History for Dummies

ATREZZO dummy

Who knew you could learn so much from a dummy?

(No, not that kind.) Turns out that the study of fashion mannequins, or “dummies,” reveals a lot about the contemporary culture of their era. Today, European design leader Atrezzo celebrates this unique facet of the fashion world with its new Rock Eco Collection.

Atrezzo's fascinating news release describes the evolution of the fashion dummy over the last century, from its origins as a heavy, wood-carved figure during the birth of Fashion Merchandising in the early 20th century. Realistic-looking, smiling mannequins mimicked real-life Hollywood stars during the 20s, but became serious and stern as World War II began.

By the middle of the century, dummies were viewed as art. They re-created the abstract surrealism of the era. The chaotic 60s saw slender, androgynous figures vie in popularity with housewifely mannequins, and the 70s marked the introduction of multi-ethnic models. Dummies assumed action poses in the 80s, then closed the century as larger-than-life avatars, robots, and super heroes.

Atrezzo draws on this rich past for its collection, integrating contemporary dance poses with historic and aesthetic mannequin developments and existential themes. The choreographed figures focus on the strength and flexibility of the body and contrast it to an absurdly light head.

As Atrezzo shows, mannequins reveal a lot about culture and history – and there's nothing dumb about that.

–Lillian Civantos

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