This is my series devoted to the real life models who became Rootstein mannequins. This post is about some of the ethnic looking male mannequins that Rootstein produced.
A little background first. A “racially ambiguous” male provides a retailer lots of flexibility in display options. If he looks “too ethnic” they risk complaints if they position the mannequin next to an Anglo woman. Especially if the male is a dark skinned African American. Note: retailers are more comfortable putting an African American woman (usually very light skinned) next to an Anglo man in the window.
See the photo below of the mannequin named Peter. When you see the catalogue photos of the real life version of him, he looks mixed race. Whenever I have seen him in a store, he looks like the image on the left. Notice the blue eyes. A mannequin collector had him refinished and chose a paint finish to make him look African American.
The photo in the top row is the real Peter.
The model in the catalogue image on the bottom is Guy. While Guy appears to be an Anglo man with a buzz haircut. But when Guy became an abstract (versus a realistic mannequin ) seen in Ralph Lauren stores, the buzz cut “hair” appeared textured and stipple like. So when placed next to a male mannequin with wavy hair, the difference in his hair texture made Guy appear African American.
Guy was also displayed completely bald which gave him a racially ambiguous look.
Plus Guy was often in a ”swagger like “ pose which gave him an urban edge associated with African American men.
The mannequin name Duane (second image in the catalogue) seems to be African American or bi-racial, but I have never seen him in a retail store.
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