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Nobody looks like this. Not even her.

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Nobody looks like this. Not even her.
Eye-catching ads adorn bus shelters
'Enhancement' an industry-wide practice



If there is a rise in traffic accidents on our streets this fall, one of the culprits could be La Senza's current ad campaign.

The bus shelter posters feature a busty brunette in La Senza's $29 Hydra Lift bra and $24 garter skirt thong. The pretty pink lace and white stockings hug a killer body, while alluring green eyes stare boldly into the lens.

"There's nothing subtle about it," says Lorca Moore, a photo retoucher who worked on the La Senza ads. "They have a strong mandate to create sexy, eye-catching campaigns."

"It's sexy, but in a tasteful way," believes Karine Wascher, La Senza's senior vice-president of marketing. "Our ads reflect the mindset of today's woman and how she feels, which is confident and strong." The lighting is warm and upbeat with a stylish editorial feel. "And there are no props purposely to showcase the product. It's the star."

The Montreal-based label is a Canadian success story, with more than 400 stores in 17 countries. However, there are only five La Senza stores in the U.S., so the growth potential is enormous. But going head-to-head with Victoria's Secret and its virile advertising budget isn't easy. Last month, the U.S. company's annual fashion show alone was a $6.5 million (U.S.) production featuring a diamond-studded bra, Heidi Klum in 3-metre wings, and a performance by Sting.

La Senza takes a much more focused approach, first by hiring faces that will appeal to both sexes. Impossibly lithe blonde Karolina Kurkova appears in the holiday catalogue in pink pompom-tasselled bottoms. And Sports Illustrated cover girl Yamila Diaz-Rahi is the glamazon in the bus shelter ads.

Both appear almost too good to be true. And in some respects they are.

"I don't think I have ever received more calls from people in the industry," says photographer Chris Nicholls who is married to Moore and has been shooting La Senza campaigns for about three years. One aspect of the bus shelter image in particular has provoked curiosity. "Everyone is asking if the breasts are real," Nicholls marvels. "And I guarantee them that they are."

"She's a healthy, naturally curvy body girl," Moore concurs. Boney runway models are all hard angles — fine for the dramatic cuts of haute couture. But runway models can be a frightening sight once undressed.

At 5' 6'', Diaz-Rahi, a 25-year-old Argentine of Lebanese/Spanish descent, falls well below runway standards in terms of height. But her shapely 35 1/2-23-35 1/2 frame is perfect for showing off lingerie. And while she may not have implants, she did have help, thanks to several industry-wide practices that help models look their best.

It all starts on set with the rubbery skin tone bust pads that all models and stylists carry with them to shoots. "I refer to them as cutlets because they look like boneless chicken breasts," says Moore, who has also modelled for years. "On-set, they pad the bras to accentuate the look. And if a girl is lying on her side they might put an extra one in to pump up the bottom breast that gravity is pulling down."

The skin is moistened or makeup is applied that has sheen because, "lingerie looks better on skin that is glistening," Moore explains. The photographer ensures lighting is dramatic enough to capture the shimmery glow, an effect that will be enhanced digitally down the road.

"The posing is critical — the twist of the waist, the squared-off shoulders and the way the hair lies," says Nicholls, whose other clients include Birks, Elle and Lida Baday. "We work through lots of poses to find ones that show the product best. You are halfway there with a beautiful sexy model.

"But there are certain sexy poses that don't look like it's the lingerie making her sexy."

Once Wascher decides on the images for the campaign, she sends them to Moore or another top retoucher, makeup artist Isabel LePage.

"You may have to remove a tattoo, fix the lighting, make sure the makeup is impeccable, remove a stray hair, or fix the garment colour," Wascher says.

"But cleanup is minimal. That's the whole point of working with beautiful models."

There's always room for improvement, of course.

Eye colour might be fine tuned, and while there is no actual resizing of body parts, the retouchers can make the most of a model's assets.

"The illusion of bigger breasts can be achieved by adding highlights," Moore says. "Playing with the light and shadow can change the silhouette of the body, hair and cheeks."

Moore says the first time she saw an image of herself enhanced by LePage, "the difference was magical."

"I don't like to call it retouching," she adds. "That gives the impression of some Barbie doll cyber creation that looks nothing like the real person. The best retouching looks like no retouching. When I feel I've done my job the best, the retouching is imperceptible."

In the end Diaz-Rahi will resemble herself, only better.

"It looks like her in the best possible light," is how Moore puts it. In fact, she likes to think of her contribution to the process as "beauty enhancement."

But how fair is it to portray what Moore admits is a "next to impossible aesthetic?"

"We all say, `Why don't we see more real people in ads,' but when the attempt is made, we, the general public are the first to criticize it," Moore argues.

And as for the belief that fashion ads and editorials have contributed to a rise in eating disorders, Moore counters, "Eating disorders stem from far deeper problems than a La Senza bus shelter ad.

"And as much as we criticize that impossible aesthetic, it's part of the allure of fashion."

Not to mention the purpose of advertising.

"It's human nature to want what you can't have," Moore says. "Why is anything visually exciting? Because it represents something special. It's human nature to dream, whether it's about a house, a car or a body. It's that unrealistic ideal that keeps life interesting."

Next up? The Valentine's campaign which is already in the bag, followed by spring, which the team is shooting this week.

"The client is continually pushing us to be better," Nicholls says. "It's a competitive market and we'll say, `That was great, but the next one has to be better.' We all want Victoria's Secret to be looking at us saying, `Holy cow, we better watch out for these guys.'"


Hi i'm God

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Boss Hog


The bus shelter posters feature a busty brunette
Am I colour blind? That is most defititly a Blonde which I wouldnt look twice at, now a girl with raven dark hair... yum.


TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Nobody looks like this. Not even her.

Originally posted by Hi i'm God
Am I colour blind? That is most defititly a Blonde which I wouldnt look twice at, now a girl with raven dark hair... yum.

Nope, you are not colour blind. The picture is actually of a different model also decribed later in the article.

-ian g.
Subscribe to Cannabis Goldsmith, wherever you get your podcasts

Hi i'm God

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Re: Nobody looks like this. Not even her.

Originally posted by ian
Nope, you are not colour blind. The picture is actually of a different model also decribed later in the article.

-ian g.
There was an artical?
Subscribe to Cannabis Goldsmith, wherever you get your podcasts


TRIBE Member
I watched a bit of the Simple Life last night on Fox.

Paris Hilton needs to eat a burger, or two.

To each their own, but to myself, she's not attractive whatsoever, in any way, shape, or form.



TRIBE Member
i can't stand looking at any magazines anymore - all the photos are horribly photochopped and the people look so unreal.

i understand a bit of touching up - remove blemeshes, warts and ingrown fetuses on the face - but when you use the magic wand so much that there aren't any features left on the face it is difficult to look at.