I'm no AD&D aficionado but I read they're meant to be stunningly beautiful. I looked though those official art work pics and they look closer to one of the Greys. I don't know about you but that's not my idea of beauty.
The Greys are short (dwarf height or lower), grey-skinned (duh), completely hairless, feature large/disproportionately larger heads, have dead black eyes, et cetera. I'm not seeing a connection.
Anyhow, beauty is in the eye of the...beauty is subjective . Nevertheless, quite a few physical traits common to "typical" elves have been and still are considered attractive relative to humanity.
Large eyes? Check. "Cow eyes" have been desirable since at least the time of Hera. Almond eyes? Check. Chiseled facial features? Check. Willowy build? Check. Occasionally androgynous? Check.
The ears are a bit of anomaly when placed alongside a "normal" human, granted, but I'm sure there's enough desire for them out there.
Originally Posted by Chief_Jericho
I for one am glad Larian's reigned in on the arms race of ear length but in the last decade or so they've somehow ended up with ears longer than your arms.
The two stark examples I can think of are from the Warcraft games and the Record of Lodoss War anime. I don't think D&D's elves have ever possessed ears that lengthy or, if they ever did, they were definitely outliers.