(Shoppist editor Emily Goulet has named this one of the blog’s top posts for 2014.)
With American Apparel’s latest window display (it’s on East Houston Street in New York), mannequins have been taken to a new, surprisingly lifelike—and totally unnecessary—level. The window features three mannequins in sheer underwear sporting huge tufts of pubic hair. It’s American Apparel. Of course they do.
Mannequins have been a source of controversy for some time. Like their human model counterparts, they’re always either too fat, too thin, too skimpily clad, too weirdly real-looking. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sampling of mannequins that made headlines:
- The “curvy” mannequins featured in a Swedish department store (no, not H&M).
- The mannequins with huge, implant-like breasts.
- The mannequins that are outrageously skinny.
- The size-16 mannequins in British department store Debenhams.
- The mannequins who didn’t wear enough clothes.
- And this guy, who is our new hero.
Why are we taking mannequins down this path? Unlike stores using realistically sized forms to counter the impossible physical ideal promoted by our culture, these au naturel forms are for shock value only. (And, well, to see the media maelstrom it’s stirred up, I guess it worked.) But it all seems a bit pathetic. If they’re trying to ‘normalize’ pubic hair, they missed the mark on that one and instead made it a more of a ’70s-porn-star caricature. Plus, as one co-worker pointed out, you barely even notice the actual clothes. All you see is hair.
But, American Apparel, now that we’ve got pubic hair, let’s take it all the way, shall we? Add some crow’s feet, maybe a zit here or there, and wrinkly elbows. After all, that’s natural, too. But a few non-Botoxed smile lines aren’t as shocking as pubic hair. And when you’re in the business of selling this, I guess a little attention couldn’t hurt.