It's A Problem

Mannequins Get Even Skinnier, Now With Visible Ribs

When was the last time you looked at a mannequin and thought “that figure just isn’t thin enough?” Apparently, someone at the New York branch of the upscale lingerie store La Perla had just that cross his or her mind.

On Tuesday, Twitter user Michael Rudoy sparked a controversy with a snap of a mannequin in the shop window that displayed visible ribs.

“How does La Perla think visible ribs on a mannequin is OK?” Rudoy asked, and soon a hashtag campaign against the super-thin mannequins, #NotBuyingIt, began trending.


A scary close-up of La Perla’s mannequin.

Thanks to pressure from the online community, La Perla is yanking the hyper-thin mannequins.

“The mannequin photographed has been removed from the store and will not be used again by any La Perla boutique,” the company tweeted. “We are in the process of redesigning all La Perla stores with a new concept image and the mannequins that are currently displayed in our US stores will no longer be used.”

Maybe La Perla should take a page from UK department store Debenhams, which features curvier human-shaped forms that better reflect many women’s bodies.

“I hope more retailers will recognize that meeting customer demand for more diversity makes good business sense,” British Equalities Minister Jo Swinson said in a statement at the time of the Debenhams launch. “Many customers want to see more realistic images in magazines, TV and on the high street, and having mannequins that reflect and celebrate our diverse society is one way of helping to achieve this.”

So why would a store like La Perla think it was good idea to hang their lingerie on a mannequins so skinny their ribs are jutting out? The idealization of exposed, emaciated ribs is a terrifying trend—whether it’s on a model, a mannequin or a pop star. But according to some people in the retail industry, it’s profitable. “Clothes look better on tall, thin, abnormal bodies,” Bloomingdale’s visual director Roya Sullivan told the Chicago Tribune in a 2007 interview.

Maybe stores with super-thin mannequins should start thinking a little less about what suits the clothes and a little more about what suits the customers. Not only does it reinforce unrealistic standards of beauty, it makes shopping for lingerie —already a daunting task— seem a lot less enticing.

Photos: Getty Images via Bloomberg, Twitter

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