April 18, 2014

She's Got Game?

From Sports Illustrated  to Vogue.  As a model in both cases, you learn to seduce through the pages - but in different ways.  Kate Upton is the latest model to be touted as having successfully crossed the border from male fantasy to high fashion, consequently exposing the fashion industry to a new body ideal (see: voluptuous). As much as I would like to agree, I'm still skeptical about whether Upton's swimwear allure translates into high fashion appeal.

The first time I saw Upton in an editorial was in Vogue's June 2013 issue.  She was, I'll admit, average. The styling portrayed her as sexy and sophisticated, but it was an editorial I easily moved on from.  Just recently, I encountered her again in Vogue's February 2014 issue, and this time around, I went from being indifferent to being underwhelmed.  Before I proceed, take a look at the photos, which were photographed by Mario Testino for a spread titled "She's Got Game":

In case you jump to conclusions, my skepticism has nothing to do with her body.  I think she has a fantastic va-va-voom figure that both men and women would love to see photographed more often. What I think she lacks, however, is a seasoned understanding of how to draw a reader in with her face, and a pose that goes beyond the standard hands-on-hips.  Looking at her face in these photos, I see a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes, and an almost forced expression made all the more obvious by her energetic companions. You can't let a leaping Jimmy Fallon overshadow you, especially when you're a blonde bombshell.  I also couldn't sense any frisson of connection between her and those around her, making the reader feel just as awkward and uncomfortable as she looks in the photos.

It's tough being a model, and I don't want to give up on Upton quite yet.  But in order for me to be convinced she deserves a spot in fashion editorials, she needs to mesmerize me with her eyes, radiate her energy through the pages, and draw me into her snapshot in time of a heightened reality.  I need to desire the clothing she wears.  I need to feel like I want to be her.  I need to feel like she's owning it. 

Image Source: Vogue.com

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