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Yesterday, the Times reported that the standard "generic white, hairless, skinny mannequin" is being phased out by some retail companies in favor of mannequins with a little more umph to them, which means adding everything from muscles to famous faces.
Brands like Armani Exchange have reclining mannequins "to help shoppers imagine wearing lingerie," and the mannequins in Ralph Lauren's new women store bear the face of model Yasmin Le Bon. Charlotte Russe's mannequins are inspired by—what else—celebrity red-carpet poses, and Athleta digitally scanned their catalog model, athlete Danielle Halverson, in a variety of physical poses to create their "Daniquin." (Yes, they're actually calling it that.)
Michael Steward, the executive vice president of mannequin-maker Rootstein USA, tells the Times, "Nothing sells the clothing like a mannequin: it's a subliminal message from the retailer, the first thing people see in the window or in a department when they go into the store." But they better sell a lot of clothes to make it worth it. The price of a custom mannequin can range anywhere from $400 to $1,200 each, and specialty places might charge around $15,000 or more for development. Overall, we're talking millions.
While you wrap your head around those numbers, consider these sort-of-fun mannequin facts. Professor Linda Scott, who studies consumer culture at the Said Business School at Oxford, says that mannequins first received joints, hair, makeup and glasses in the twenties, and in the sixties they finally got nipples, thanks to all of the free-love, braless women of the generation.
· Stores Demand Mannequins With Personality (Heads Optional) [NY Times]
· From Dani to Daniquin: Inspiration Takes Form [Athleta]