Leave it to fashion photographer Bill Cunningham to find the sartorial value in the bulky and bunched; or as he so elegantly put it in his weekly On the Street column, the “puffed.” Tending to conjure up images of delicate creme puffs rather than snow-trudgers, Cunningham offers us the beauty of being puffed well into the winter months: “The inexpensive and lightweight puffy down coats that have been around for decades have taken sophisticated new shapes, often in licorice black and in fabrics that resemble ciré.”
In honor of Mr. Cunningham, a roundup of our top ten Puffers — most of who embraced the trend long before it was considered cool.
1. The Michelin Man
This guy basically defines puffy, and clearly knows the power of accessories. Plus, look at that running stance — ING 2010, perhaps?
2. Sean “Puffy” Combs
Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy… we just don’t care anymore. One thing for sure is that this persona put him on the map as all things hip-hop, baller, and well, over the top. Artist, producer, designer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and thrower-of-the-White-Party, he’s proven that Puffy can really go places.
3. Fat Bastard
Mike Meyers rocking a Scottish accent, sumo-style wig and moobs make for a killer combination. He may not be the most glamorous puffer we’ve seen, but he’s funny as hell. Plus, he trademarked “Get in my belly,” a true Puffer mantra.
Remember Kirby’s Dream Land? Yes, we miss it, too. And compared to the video game stars of today, this guy is certainly a product of the ’90s. Kirby’s pink bulbous body allows him to run, jump and float, light as a feather. Of course it goes without saying that he swallows up his enemies — he was named after a vacuum cleaner, after all.
5. Tyra Banks
Supermodel Tyra Banks donned a fat suit in 2005, masking her as a 350-pound frump fest out to conduct a social experiment and fiercely change the world. Of the experience, she said, “There’s no excuse for rudeness. There’s no excuse for ugliness. And there’s no excuse for nastiness and that’s what I experienced.” Now that puffy is in, we wonder if she’d receive the same reaction. Our guess? Most likely.
6. Puff the Magic Dragon
This guy has always been up for parental debate. He’s green, has the haircut of a 17-year-old boy, puffs away, and even his smile is somewhat suspect. Not exactly ideal behavior for a pet. But no matter — Puff has always been a larger than life favorite of druggies everywhere.
7. Violet Beauregarde
Holding the world record in gum chewing, Roald Dahl’s character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is ever the competitive glutton. Two words we enjoy paired together. Unable to refrain from tasting an imperfect blueberry pie, Violet expands into a violet-colored butterball. Inspiration to us all.
8. Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
The Ghostbusters villain presents a conundrum. We want to love him. He’s soft, he’s cuddly, and his body is made from marshmallows. He’s like a giant Peep! What more could you want? The catch, though, is the simple fact that he’s off to destroy the world. Love hurts.
9. Edna and Tracy Turnblad
They sing, dance, eat, wear sequins, and prance about with potential explosives atop their heads. As Motormouth Maybelle would say, “No one wants a meal/that only offers the least/When girl we’re servin’ up/The whole damn feast.”
10. The Contestants of The Biggest Loser
We can’t help but root for these puffers. They are real people, after all. They laugh, cry, and vomit from over exhaustion like the best of us. And in such tough times, it’s nice to know a good buffer exists between us and rock-hard Jillian Michaels.