Designed to showcase athleisure and contour make-up, mannequins across the globe are getting an update
IT is hard to avoid the streettrope of athleisure. Look inany fashion-forward shopwindow and you may see thefluid lines of mannequins asthey model workout clothes for lifeoutside the gym. ‘‘The permanentneed of movement and comfort hasbeen the base for many clothing linesrecently. Mannequins have followedsuit in a range of active athletic posesfrom running and swimming, todancing, and even incorporate a fewmore curves and muscles,’’ says JonHarari, CEO of WindowsWear, a fashiondisplay windows expert basedin New York City. The trend, whichis growing abroad, is also visible instores across the country. As Kolkatabasedscenographer Swarup Dutta(he has created fantasy settings fordesigners like DevRNil and AnamikaKhanna), informs us, we have comea long way from the initialmannequinswhich were madeof wax. Quotingmarketing professional LeighannMorris, the authorof the article TheComplete History ofMannequins: Garbos,Twiggies Barbies andBeyond, he says, ‘‘Overthe past hundred years,figures change to reflectthe advents of windowshopping, women’sliberation, Barbie dollfetishism, fiberglass, andTwiggy, to name a few… changingattitudes towards the female form…and developments in materials andtechnology.”Mannequins today could be starkwhite (as seen at the multi-designstore Evoluzione), and sometimespresented with beautiful contourmakeup. Theatric touches add impact,as seen at Macy’s department store inNew York in December 2015, where50 years of Charles Schulz’s comiccharacter, Charlie Brown, resultedin a fantastical display. Going by themobile mannequins in shop windowsin London during the holiday season,interactive mannequinshave a following, as they dance or stretch in shop windows.Recently, students of Hong KongPolytechnic University’s Instituteof Textiles and Clothing designedmannequins that can change sizeand shape to suit a garment. “I amwaiting for hologram modelsto replace the mannequinssoon! You can see allthe clothes in 3D and modelswalking in and out of the store,virtually!” adds Dutta. Webring you up to speed on a fewmannequin trends.
Abstract figures with animatedexpressions are in demand.“As the fashion industry in India ismaturing, it is understanding howto edit and minimise extra bits. Sowhen you create mannequins withlesser detailing, it creates lesser distractionas your clothes need to speakmore,” explains Navonil Das fromKolkata-based brand DevRNil. TinaMalhotra, the owner of ChennaibasedEvoluzione adds to that thought.“The key to our display is to use mannequinsdynamically in enhancingthe visual experience, withoutdistracting or taking away from thegarments themselves.” Mannequinswill soon take their cue from manufacturerslike Proportion London;their new collection, Mademoiselle,sports Alexander Mcqueen’s latestand has hand gestures that communicateattitude. “More abstractwithout well defined facial features,different kind of colours, differentpostures, that’s what is in demandnow in India,’’ confirms Ravi Verma,CEO of Delhi-based mannequinmanufacturer, Clone MannequinsInc. With clients like Evoluzione andDev R Nil, fibreglass mannequinshere begin at `7,000.Calling the shotsGlobal player, ProportionLondon, supplies to the likesof Alexander McQueen,Dolce&Gabbana;, PaulSmith and Ralph Lauren.Their papier machemannequins can behired at approximately`5,220 (per week).Details: proportionlondon.comM e a n w h i l e ,Germany’s GenesisMannequins meetsthe demand form a n n e q u i n swith fabric linedbodies and movablewooden arms, andspecial maternity andkid mannequins. From`33,420 (approximately)onwards. Details: genesisdisplay.com/en/
— Saloni Sinha