The Most Controversial Mannequins of All Time

Mannequins are pretty much vital in fashion retail, used to showcase the latest and greatest that a store has to offer. So it makes sense for shops to explore ways its plastic dummies can stand out from the crowd.

Any deviation from what shoppers usually see in storefronts is bound to cause a stir, though. It’s either all claps for the forward-thinking idea, or it’s a huge blunder that causes all kinds of hoo-ha.

We’re looking back at the best and worst mannequins of all time — pubic hair, buck teeth, and missing limbs included. 

1. Bony mannequins

New Zealand retailer Glassons has just been under fire for its use of mannequins with protruding ribs, and many customers were outraged at the body image issues this presented (especially for its younger market). The company’s “excuse” for the action was originally pretty crappy, and the store later apologised and promised to take the bony mannequins down.

It’s not like Glassons was the first retailer to use skinnier-than-usual mannequins. Lingerie brand La Perla and Irish department store Primark also raised eyebrows earlier this year with prominent collar bones and rib-cages on their dummies, GAP used plastic models with super-narrow legs in 2011, and American retailer Club Monaco’s had bony backs and very visible spines on its mannequins back in 2010.

These mannequins certainly gave Barbie a run for her money. But with so many of the retailers taking down the questionable mannequins soon after customer complaints, we’re thinking brands could soon be steering clear of any mannequins which could be perceived in the wrong way. Especially when it’s a topic as sensitive as body image.