How Do Or Should Variations Show On The Store Front?

Just setting up product variations for my products. I'd assumed that variations would allow for me to effectively create a parent product and display multiple variations (e.g colour versions) on the store front.

All I seem to have is the parent product and multiple variations but it they all show under the one product listing as I would normally have had if just using options. Is this right?

The background, this is for a lingerie site where there's large numbers of sizes but limited number of colours. I don't really want to have to go in to each size to set the images as I could be doing this 20-30 times per product line. Just assumed that the 'variant' feature would allow for greater flexibility.

Any assistance or advice is greatly appreciated.