Mannequins Put on Some Weight
Driven by the popularity of some more ‘shapely’ or ‘curvy’ stars — but also seen as long overdue in many circles — apparel stores in the U.K. are asking suppliers to make more womanly mannequins with DD bust sizes.
Displaysense, a maker of mannequins, has seen orders for British size 12-14 fashion mannequins soar by 16 percent, according to The Telegraph. The typical mannequin size is 10 (U.S. 8)
The shift is said to be partly driven by the soaring popularity of crooner Adele, who just won six Grammy Awards and is a British size 16 (U.S. size 14.) Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks as well as U.S. TV reality star Kim Kardashian are also said to represent a return to retro silhouettes.
Displaysense executive Jim Moody told the Telegraph, "Curves are back and set to stay this spring-summer. We believe the trend is partly due to vintage fashions being back in style, particularly from the 40s and 50s, which suit the hourglass figure."
But others felt that any shift to larger mannequins is long overdue given that the average women is much closer to British size 16 (U.S. 14) and the plus-size market has been thriving in apparel retailing for years. Many blame the svelte mannequins — as well as skinny models in general — on the fashion industry’s unrealistic obsession with thin as an aspirational ideal.
That was confirmed to some after legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel fame told Metro Paris that Adele was "a little fat" while noting she has "a beautiful face and a divine voice." The uproar over the weight talk led to a quick apology and drove Adele to defend herself. She told People, "I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that."
Under the anonymity of the comments section following the Telegraph’s article, several readers praised the move to represent "natural women" more realistically. One commenter noted, "The fashion industry lost sight of what is ‘normal’ a very long time ago" while noting that British size 12 is still unrealistically thin. Another lamented that it takes celebrity star power to drive such change.
On the other side, some believed Adele is unhealthily overweight. Given the health problems resulting from increasing levels of obesity, being overweight is as equally a concern as being too thin, a few argued. Wrote one commenter, "I hope being overweight doesn’t become even more acceptable."
- Surge in sales of ‘Adele’-sized mannequins – The Telegraph
- Bigger is beautiful as shops order more plus-size mannequins – Mirror
- Karl Lagerfeld on Adele, the Greek crisis and M.I.A.’s middle finger – Metro World News
- Lager Lout Was Out Of Order Using The F Word, But We’ve All Done It – Sunday World
- No style points for Karl Lagerfeld’s mean-spirited critique of Adele – Bellingham Herald
- Karl Lagerfeld, eat your words: Adele doesn’t want to be ‘some skinny mini’ – New York Post
Discussion Questions: Will being more realistic in their presentation of the female form be sales-positive in the end for apparel retailers? Is an aspirational ideal required to spark interest and the consumer’s imagination in fashion?