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As real as it gets - Mannequins are chic, well-defined, sexier than ever

Published:Saturday | January 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM

André Wright, Night Editor

Pam Anderson meets Dolly Parton meets Carlene the Dancehall Queen: Mannequins, like these photographed at a Constant Spring Road strip mall are getting sexier by the minute.

They tantalise you as you traipse gingerly in those one-size-too-small wedge heels and woo you with an irresistible top or outfit that triggers oh-my-God screams and convince you to swipe your credit card now and suffer a migraine over mountains of debt later.

Couturiers and storeowners have long tried to lasso shoppers with everything from shop assistants with plastic smiles to sale banners posted from January to December. (If the store is always on sale, it's probably never on sale).

But nothing quite has a potent, but speechless pick-up line like a dolled-up mannequin waving at you à la Shopaholic, with flawless skin, perfectly coiffed hair and a god of a bod that tricks you into believing you could work that dress just as well. (Wake up, darling, you probably can't).

Mannequins, like everything else in modern society, have evolved tremendously from the apathetic slabs of plastic that just stared listlessly at you like your high-school teacher who watched the clock tick slowly to dismissal time to escape the 35 or so yahoos who nagged naughtily and gagged on mathematical theorems and Newtonian hypotheses. Remember those unsightly stick figures of the '80s that adorned storefronts, shouting, "If you buy this, you'll look as hideous as me. Run!"

Well, it seems the designers of mannequins have finally got it. In order to appeal to various racial and ethnic groups, you've got to actually have plastic people who resemble your target market.

Nowadays, more mannequins reflect the ethnic diversity of shopping audiences, particularly in Jamaica. There are more chocolate-coloured women sharing the limelight, compared to yesteryear when their less-pigmented Eurocentric gal pals ruled the roost. The creativity deserves applause.

cultural relevance

Apart from the increased presence of black (or as Italian President Silvio Berlusconi would say, "young, handsome and tanned") mannequins, the features overhaul has seen more of these models sporting dreadlocks, braids and more jazzed-up, frizzier hairdos.

And is it just me, or do modern mannequin babes really look hot? Gone are the days of polygonal cheekbones, pancake busts, and hips and bums that were so geometrically straight they'd make skirts sag and sigh. The chauvinist anthem, 'real women have curves', has certainly caught on.

But are these curvaceous mannequins, with well-carved derrières and to-die-for hips, fulfilling their role as dealmakers for women shoppers looking for a mirror image, or are they just drool stimulators for lust-laden male pervs (why are you pointing at me?) happy for free eye candy? One really wonders about the pragmatism of these glassfront chicks who sport pornographic, eye-gouging nipples that shoot skywards like Apollo 13.

What do you think? Have they gone too far?

Mannequin designers and storeowners have pushed the envelope with more country- and culture-specific features, such as dreadlocked blacks.


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