In fashion exhibitions, one usually focuses on the clothes, not the stiff figures wearing them. But a recent new book, Mannequins in Museums: Power and Resistance on Display, challenges that concept and features chapters from two FIT educators.
In the chapter “Asian physiques of mannequins in American art museums,” Kyunghee Pyun, associate professor of History of Art, contrasts mannequins representing Asian bodies in fashion exhibitions with those representing Asian peoples in natural history museums, and analyzes the attitudes toward them through a lens of cross-cultural understanding.
In “Fashion and physique: Size, shape, and body politics in the display of historical dress,” Emma McClendon, adjunct associate professor of Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice, looked at how the shape of mannequins has evolved over time, emphasizing that the ideal shape of the body is a cultural construct that frequently changes with the period.
Mannequins in Museums was published in July by Routledge.