Pin Me Up: Vixen It Up VS The Hollywood Bombshell (Lesson 4)
Vixen It Up – A concept by Heidi Calvert. (part 1)
For my fourth Lesson on The Lingerie Journal I wanted to explore a brand that I have been contemplating working with ever since I started following Ashley Graham on Instagram.
Addition Elle is a Canadian clothing store chain that sells plus-size clothing and was founded in 1967. They first came to my attention when I saw multiple lingerie collections in collaboration with my favorite body positive model: Ashley Graham. Their clothes start at a size 14 and go up to a size 26. On their website everything is written in French, including the names of their products, which I love because it brings me back to my French roots.
Addition Elle plays with the French word additionelle, which translates to additional in English. I find that the name of the brand itself is pretty sultry and introduces the customer to the brand in a positive way. And this resonated with me right away. Because the last thing you want when shopping is to feel like you are not included.
Addition Elle created these two killer bodysuits that I had to have because they inspired me since I laid eyes on them. So I decided to release my inner bombshell and style them in two different ways. If you are a curvy woman who doesn’t have a flat tummy like me, you know how hard it is to find bodysuits that fit you everywhere. So when I first saw Ashley Graham model the bodysuits and walk the walk in them on the runway during NYFW 2016, I figured they would probably fit me too.
“I felt strong, powerful and in control.” – Jenny Rieu.
That’s when I realized how important it is to see yourself in the models that represent clothing brands. I am so used to seeing women who are between a size zero to a size 6 for most lingerie brands campaigns and it makes it hard for me to see myself in them, simply because I don’t look like them one bit. Seeing a similar hourglass body shape to mine really motivated my choice in selecting these two bodysuits and they are now my favorite staples to pair with wide legged pants or a pencil skirt. You can’t take the girl out of the pin up fashion aesthetic.
To introduce Ashley Graham combinaison Déshabillé (black bodysuit), I have to talk about the genesis of Vixen it Up Video Vixens Remixed by Heidi Calvert Photography. In her own words:
“Inspired by the fashion worn by the video vixens of the 1980’s MTV era, and her love for music and fashion, Heidi Calvert challenges beauty standards with her new body-positive fashion photography series, “Vixen it Up”.
“Vixen it Up” offers an alternate representation of the musician’s muse, which is essentially what the video vixen represented. Calvert’s vision for this series is inclusive of a variety of body types, skin tones and even questions ideas about gender, while encompassing the same qualities that the original video vixen possessed: sexuality, power, and beauty.”
With that beautiful concept created by Heidi Calvert, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone. For the first look, I wore an all black bodysuit with a build in caged bra, a corset by Glamorous Corset (used in some of the shots) and slicked my hair back. I put on my black stockings, sheer gloves and 1980s jewelry courtesy of my friend Natasha and put on a sheer black scarf from the 1950s in my hair, for added drama.
As for the make-up I went pretty dark around the eyes and put on my Besame Cosmetics blood red lipstick. We were emulating some of the looks you could see in the classic 1982 : The Chauffeur video by Duran Duran. So the darkness was really key to complete this badass look. As for the location we shot at this really epic spot in DTLA where the LA river runs.
I was wearing these vintage vinyl heels and doing all these kicks in between shots, so it was a game of keeping my balance and still looking fierce in the pictures. My husband Jason Kamimura Photography filmed a lot of behind the scenes clips that I shared as sneak peeks on my Instagram. On set there was that fun and moody ambiance with the combination of the look I was rocking and the environment where we decided to shoot. I was feeling everything that Heidi wanted to translate in this first set of photos. I felt strong, powerful and in control.
What I wore, along with the different accessories really helped me get into character.
The bodysuit itself is pretty kickass; it feels and looks like what you see in the pictures.
It is made of nylon, lycra and lace. I love that it has stretch because I wouldn’t be able to fit into it otherwise. One of the issues I have had in the past with bodysuits is that they would fit me in the cups of the bra, but I would be unable to close them at the bottom. The reason being that they aren’t usually tailored for plus size women it seems, as they aren’t stretchy at all.
I have an hourglass but do not have a flat tummy, so stretch is key for me.
What I love about this bodysuit is that it is curve hugging, I feel supported and It can also be worn as outerwear. I love that it is black and the detail of the strap over the bust makes it extra sulty. You can also choose to add stockings or not, as it has the unique feature of including a detachable garter belt (about 4 straps total). I love the detail on the back of the bodysuit where the straps cross over, this looks so sexy on and the double lace panels mirroring the front pattern is a nice touch.
Available from a US size 12 through 24. I wore the size 1X (US size 14), as it is the closest to my measurements. The best purchase you can make is acquiring a tape measurer to ensure the proper fit in everything that you wear. I got into the habit of going by measurements from my Pin-up modeling days. Most brands now include a size chart on their website and I find it so helpful. (the size chart of the Addition Elle website is inches)
To care for this beauty you can either hand wash it in lukewarm water or dry clean it. I personally hand wash a lot of my lingerie and it helps me keep it preserved for years. Dry cleaning is another option but let’s face it, if you love that bodysuit you will be mad to have to dry clean it every week. You can let it dry naturally by hanging it and it is recommended by the brand itself on their website to not iron it.
The Hollywood Bombshell. (part 2)
When we switched to the monochrome bodysuit aka Body le Déshabillé avec demi-bonnets Ashley Graham, we went with a complete different feel this time. I love playing with contrasts in my shoots, that’s why we chose to shoot on the rooftop of Heidi’s Hollywood apartment.
I am not really afraid of heights or being surrounded by water, so it only made sense to add those elements to our fashion story for The Lingerie Journal. As for makeup, I asked my friend, Natasha Marcelina to give me smokey cat eyes and nude lips to complement my curly pin up signature hair. Whenever I see photos of supermodels they often have nude lips and this style is growing on me.
Illustration by Kat Hudson.
I have been so influenced by red lips from my pin-up days, that it is still hard for me to try and wear another color. It just seems like a pin-up crime to wear nude lips, but I like that it shows a different side of me. The funny thing is that I initially envisioned doing more of a Dark versus Angel parallel with both looks. But it ended up looking pretty fierce in both edits and not as soft as I planned in that second look. Both bodysuits made me feel strong, supported and sexy.
These Addition Elle bodysuits are well made and they represent the two most classic and timeless looks I could possibly add to my wardrobe.
The black and white bodysuit feels just as amazing as the black one, as it includes plenty of stretch in the material as well. The built in bra offers plenty of support and the look of the bodysuit has that timeless feel that makes it a great piece for outerwear too. I love the detail of the cinched waist, and the choice of the print that is utterly classic.
I went to CURVELASVEGAS last week and I had a great time wearing some of my lingerie as outerwear. I even included the black bodysuit designed by Ashley Graham in collaboration with Addition Elle in one of my looks. Stay Tuned to read my full article on Curve Expo Las Vegas and find out about some of my favorite lingerie designs.
Thank you for reading and remember to stay true to who you are and own it, I know I always do.
Photos by Heidi Calvert Photography
Mua for The Hollywood Bombshell Look by Natasha Marcelina
Bodysuits from Addition Elle designed by Ashley Graham.
Gloves and Stockings by Cervin Paris.
Styling by Ooh La La PR