This is Diane Dewitt in abstract form instead of realistic. This is one of 10 Stylized mannequins in this style that he purchased but donated to a local museum.

So technically this is not part of his private collection but I am including them anyway.

Rootstein built their reputation on realistic looking mannequins, so this abstract mannequins are quite a departure from their original aesthetic. There are a couple of reasons why they started producing them.

The primary reason is cost. It costs a lot less money to produce an abstract mannequin.

When retailers became more cost conscious they still wanted a mannequin with superior craftsmanship (versus the knock offs from China that break) but at a cheaper purchase price.

In addition to the cheaper purchase price, an abstract mannequin is much cheaper to maintain. No wigs that need styling or make up the needs updating. And when retailers started reducing their visual merchandising staff in the 1990’s, a low maintenance mannequin was a must.

Plus since abstract mannequins were usually painted white, they did not need to be handled as carefully as a mannequin in various skin tone colors which tend to scratch if not handled properly.

Another reason that abstract mannequins and eventually egghead mannequins (with no facial features or formed hair) grew in popularity was the inclusive visual message.

A blank mannequin doesn’t represent any particular race or ethnic group. This allows the consumer to make their own decisions about their perception of the mannequin they are viewing.

In my opinion the retailer with the best use of abstract Rootstein mannequins was Ralph Lauren.

The Ralph Lauren mannequins were painted in a deep tan color. It made them look expensive and as if the mannequin had just come from sunning in San Tropez. And they were in really interesting poses.

Although the Ralph Lauren mannequins were the same skin tone, they were a wide spectrum of ethnicities.

In fact when I recycled mannequins for Ralph Lauren when they were using realistic mannequins, not a single one was Asian or African American.

Yet years later when I recycled stores that had abstract mannequins, many of the mannequins had clearly ethnic features – but all in the same skin tone. The tanned mannequin below are from a Ralph Lauren store in Florida all with the Yasmin LeBon head. I have these for sale if you are interested.

If you want to buy a Rootstein mannequin, we frequently have used ones for sale here. You can also sign up to receive an email the next time we get more used Rootstein mannequins in stock or follow us on Facebook.