pretty quickly caved in to the conservative expectations of their advertisers and started using six foot tall, size 12 models who looked... well, basically like (at least some) straight sized models should look but don't. What a disappointment!

What could be better than an arty plus sized fashion magazine with high production values that really pushes aesthetic boundaries? I'll tell you. An arty fashion magazine with high production values that is truly inclusive, where there's no one "ideal" look!

That is why I am in a state of total joy right now over Velvet L'Amour's new project, VOL•UP•2. It is difficult to express exactly how much ass this publication kicks: possibly more ass than any of us are sporting.

Be aware of some of the images are not even remotely work-safe for most people.
Click the picture of Velvet to go there!

Velvet L-Amour is a model and photographer in Paris. Here's her bio from the VOL•UP•2 press kit.

Velvet d’Amour (velvetphotography.com) is the only supersize-plus model ever to infiltrate the elite world of Parisian couture by walking the runways of both John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier and modeling for top fashion magazines, including French Vogue, Egoiste, WAD, Standard, and many others. Recently, Velvet was named a “Curvy Icon” by Italian Vogue. Her acting career landed her on the red carpet at both the Cannes and Tribeca film festivals for her lead in the French film “Avida.” Additionally, she raised 54,000 euros to help Missing and abused children through SOS Enfants Disparus as a result of her participation in Celebrity Farm, a popular French reality show. She has also appeared on Monique’s Fat Chance, ET!, The Insider, and CBS Sunday Morning and has been interviewed by NPR. Her photography has been celebrated internationally as refreshingly sexy, edgy and modern. As an outspoken feminist, Velvet’s insights on the role of popular notions in beauty have landed her in such magazines as Bust, on Jezebel.com and the Huffington Post as well as in innumerable blogs and online publications.

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loniemc February 29th, 2012 | Link | Thanks for sharing this,

Thanks for sharing this, Dee. What powerful images! We need to see diversity in bodies in art and fashion so badly, and this mag does a great job of it.

I am going to support one of the sponsors, and tell them I supported them because they sponsored this mag!

loniemc February 29th, 2012 | Link | Actually, the sponsors are

Actually, the sponsors are out of most of our price ranges. I went to their websites though!

DeeLeigh's picture
DeeLeigh
March 1st, 2012 | Link | Debra, I think you make some

Debra, I think you make some good points, but I probably should have mentioned in my post that it was published just before Valentine's Day and is subtitled "Ecstasy." Thus the sexual connection and the "love yourself first" theme.

On the other hand, I suppose that Valentine's Day is technically a saint's day...

worrier March 1st, 2012 | Link | "While they are plus sized,

"While they are plus sized, and that's good, I don't think this qualifies as extraordinary diversity. They are all hour-glass shaped and extremely made up. Much of the posing seems to be aimed at evoking sex only. It's almost as if the only message is "fat chicks can be sex objects too!" If that's a form of empowerment, then it is very limited empowerment, and dangerous when not tempered by other messages."

I agree that pushing the fat chicks are sexy as the only way to promote fat beauty is problematic. I've come across this message a number of times in the past, and it's one that bothers me. It's like a fat chick has to go out of her way to prove she's beautiful by dressing tarty. Tarty can have its place, but not when the message becomes tarty is the only way to prove it. Also, my feeling is that sexuality is a pretty private thing, it's not something I'm happy about turning into a public display. I feel that our society turns sex and sexuality into a kind of commodity, something for public consumption, generally. And it's something about our society that I don't like particularly. I know some aspects of it can be freeing, especially for women, but somehow it seems like it ends up being a runaway train. I hope this makes some kind of sense. These are my feelings generally, haven't seen the VOL.UP.2 links, only have internet at work and noted images not suitable for work viewing. Will have to look it up at internet cafe sometime.

DeeLeigh's picture
DeeLeigh
March 1st, 2012 | Link | To be fair, while there are

To be fair, while there are certainly a lot of sexy pictures in that web mag, there are just as many that are tasteful and elegant. When I said "not even remotely worksafe" the top thing on my mind was actually the male nudity (with the woman fully dressed) in one of the shoots.

If I was going to say something critical about it, it would be that most of the clothing featured is not even close to the quality of the imagery. A lot of it does look as if it's made from cheap fabrics; not particularly well designed or well made. But maybe that's the point. That's what most plus sized clothing is like, and it's a problem. If plus models can look that good in substandard clothing, then think of what we'd look like in well designed, well made clothing. More of it needs to be created.

vesta44's picture
vesta44
March 1st, 2012 | Link | I dunno, I find the pictures

I dunno, I find the pictures problematic for me in that I wouldn't dress the way any of those women did, I wouldn't do anything fancy with my hair like they did, and I certainly wouldn't wear that amount of make-up (I don't wear make-up at all anymore, it takes too much time to apply, irritates my eyes, and is a pain in the ass to remove - no to mention the fact that it doesn't last for more than an hour or two on my face).
I don't have a problem with women dressing up and making themselves beautiful - what I have a problem with is how they're viewed by society when they do that. If a woman dresses up or wears clothing that makes her feel good about herself, wears make-up, and does her hair - she's automatically eye candy, a commodity to be viewed, commented upon, and whose worth is debated over. All of this is based solely on her looks and nothing else about her matters - personality, intelligence, warmth, compassion, etc. She might as well be a car in showroom for all the consideration given to her as a person. There has to be some way to stop this viewing of women as commodities and start viewing them as members of the human race who just happen to be indulging in a penchant for brilliant plumage without denigrating the ones who don't indulge in that penchant.

WLS - Sorry, not my preferred way of dying. *glares at doctor recommending it*

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