Group: Josie Reeve, Kate Benjamin, OliviaMcGuinness
Brief: With the use of a plain male or female mannequin, modify if to emulate the culture, civilisation, city or country that you are given.
Chosen culture: Himalayas.
We began with doing in depth research towards the 5 surrounding countries, and the people that inhabit the area; finding the Tiji Festival of Mustang, Nepal. According to monterosa-nepal.com, 'the festival is a three-day ritual known as "The chasing of the Demons" and it is centred on the Tiji myth: a deity named Dorje Jono who must battle against his demon father to save the Kingdom of Mustang from destruction. Throughout the festival the events and story of the myth are re-enacted' using masks. We used this traditional dress as our inspiration for our vibrant mannequins mask.
For the body, we focused on what the Himalayas are notoriously known for: mountains. We found images that used a colour palette of neutral tones in blue and grey to contrast the harsh colours of the mask.
Overall, my group and I are very please with the outcomes of our work. Mod-rocing the entire torso, arms and thighs was a very time consuming process, however the results are very effective and looked like a mountainous landscape. The facial mask was done to the plan and imitates the Tiji Festival. On reflection, if I were to change anything here I would have liked the tongue to be of a redder hue, rather than solid purple as I feel like it blends in a little. I like the addition of the fabric fringing that echoes the traditional dress of the Nepalese, and add to the authenticity of the mannequin.
Round 2 at Harrods began at 8 with dressing 5 mannequins in the Men's International Gallery on the Lower Ground floor. Having being chosen the day previous, the fashion team and I set to stripping, dressing and editing the army of mannequins. I like the complimenting looks of the 5; individually they are all wearable outfits but as a group they all don't explicitly match each other, instead they have accessories that compliment a unifying look.
In this room I also changed a jacket for Balmain and assisted the VM team in neatening up their selling space with the use of the brand's Visual Merchandising guidelines. Previously, only working with free reign over the dressing and styling of mannequins; it was an insight into field visual merchandising, travelling store to store and displaying product under specified guidelines which got me looking into other VM job opportunities.
Later on in the day, I assisted in picking for a group of male mannequins in the Men's Tailoring room on the Ground Floor, specifically for Harrods of London and a separate grouping for Canali. Having a passion for men's wear, especially tailoring, really helped me give my best possible input to the task in hand of assisting the team pick the looks.
Having my Branding tutor at the FRA to also work for Adel Rootsein Mannequins, meant it was more or less inevitable that our class would be taking a trip to the factory in West Kensington at some point over the course of the year.
Being more accustomed to wrangling all sorts of clothes onto mannequins and trying not to break the fingers off the delicate hands, I had never thought about their production, never mind the complexity of it all.
Edward Stammers, tutor and our tour guide, began with the moulding of the face. 'An interesting face makes for a better mannequin...Rootsein tend to base their decision of the model on their facial structure over their bodily proportions', unlike many of their competitors, at Rootsein use a live model and sculpt an initial mannequin out of clay. Its a time consuming process; the model will have to stand for several hours at a time and pictures of the position are taken for the sculptor's reference.
The clay statue is then made into a mould for the fibreglass/resin mix to create a familiar mannequin.
The mannequins are sprayed and resprayed, and sprayed again by experts to build a clean, smooth and consistent colour all over the body.
The hair and make up is such an intricate process rows upon rows of 'faces' line the walls of one corridor for clients to mix and match their choice of make up for their mannequins.
This trip really opened my eyes to the potential of mannequins, and how time consuming the process is, from sculpting all the way to shop window, and every consideration from a crossed finger to prominent hip bone. I've got a whole new appreciation for mannequins!