Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner?

Waiting for my husband to photograph me modeling my scarves in the last shreds of twilight at 5:30 while the family clamors for dinner just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Last week, I put a request out to the members of the EtsyRain team looking for a mannequin I could borrow for a photo shoot. What I had in mind was a dressmaker’s mannequin, something upholstered with a wooden knob or cap at the top of the neck. This is what I got instead: meet Stella, the latest addition to the Adams family.

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It appears that the new retail manager of a national department store chain has decided mannequins wearing wigs and makeup distract from the clothes too much, so their collection of mannequins was posted on Craigslist this week. Thanks to the eagle eyes of Cheryl Zettler, Stella and five of her cohort went to new etsy homes this week.

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Walking into the basement of their downtown store was like entering another world. There were racks and shelves of display items, besides the body parts, wigs and headless mannequins standing around. If you look carefully, there is a bronze torso lying on the table, and a pale-skinned mannequin without a head is standing behind the little boy. I’m not sure if it was the bald heads, or the staff using the mannequin’s privates as handles that made me so uncomfortable, but I haven’t had giggles like that since I was learning to drive a stick-shift.

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Dianne, the interior specialist who helped me choose my model, was both patient, helpful and kind. She answered the questions that belied my naivete and inexperience in this arena. Here she stands with Stella, in her dismembered form, resting in a cart. You can imagine that after days and days of selling off these excess props, the same questions have come up a few times, but her attitude was never condescending or short, despite my dumbfounded expression.

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Granted, I’m not much of a fashionista, and my curly hair defies styling, but Dianne’s wigstyling tips were pure revelation. She suggested stuffing a little tissue paper in the back of the wig to give her hair a little volume at the back of the crown. I’ve always wondered how women get their hair to do that. Did you know mannequins have little patches of cork embedded in their temples and skull? T-pins are stuck through the wigs to keep them anchored in place.

Two layers of eyelashes make their faces look lush enough to stand out from a distance. They wash clean with soap and water, and wear the same layers of make-up as humans. I’m still struggling to get her lipstick to cover evenly; Dianne suggested using concealer so the lipstick has something to grab, but I couldn’t get it to stick. Perhaps my concealer is just too old. Is ten years beyond the expiration date?

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I’m not sure where Stella will live in our house. For the next few days, I’ll keep her upstairs and try to remember I’m not alone in the house.

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7 Responses to “Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner?”


  1. 1 stashstudios Friday, October 19, 2007 at 5:31 am

    great story
    what a find!
    i have several headless forms and they take a while to get used to as it often seems someone else is in the house – good luck with that πŸ˜‰

  2. 2 stashstudios Friday, October 19, 2007 at 5:33 am

    great story
    what a find!
    i have several headless forms and they take a while to get used to as it often seems someone else is in the house – good luck with that πŸ˜‰

  3. 3 Dawn Friday, October 19, 2007 at 8:15 am

    My fiance and I had a discussion last night of where my mannequin would be living after I retrieve her from Kimberly and Rosalie’s studio in a week or so. First, of course, he had to get over the fact that yes, I did in fact tell him that I was getting a full sized mannequin from a department store.

    It has been decided that she has to live in the corner of the living room. She is banned from our bedroom, and also cannot live behind the TV, because both of those would freak him out. πŸ™‚

  4. 4 Carrie Friday, October 19, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Definitely a great find! I used to have a headless mannequin that looked more like a dress form; I loved it. Used it at craft shows too πŸ™‚ I had to sell it when we moved and I miss it! I was glad it didn’t have a head though… a house we stayed in once had a mannequin head on a shelf over the bed and it always freaked me out since it was basically looking down at you!!

  5. 5 cherylz Friday, October 19, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    i love the dramatic pic of stella in front of your mantle. great job! did she come with that wig??? a lucky find. all the mannequins were bald by the time i reached the store. but i can’t wait to introduce everyone to Monique sometime by sunday. she’ll model my jewelry much better than i can.

  6. 6 ellen kelley Saturday, October 20, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    Oh, my..I am somewhere between speechless and in the midst of the giggles. I don’t know where I would put one, but I do know that Cleo, my Newfoundland dog would have a stroke and bark her head off.
    I used to have a dress form years ago and dang, do I wish I had her today. Stella will be stellar in your house and be of real help!

  7. 7 Laura Saturday, October 20, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    Yikes! I like her, but I think it would be hard not feel like there was a person around…My mother had a headless dressmaker’s form with one of her dresses on it for altering when my two year old brother toddled in and had a major “scars of childhood moment.” He saw the form in her dress, stopped in his tracks, stared and then fell the floor crying, “Mama no face!!!!” I was only four at the time and so traumatized that he had (even for one minute) thought it was our headless mother and felt so sorry for him, that I fell on the floor crying too! My poor mom!


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