Mannequins, historically hailed as the silent salespeople within retail spaces, are getting a bigger voice thanks to some fresh and innovative styles populating the showroom floor.
“We’ve gone through a long period of simple, quiet mannequin presentations,” says Sal Lenzo, president, Lifestyle/Trimco (New York). “I think everyone got bored and wanted something more interesting to tailor to their brand.”
VMSD first noticed the shift at the A.R.E. Retail Design Collective last December, and the displays at EuroShop certainly confirmed it.
So what’s grabbing attention now? Think new and unusual textures, long and lean figures and designs that harken back to better days. “Contemporary clothes on a vintage-inspired mannequin create a tension of opposites that makes the presentation more engaging to the customer,” says Sean Sager, visual director and creative consultant, CNL Mannequins (Buena Park, Calif.).
Take a look at three of our favorite trends.
Style Guide: Long and Lean
A resurgence of long and lean models on the catwalks and pages of fashion mags has some mannequins reaching new heights. For men, it’s all about slim silhouettes to accentuate trendy fitted shirts or skinny jeans. And don’t forget about playing with proportion. “One has to find ways to take the human body into different directions. Proportion becomes a key element in which to take inspiration,” says George Martin, vp, design and presentation, Patina-V (City of Industry, Calif.).
Either way you play it, the result is a more dramatic merchandise presentation.
Style Guide: Textures
I see color, I see prints, I see ... a wealth of new textures and finishes ready to stand out in a sea of white and black glossies. These styles not only show individuality and character (without the cost of sculpting a new line), but they’re also a great way to make mannequins feel like they’re part of the store environment.
Style Guide: Vintage
Don Draper would feel at home in a room full of these vintage lines. While references to the past appeal to shoppers and retailers because they’re timeless, these vintage styles also align with the return to handcrafted in visual merchandising displays. For shoppers, they impart the message that they’re buying something special and long-lasting. As the saying goes, “Everything old is new again.”