May 2006 Featured Collection

 Miniature Mannequins





     first started to appear in the 1920's and were commonly seen until the 1960's.  They eventually went out of style due to the fact that it was much cheaper to produce cardboard cutouts.  Today they are "precious commercial artifacts" rarely seen, due to the fragile nature of their composition.  These miniature mannequins were used as advertising props in many different retail venues.  In clothing stores they were used as armatures for dresses, suits, and intimate apparel; in drug stores to display trusses and bandages; and in hardware stores to promote various consumable wares. 

     These miniature mannequins were "designed to embody ideal, albeit fashionable, beauty, they are the Greco-Roman stature of the Machine Age, twentieth-century sculptures of commerce whose seductive forms beckon to us to buy, buy, buy."  The idea behind the miniaturization was that they could be put almost anywhere, but mostly on counter tops.  They would catch the eye of the curious shopper who was browsing the counters and cases in the stores.

    Mannequins were formed in clay molds and then reproduced in plaster, or hard rubber.  Some are embossed with logos or slogans, "becoming a seamless part of the figure."  The mannequins with fabric clothing in our collection are made of Rubberlite, a composite material, which is basically a hard rubber.  Most mannequins came from the manufacturer naked, and then were outfitted in accordance to the garment manufacturers requirements.  However, some mannequins were cast with garments on and then hand painted, these are made from plaster.

     The clothing and undergarments made for these mannequins were sewn by skilled seamstresses.  Many of the clothes were exact replicas of the full size versions, everything from the cloth used to the zippers and buttons was exactly the same as if you were going to buy it from the store, only smaller.

     All of the mannequins produced came from a "variety of sources, mostly within the U.S., but also from Europe.  The actual origins of these evocative creatures, however - the studios and craftsmen responsible for their creation - are for the most part unknown."  Originally these miniature mannequins were sold to the retail stores for anywhere from $25 to $50.  Today they can be sold for thousands, due to their very rare nature.

     Antique Warehouse currently has 10 miniature mannequins in their inventory.  Below you will find a few images of these miniature mannequins the Antique Warehouse is displaying.  By clicking on the images below you will be taken to the collection page where you can view all of our mannequin advertising pieces.

Heller & Fili.  Counter Culture, 2001.

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