How Mannequins Have Changed Over Time - The Art Of Mannequins

July 01, 2016 3 min read

Today's topic is an interesting one. An article about how mannequins have become a reflection of the human body form and a reflection of the consumer's nature. We will also have a look at how mannequins evolved over time in terms of design and use and how they continue to change along with trends.

So buckle up for this time travel throughout mannequins' history.

History of Mannequins

Mannequins represent the embodiment of our perception of the human body and its beauty for a certain time period, as an evolutionary reflection.

They have changed dramatically over the course of time in shape, design, texture, style and they have evolved along with the beauty trends of any given period.

But why were they created? What was their initial purpose?

Their roots begin over a thousand years ago, being believed that the ever first mannequins were used in the times of the pharaohs of Egypt.

In these ancient times, mannequins served for the creation of jewelry or clothes, as tribute, vogue items or simply as display pieces.

In line with the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, the mannequin has suffered a lot of alterations. Going from the headless puppet body that was a cry for liberation, the full-body figure which was a more refined choice, to the mannequin that was designed for entertainment and business, to when in the early 20th century, its beauty was finally glorified.

This praise came from the need to create. Companions and inspiration for Renaissance artists, this passion for mannequins developed even further in the 1900s, becoming muses for artists.

Oskar Kokoschka, “Self-portrait at the Easel”

Alan Beeton, "Posing"

It was of course easier for artists to express themselves in the presence of a mannequin due to their realistic, life-size shapes and stillness. At this time, the mannequins' glorification was on full display.

Their purpose got a more meaningful aspect – from objects of perspective viewing or support, to the subject of paintings, sculptures, film or photography, gradually taking an erotic part as well.

In the mid and late 20th century the dynamic of the time had an influence in the design of mannequins as well. Following the era's movement, the mannequins' body became more voluptuous and visually more appealing.

Striking, new and charismatic poses take the spotlight and make-up is applied, along with crazy and colorful hair. The new mannequin era is on display!

Today's Modern Mannequins

Diversity. This is the best word that characterizes today's mannequins.

The diversity in composition, structure, design and technology is incredibly wide. Mannequins are now truly at their highest artistic peak.

Shapeless mannequins or with merged materials, jewelry encrusted, cone head or no heads, transgender, or celebrity look-alike mannequins, really today's mannequins ideas and possibilities are limitless.

Having said so, here is our selection of the most fascinating and intriguing mannequins out there and their uses:

  • This HIV positive mannequin wears his virus in order to combat stigma and discrimination  (HIV positive mannequins)
  • 3D Mannequins are creating a deeper, visual effect through the use of color pallets and sculpture (3D Mannequins)
  • Material and color merge with these mannequins (Merge)

And, in case you are wondering on how a mannequin is made from scratch and more on their history, make sure to read our article on  How Mannequins Are Made - The Details Behind Quality Mannequins.

Mannequin Trends

Nowadays mannequins are more than just items used only for display and sale, they raised up to their names, becoming pieces of art. They come in all kinds of styles, designs, shapes, sizes, races, genders and so on. Classic, futuristic, neo-modernist, avant-garde, small, big, tall or short, Oriental or Occidental, black, white or yellow.

This is the time to value and offer recognition to mannequins, through artists like Ralph Pucci or through institutions like HWW Museum Mannequins  that showcase of this new form of art.

It is therefore hard to make a prediction of how the image of the mannequinwill evolve further as it expands dramatically and continuously. But what is certain is the fact that the appreciation of the mannequin is a never ending fascination.

If you are interested in the mannequin appraisal through art, feel free to check out Mannequins To Go Display At The Museum Of Arts And Design.

Check out our amazing product selection if you are thinking of improving your store's visual merchandising arsenal. 

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