Monday, February 26, 2007

Maxine the Mannequin

Not many people know that display mannequins are based on real people.

Artists employed by mannequin companies sculpt life-sized replicas of human models. This process, which allows for the most realistic figures, was created in the late 1950's by mannequin-mogul Adel Rootstein.

A true visionary, Adel had a keen eye and a intuitive sense of "the next big thing". Among her notable discoveries was a young Twiggy in 1964.

The original Adel Rootstein brochure featured a photo of the real Maxine (left).

For several years, I worked at clothing store Le Château, in the window department. My days were spent surrounded by these life-sized Barbie dolls, and I would've jumped at the chance of eventually owning one.

During the time that I worked there, Le Château was in the process of overhauling their corporate image. They decided to unload my all-time favorite mannequin series: a group called the Snapshots.

Based on ballet dancers, the Snapshot series dated back to the late 70's and early 80's (think early Madonna, legwarmers and Fame). By the late 90's, the Snapshots, essentially a teenage-line, became obsolete.

It was my lucky day...

The mannequin that I got was named Maxine, after Maxine Renshall, the real girl that was sculpted. I've had her for about 5 years now, and she resides quietly in the real Expo Lounge, in full miniskirt and go-go boot regalia. Maxine's original Adel Rootstein brochure, laminated, hangs behind her on the wall.

Maxine wears a vintage Expo 67 silk scarf around her neck.

She reads Visitez l'Expo 67 avec Bill Bantey, a guide to the pavilions she'll visit.

Maxine keeps her Expo passport and other souvenirs in her Expo 67 flight bag.

Maxine's mod look is inspired by Michèle Richard, her idol. Don't they look alike?

images: personal collection

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