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Fashion
Mannequins 23 Jan 2009
Jade Parfitt and mannequin
Following the process of modern mannequin making

Until her death 10 years ago, Adel Rootstein was the matriarch of mannequin making. Born in South Africa in 1930, she moved to London in the 50s and worked as a window-dresser and then a mannequin wig maker until – in the 60s - she actually began to make the mannequins themselves. Adel Rootstein’s mannequins were unique because – right from the start - they were made to resemble the people who actually wore the fashions of the day. Her first models included Twiggy, Sandie Shaw and Joanna Lumley and in later years, the likes of Joan Collins and Ute Lemper also became immortalised in fibreglass. Adel Rootstein died in 1992, but the company she founded is still making mannequins, and we sent Judi Herman along to their workshops in West London to watch sculptor Steve Wood making the clay model for their latest mannequin. Her guide through the mannequin making process is Rootstein’s Creative Director - Kevin Arpino.

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