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We are reminded of the dressmaking process, and the labour that goes into making the garment. In the s, heads and limbs were introduced to make the mannequins more representative of the customer. For the next 60 or 70 years, manufacturers went to great lengths to achieve realism, even using real hair and live models [2].

The addition of interchangeable arms and moving parts in the s allowed them to express with their entire bodies, and they could be seen to be engaged in activities which were a reflection of a lifestyle[3].

Mangled mannequins – what happened to shop-window dummies?

Over the following decades, mannequins went through periods of realism and artistic expression, always representing a customer's body or values. Like models in fashion photography, mannequins began to appear in staged scenes and against styled backdrops. The shop display became an opportunity for retailers to associate a set of ideals and values with the garments on display.

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What we see in the high street today seems to contradict the established purpose of a mannequin, as well as the rules of marketing. The removal of the head imposes anonymity. These bodies could belong to anyone and everyone. Faceless anonymity is also a tactic employed by Maison Martin Margiela in his catwalk shows. Margiela is infamous for his anonymity.

Mannequin Scare Prank

He does not explicitly claim ownership of his designs. At Maison Martin Margiela, clothes are given plain white labels, bearing no name[4]. This anonymity and invisibility is a practice continued throughout the entire branding and distribution process. Margiela stores are not identified with signage.

Within the stores, staff wear white lab coats with no identifiable marks, and white sheets cover the furniture in the stores. Anonymity even extends to Margiela's shows, in which models often walk the runway with covered faces.


Instead, they imply a kind of democracy in which the consumer could be anyone. The consumer cannot directly see him or herself reflected in the mannequin, and so the retailer opens itself up to any possible consumer.

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The headless mannequin tries not to impose an idea of who its target consumer may be. Even where heads are still used, they have become blank and expressionless. They are generic, anonymous — like cloth dolls or androids on a production line.

Emaciated mannequins: a study of mannequin body size in high street fashion stores

These two tactics seem to make sense independently of one another. The dressmaker's form is effective at invoking ideas of dressmaking, and the headless mannequin is effective at broadening a target market to include any possible customer. Problems arise when we see a half-hearted or confused approach to reducing the body. The mannequins in the window of Gap Kids are posed expressively, as if the bodies are having fun, but their heads are missing.

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It is as if these bodies have been decapitated mid-play. Hans Boodt Mannequins is always on a mission looking for unique identities, to translate into shop window mannequins. Real life examples are 3D sculpted and created in 3D printed realistic characters. A series of characters entirely designed, developed and printed in our in-house design studio. We are Hans Boodt Mannequins.

Emaciated mannequins: a study of mannequin body size in high street fashion stores

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