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Beverlyheels StyleAccessories: Mannequins

Accessories: Mannequins

Posted on Fri, Aug 24th, 2018

Mannequins came into use almost the same time as fashion itself. Over the past century, mannequins have been a symbol of advent for window shopping, women’s liberation, wartime rationing, fiberglass and Twiggy, to name a few. A mannequin reflects attitude towards the female form, how it has changed, its relation to patterns in consumer behavior, and developments in materials and technology in each era.

Prior to 1800, mannequins were pretty much headless but with the advent of the industrial revolution, mannequins started resembling a complete human form. This period marked the beginning of window shopping as a side hobby, hence, the mannequins were made more life-like to make the dresses look better and encourage sales. Materials like false teeth, glass eyes and real hair was used to give a realistic look.

The image of the perfect figured, big busted and dewy-eyed mannequin changed with the onset of the World War in 1914. Women undertook laborious factory jobs in industries such as weapons manufacturing. So, mannequins too shed their dainty hats, unlaced their corsets and were flatter in appearance. Following WW1, mannequins became more relaxed with movable limbs as opposed to stiff Victorian limbs. The 1920s saw the advent of easy going and androgynous flapper who favored a slender, straight figure with a flat chest. It simultaneously revealed the influence of art deco and art nouveau movements with geometric renditions of the human form. Gradually during the 40s, the mannequins became softer and features like high cheekbones and oval face were quite prominent.

During the 60s mannequins embodied the changing beauty standards of the sexual revolution but still ignored the shape and size of the real woman. This is the period that marked the supermodel era and stick thin Twiggy reigned supreme. In the 21st century, plus sized mannequins emerged but were not quite accurate, as they were made only by enlarging certain parts of smaller women, hence making the proportions unrealistic.

Now there are three most common types of mannequins. Realistic, abstract and faceless. The realistic ones depict a human face and body most accurately. Its tailored only for a specific size, and is made of fiberglass. The abstract mannequin is highly appreciated due to its minimalistic deign. In this, features such as muscles, fingernails, some facial characteristics are not sculpted giving a modern fiberglass sculpture look. The headless mannequins are used for any type of clothing as they don’t represent any emotions and can be used for both genders. Another type is just the mannequin head which is used for displaying, storing, or styling wigs and hair accessories. Check out the mannequins for your wigs and hair accessories at

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