Saturday, October 24, 2009


I have a sense that I use mannequins as a fall-back photo-subject on dank days in London, and today was no exception: everything else that I came across was very underlit and grimy (though I did turn into a typical American tourist, taking a picture of a stand of postcards with a Union Jack at the top - and then a picture of the Obamas standing with the Queen, before the eye was drawn down to more pictures of Royalty and views with Big Ben in them. Oh, yes, and I bought the postcard, too).

I changed from Tube to No. 19 bus at Knightsbridge, where there were the usual assortment of wasted figures sprawling around Harvey Nichols' windows - and then some shockingly snobby ladies with aristocratic pointed noses in the designer stores at the top of Sloane Street, together with some snobby ladies in the making - as here - in the upmarket children's clothes stores. There's something a bit like a Loretta Lux portrait about this one - despite my not having caught her head on: it's the same combination of blankness and wilfulness. I do wonder who the original model might have been. I was at the Beatles to Bowie exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery today - most excellent - but one thing that I hadn't really taken on board was how store mannequins came to be based on iconic women's bodies - so there was a Jean Shrimpton mannequin, a Twiggy one, a Sandie Shaw one (I had such a big crush on Sandie Shaw - I kept a Sandie Shaw scrapbook, which was seriously not a cool thing to do when everyone else was into the Beatles) ... So I don't know who, if anyone, today's pieces of plastic are meant to look like - Harvey Nicks' looked like a sub Amy Winehouse, but I couldn't be sure - and certainly not with these marble faced uptight girls.

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