Putting life into window dressing

Mannequins that adorn shop windows are being made to look as human as possible

Written by Sumegha Gulati | Published:March 31, 2013 12:44 am

In a window of a popular multi-brand store in South Delhi stands a male mannequin with ‘his family’,holding shopping bags with ‘Happy Holi’ painted on them.

A month ago,these figures sported a different look — red checkered shirt for the male figure and a short dress for his female counterpart. This time the bags had Happy Valentine’s Day on them.

Over time,even mannequins,it seems,have not been immune to changes in fashion trends.

Stores — big and small — selling almost everything from garments to shoes and accessories are now demanding customised mannequins to cater to their clientèle.

Abhishek Tahiliani,owner of City Mannequins in Amar Colony in Southeast Delhi,says the demand for mannequins has gone up 20 times in the last two decades.

Back in the 1990s,the demand was for simple dummies. But when “size zero” and “six-pack abs” began to dominate the fashion psyche of a spendthrift generation mannequins too underwent a transformation.

Out went the dull,boring looking models and in came the stylish figures. “Today,we have better faces,sharper features,beautiful hairstyles,better postures and finishes — chrome,steel,gold and high-glass finish,” Tahiliani says. Of these,the most expensive ones are the high-glass finish that makes the dummy look more real.

“An adult dummy’s price ranges from Rs 2,000 to Rs 20,000 on an average. Special dummies may cost up to Rs 40,000 a piece. The child figures are cheaper,costing between Rs 1,600 and Rs 5,000,” Tahiliani says.

Sumit,who has been selling dummies to Mumbai-based firms,and Gagan,who runs Concept Mannequins in East of Kailash,say they have never seen a slack in demand for mannequins.

The figures are usually made manually,from fibre glass and resins. A dummy ideally takes five days to complete,with 3-4 persons working on one. It is first shaped using a ‘moulder’. Then,a person rubs it to give it finishing. Finally,the dummy is painted and a make-up artist contours the facial features.

Though some dummies,made of plastic,are machine-manufactured,the mannequin makers vouch for the manually-made ones which are of a higher quality and more durable and cost almost the same as plastic ones.

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