Wrapping up Spooky Human-Shaped Things Week is The Making of Lauren, a look inside the studio of a mannequin sculptor.
When I was a kid I thought they made them by dipping people in plastic and sawing their limbs off for poseability; I don’t know where the idea came from, but they used to really FREAK ME OUT. In truth, the good ones are fabricated by master figure sculptors like Len Gifford.
Len Gifford is a fine art sculptor who also works for Rootstein, a production company that specializes in mannequins:
The essential difference between mannequins and figurative sculpture is that they have to be precise in detail, be an exact likeness of the model, wear and look fantastic in the displayed clothes as the real fashion model does. Tolerances of 5mm in any direction are required. Get it wrong and the clothes would be ill fitting and look awful. To show that mannequins do not ‘Just appear’ in window displays I have produced this guide to demonstrate the skills and processes used in the making of a Rootstein mannequin. With top fashion model Lauren I will show you the work from concept to finished product…
It’s a fascinating process. taking about 40 days from when the model walks in to final production. The look behind-the-scenes is well illustrated with photographs. The end result still freaks me out a bit, but it’s good to know they’re not dead people coated in resin. Um, at least not at Rootstein.