expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

26 February 2007

Maxine the Mannequin

Not many people know that display mannequins are based on real people.

Artists employed by mannequin companies sculpt life-sized replicas of human models. This process, which allows for the most realistic figures, was created in the late 1950's by mannequin-mogul Adel Rootstein.

A true visionary, Adel had a keen eye and a intuitive sense of "the next big thing". Among her notable discoveries was a young Twiggy in 1964.

The original Adel Rootstein brochure featured a photo of the real Maxine (left).

For several years, I worked at clothing store Le Château, in the window department. My days were spent surrounded by these life-sized Barbie dolls, and I would've jumped at the chance of eventually owning one.

During the time that I worked there, Le Château was in the process of overhauling their corporate image. They decided to unload my all-time favorite mannequin series: a group called the Snapshots.

Based on ballet dancers, the Snapshot series dated back to the late 70's and early 80's (think early Madonna, legwarmers and Fame). By the late 90's, the Snapshots, essentially a teenage-line, became obsolete.

It was my lucky day...

The mannequin that I got was named Maxine, after Maxine Renshall, the real girl that was sculpted. I've had her for about 5 years now, and she resides quietly in the real Expo Lounge, in full miniskirt and go-go boot regalia. Maxine's original Adel Rootstein brochure, laminated, hangs behind her on the wall.

Maxine wears a vintage Expo 67 silk scarf around her neck.

She reads Visitez l'Expo 67 avec Bill Bantey, a guide to the pavilions she'll visit.

Maxine keeps her Expo passport and other souvenirs in her Expo 67 flight bag.

Maxine's mod look is inspired by Michèle Richard, her idol. Don't they look alike?

images: personal collection

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Blogger stinkypaw said...

Maxine is too cool!

BTW, if you have a chance check out the movie "Le secret de ma mère" - thought of you when I saw it, it is so 50s-60s, there's even a sequence from Expo 67! Check it out!

1:47 am  
Blogger Davecat said...

I think I might have the Rootstein catalogue that she appears in -- I've got a score of Mannequin catalogues, but they're currently in a box somewhere. Rootsteins were indeed noted for their realism and detail, as well as their price, but then, as they say, you pay for quality...

Maxine is quite a stylish lass! Her hair and dress are especially fab. :-)

5:59 am  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

Maxine and I both thank you for your comments!

6:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How fortunate for me I actually have seen "Maxine" in real life and all her beautiful mannequin glory. Pictures do no justice....Love Mousse xoxox

8:25 am  
Blogger mod*mom said...

hello maxine!

4:34 am  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

Maxine is pleased to make your acquaintance, mod*mom!

8:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahah, guess what i actually work there and paint their faces on in oil paint..
what a fabulous job and we meet the actual models and the famous customers who buy the mannequinns that are bespoke created for them
glad you love them too

4:29 am  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

Wow, nth, that is fab!!!

8:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, it's a shame the Rootsteins website is offline at the moment [being rebuilt] it normally shows the studio in Kensington and the sequence of sculpting through to mould making and fibreglass construct with cellulose spray finish. then up to me for a Face/makeup paint then down to the wig department for a bespoke wig either in Acrylic or real hair. it also shows the complete catalogue of models and styles . plus a 360 show of the New York showroom with the latest concept. which was based on the movie Marie Antoinette meets Vivienne Westwood absolutely equisite

4:10 am  
Blogger Chisa said...

Excellent post. I too am a huge fan of the Snapshots line; I've got both Cerstin and Kyoko in my house, and one day aim to find Maxine as well.

7:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

happy new year 2008
back to work on the 14th jan.
i have missed my mannequins friends at work, though it is great to see my work out on the high street in London and Paris

5:14 am  
Blogger Liza Cowan said...

I own a fabulous Diane DeWitt Rootstein mannequin. She is beyond fabulous. I also own several Ralph Puccin Myra Kalman mannequins. The live in my art gallery and I feature them often in photos.

I'd love to see images from the old Rootstein catalogs, Dave.


12:21 pm  

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