The S-Curve: Latest Greatest Bod

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Here's a Style.com article that you will have your own reaction to. Hollywood is always changing the standards. Here is the latest "body standard" according to this recently published article. Any reactions?

Disclaimer: This article is cut and pasted and credit is given to the source. Please do not sue me. I have no cash on me. Thanks.


Watching celebrities flaunt their flesh at this season's premieres and award shows, it was easy to forget that the social X ray was ever in vogue. Actresses from Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson to Christina Ricci and Renée Zellweger opted for body-hugging gowns that accentuated their every soft spot, heralding the return of the curve.

"Are you watching the red carpets?" asks Blue Cult jeans designer and veteran Tinseltown observer Caroline Athias. "The butts! The boobs! It's very curvy. America is in a voluptuous mood."

Just as fashion swings from understatement to over-the-top drama, the must-have body of the moment also periodically morphs from heroin chic to va-va-voom. And it has been ever thus, at least for the last century: In 1969 psychologist John Flugel came up with a theory of "shifting erogenous zones," his premise being that popular culture serially fixates on one particular body part, then gets bored and moves on to another one. The hypothesis may explain why America sometimes is hot for top-heavy P-shaped vamps (Jane Russell, Carmen Electra) and then goes crazy for narrow-hipped urchins (Twiggy, Kate Moss).

But the single-body-part theory does not account for this new silhouette, which combines extremes of waiflike and womanly. Call it the S-curve: a pubescently flat midriff bookended by a robust bust and bottom. It's Pam Anderson's bosom meets Jennifer Aniston's abdomen meets J. Lo's biggest asset.

"We've hit a combination trend. Nobody wants bubble hips. From the front, you still want a boyish, slim-hipped silhouette," Athias says. "But from the side, you want to look like a woman with boobs and a juicy rear."

This swell moment is good news for Athias, who, along with her husband David Mechaly, is the creative force behind Blue Cult's runaway hit: Butt Lifter Jeans, which are designed to give the illusion of a high-water backside. Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Fred Segal have had trouble keeping the jeans in stock; Gwyneth was recently seen buying 20 pairs at one go, Cameron, 13. Other stars—Monica Bellucci, Salma Hayek, Beyoncé Knowles—manage to embody the voluptuousness of the trend without resorting to push-up pants. But just as in past centuries, when having the right profile involved heavy bustles or tight corsets, the silhouette of the moment is rarely found in nature. It requires a big helping hand, be it from fashion designers, personal trainers or plastic surgeons.

"I have noticed a focus on slim waistlines with an emphasis on a higher and more shapely backside. At the moment women are not afraid to have curves as long as they are toned," says Tony Molina, founder of the exclusive Manhattan health club Evolution Studios. "But if you want a slim waist and a higher, fuller, gravity-defying butt, you need to get serious. You have to be working out four times a week, doing cardio and strength training, eating right, drinking your water and cutting out all of the extras. It requires you to be more spartan than most people would like."

Attaining the "in" body has always been hard work, says Nancy Etcoff, Harvard Medical School instructor, psychologist and author of Survival of the Prettiest. "What's happening is we're taking body parts that naturally excite us and adding them together into supernormal stimuli. We've emphasized breasts forever, but now we're adding in the butt and subtracting the unfashionable hips. This new mix-and-match body is a status symbol precisely because it is not easy to come by. Beauty is marked by scarcity."

"Breasts and bottoms are elements of sexual attraction that get played up from time to time," agrees Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. "Our current voluptuous moment is a product of an increasingly popular multicultural, Latin and African aesthetic; sexualization of the bottom in magazines and film; and low-rise pants that play up the waist-to-hip ratio."

That ideal is being played out everywhere from operating tables to shopping malls. At Victoria's Secret, the model brassiere is built around a human prototype that recently broadened to a 36C from a 34B. But over the past year clients' interest in knickers has increased to such a degree that the lingerie giant has launched in-store panty boutiques. Now bottoms—including the popular Body by Victoria shaping panties that give a lifting effect—are outselling tops by a ratio of three to one. On a more rarefied level, the fall/winter Paris couture shows also played off of the new S-curve, with bustles at Jean Paul Gaultier, and ruched-and-ribboned backs at Christian Lacroix.

Surgically enhanced curves are on the upswing as well. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports 236,888 operations for breast implants in 2002, an eight percent increase over the previous year. In 2004 the group will consider keeping statistics on buttock implant surgery for the first time because of burgeoning demand.

"A high, full, round breast is still considered attractive," says New York plastic surgeon Darrick Antell, who ministers to everyone from socialites to Sports Illustrated swimsuit models at his Park Avenue practice. "But I think now we as a culture are much more aware of a similarly higher, rounder, fuller look to the buttock. In fact, I'm seeing more and more articles on glutioplasty in medical journals." (Antell himself shies away from the procedure.)

Those considering glute implants should bear in mind, however, that the S-curve probably won't last forever. "More voluptuous breasts and bottoms may be fashionable right now, but women don't want to be too voluptuous," suggests F.I.T.'s Steele. "Keep your eyes open for the upcoming return of the long and lean silhouette. High fashion, which is always ahead of popular culture, will be the first to swing back."

"The S-Curve," by Natasha Singer, has been edited for Style.com.

 
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Selma Hayek: <img src=http://img28.photobucket.com/albums/v84/sb-ca-ryan/Selma_Hayek.jpg> Beyonce Knowles: <img src=http://img28.photobucket.com/albums/v84/sb-ca-ryan/beyonce2.jpg> Monica Belluci: <img src=http://img28.photobucket.com/albums/v84/sb-ca-ryan/Monica_Bellucci.jpg>
 
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Man oh man...you mean I can just drop, let's see....35 years worth flat-to-fluffy shock boobs & bubble butt in one fell swoop. Well..as much as I'd love to qualify for an extreme makeover for my 50th birthday in May, I've decided Teresa Tapp's system at under $200 is the way to achieve perfection within my structure's limits...at 5'2" & 115# my goal is 105 to 108# without the craziness. Anyone else had enough of who's cutting what off & adding which on?

 

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