There is something extremely powerful, unfair and mysterious about fashion mannequins. It is almost as if one could really touch and feel perfection — or whatever is that this industry projects to the masses as the ideal height, weight, hair and face. Perhaps it is better to say that perfect idealization of a final mannequin image is the main focus of such mission that only intends to reflect us, or most importantly, a better version of us.
The epitome of glamorous immortality, or a sense of it, can be achieved or granted when someone becomes the inspiration for a mannequin’s face and body, but such “event” can become even more special when one single person alone can inspire — at the same time — a male and female version. And, that’s what happened at the traditional Rootstein Display Mannequins house with the concept of both mannequin types of designer Phillipe Blond of famous fashion brand The Blonds. The other half of The Blonds duo is David Blond, Phillipe’s partner in life and business.
Phillipe Blond was first spotted by Kevin Arpino, the then-creative of Rootstein, at one of the group’s private events handled by MAO PR, which also represents The Blonds. Arpino loved how Phillipe looked, they became friends, and Kevin decided that he would be great as both gender mannequin versions, the first time ever that happened. The process took two years, and it entailed Phillipe going to London for three weeks to sit and pose for them. This is indeed a major privilege since Rootstein has sculpted mannequins of personalities and style icons like Joan Collins, Dianne Brill, Susanne Bartsch, Linda Evangelista, Twiggy, Tina Chow, Jerry Hall, Pat Cleveland, Yasmin Le Bon, Karen Mulder, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Coco Rocha … what a great list to be part of.
Rootstein Mannequins was created by Adel Rootstein with her husband industrial designer Richard Hopkins, in the 1960s. Rootstein was a pioneer, elevating the “dummy” concept to new heights by embodying the vision of artistry on window displays, which resulted in a better personal identification by potential customers of the product displayed on these perfect mannequins. Their exquisite craftsmanship and groundbreaking attitude has been essential to their business longevity.
The public unveiling of Phillipe Blond’s mannequins took place at a private cocktail reception at the Rootstein New York branch store in Chelsea. The timing couldn’t be more perfect since gender has been such an important topic in our pop culture. Guests walked around sipping champagne among decked-out mannequins in the best of The Blond archives ensembles. Some of the iconic looks worn by Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Beyoncé were also on display. The exhibit will run for a month.
Gazelle Paulo is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine . Follow him on Twitter and FreakChic.