Often set in a fashionable tableau – on a cruise ship, perhaps, or in the salon drinking a digestif – Imans’ wax, human haired, glass-eyed, porcelain-toothed dummies had names like Roberta, Elaine, and Nadine. Eschewing the ideal of a perfect female body shape, Imans’ figures had flat chests, wide hips, middle-aged faces and came available in a size 46. Imans’ mannequins reflected the diverse body shapes of women, those potential customers who’d eye the clothes on show.
Emily and Per Ola d’Aulaire write: “Most experts agree that the succession of stages set in motion during the Industrial Revolution—the manufacture of large, steel-framed, plate glass windows, the invention of the sewing machine, the electrification of cities—cleared the way for its arrival. The men and women who strolled the boulevards were the audience; all that was needed were players.” Read more >