Almost a Visit to Gender

We all have our own preconceived notions about fashion mannequins. For me, there is definitely an attraction-repulsion; in other words, I'd like to take a closer look, but I also know that the heebie jeebies lurk nearby.

When I walked by the Gender store window on St-Laurent last week, I was intrigued. What would the sales people be like at a high-end mannequin sales showroom...would they be accommodating? Or would they be dismissive skinny ex-models with thick make-up to conceal their wrinkles under the bright lights? I also imagined a strong smell of perfume and several androgynous mannequins whose gender would leave me struggling to find the right pronoun.

My inner feminist also wanted to know the measurements of the gals. I was interested in how these dimensions compared with the average Canadian woman, and I'd already bookmarked my Statistics Canada page and the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC).

Okay, it was true. I was planning a piece on Size Politics, and much to my glee I discovered through my online research that Gender carried Rootstein, the highly realistic and equally controversial mannequins that caused a scandal last spring with its Young and Restless line. The male mannequins had gone waif with chest measurements that were a full 10 inches smaller than that of the average British male.

On my day off this week, I decided to go for a visit. A few feet from the door, I looked at a mannequin dressed in beautifully flowing sheet music and saw my reflection in the store window. I was wearing comfortable boots and a ripped ski jacket with my hair tied in a pony tail. I looked like a mommy and easy prey for an annoyed fashionista. Was some mean effeminate man going to start shrieking at me as soon I asked for a few dimensions?...Nevermind. I'd just ask for the specs for the various lines they carried.

All this fretting was for naught. I forgot my questions as soon as I walked in the door. There were so many incredible photo ops that I quickly asked for permission to take some pictures and walked around the store slightly stunned. The sales lady was warm and friendly and wore down-to-earth clothing and was no skinny-mini. Most of the time, she was busy with another customer. When she came around to talk to me, I asked her where her Rootsteins were, and she pointed to an older looking line.

"Sorry, I thought the Rootsteins were supposed to be realistic looking?" I said, trying to see how these mannequins were more realistic than the others.
"For the new Rootsteins, you'd have to look next door," she said.
"Next door?" I said.
"Yes, at Gender," she said.
"Oh," I said, "What is the name of this shop?"
"We do some work for Gender, but our shop is called Décors 3D . We specialize in the sale of recycled mannequins, decorations and accessories. We also do custom work," she said.

The work at la Boutique Décors 3D was very good, and as you'll see from the pictures below, their custom work is indeed eye-catching. As I would discover when I had to ring the bell to visit next door, Gender is a strictly by-appointment-only showroom, and I was finally able to see the Rootsteins. Tune in for my next post to find out about my unexpected reception.

The woman I spoke with was Nathalie Larivière, la Boutique Decors 3D, 5687 St-Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC.

Related posts about the hood
St-Viateur: the Polish Bazaar
The Mile End Buzz Around Beekeeping
For the Love of Vinyl
Airing Our Dirty Laundry
Filming on St-Viateur
A Sense of Humour With the Wilensky's Special
S.W. Welch: the Nicolski Coincidence
The Lure of Fishing on Bernard
Christmas in Parc Lahaie



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