Wednesday, August 14, 2013

LIFE Magazine: Cynthia the Mannequin: A Curious Star Is Born

Nowadays, mannequins are mostly made of fiberglass, polyurethane foam, or plastic.

But back in the 1920's and 30's, mannequins were often made of wax that melted in the hot sun and looked just down right creepy with their eerie look. Along came Lester Gaba, a former soap sculptor, who revolutionized the making of modern mannequins by using plaster that allowed realism.

LIFE magazine did a profile on one of Gaba's mannequins, Cynthia, who socialized around town, made appearances at the opera, and even visited nightclubs!


"In 1937, LIFE magazine launched the career of an up-and-coming starlet in a multiple-page photo spread that, overnight, made “Cynthia” a household name. In very short order she became an A-list celebrity; was given her own television talk show and starred on the silver screen; was sent jewels and dresses by top fashion houses; was briefly engaged to one of radio’s biggest stars; and became one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion world.
There was just one minor catch: Cynthia was a mannequin. Not a mannequin in the way a runway model is a mannequin. But a mannequin mannequin. A made-of-plaster mannequin."

There are more pictures along with the history of Cynthia at

No comments:

Post a Comment