Saturday, November 2, 2013

Painted Portraits

In honor of the recent Halloween, I thought I’d finally get around to talking about the 2013 bodypainting, where today’s crop of models dressed as covergirls of the past.
Alyssa Miller as Babette March
Two things about this one pop up again and again in the rest. 1) The 2013 reproduction is a lot stiffer and less natural than the original, and 2) they’ve skimpied up the swimsuit.
The stiffer pose is understandable. The original one was free to be what it wanted, and the image captured was a happy accident. But the modern one has to conform as best it can to that fraction of a second, so it’s not going to look as natural.

As for the other issue, I do kind of miss the big 1960s bikini bottoms Babette wore. If you’re going to go retro, go retro!

The precautions Alyssa had to take have already been lovingly covered in this space.

Better Shot
I’m partial to this one.
Nice angle on the hips.
• • •
Anne V as Elle Macpherson
This one is odd, because they seem to have shot Anne facing the opposite direction. I think they flipped it for the print edition.
Also, out of Elle’s five covers (three solo), they picked my least favorite to recreate.

MJ Day says in one of the making-of videos that Anne is a dead ringer for Elle, which struck me as false, until I browsed Anne’s oeuvre. There may be a bit of a resemblance, actually.
I’d love to have seen Anne slathered in green for this shot:

Better Shot
As an ass man, I was taken with this one.
• • •
Chrissy Teigen as Tannia Rubiano
Okay, so there’s about one-twentieth the amount of “fabric” on Chrissy’s body, but I suppose modern audiences wouldn’t stand for a skirt of paint all around Chrissy’s thighs.
It’s a cute shot, and probably the most successful of the bunch at capturing the original pose. But it also highlights another huge difference from era to era: look at Chrissy’s slender little hips compared to the full, curvy pelvis of Tannia. It’s the type of difference I don’t notice looking at today’s photos on their own, but man, it sure is apparent how our beauty standards have changed over the decades when you see them side-by-side.

I have to say, I prefer the 1971 body. Give us some hips!

Better Shot
This one’s pretty sweet.
• • •
Kate Upton as Daniela Pestova
Did someone order some hips?
Part of this may be an optical illusion caused by the significantly smaller painted-on bikini bottom. But there’s no denying that Kate has fuller hips than Daniela did. And Kate’s immense popularity may indicate that the pendulum is swinging toward curves, or at least a greater range of what’s considered an attractive model’s body type. Go Kate!

The recreation suffers from the requisite stiffness, but Kate is up to the task. I’ve long ago given up my resistance. I am seduced, and resigned to my Kate fate.

Better Shot
• • •
Nina Agdal and Ariel Meredith as Valeria Mazza and Tyra Banks
Just delightful. I have no complaints about this pairing. The original cover was great, the reproduction manages to capture the fun sexiness of it.
I love Ariel—she’s one of my favorites of the current crop of models. Desert island, I actually think I’d take Ariel over Tyra. Valeria would win out over Nina. So to sum up, this desert island has a population consisting of 1) me, 2) 1996 Valeria Mazza, and 3) 2013 Ariel Meredith.

Better Shot
Together, I like this one.
One advantage to having two girls is you can simultaneously display the front and back wonders of the female body.

(Kathy and Elle knew it too.)
Individually, I like this Nina:
…and this Ariel:
• • •
By the way, Tyra and Daniela have now had both of their covers recreated, first by Marisa Miller and second by bodypaint.

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