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Mannequin History Exhibition

Mannequins are the unsung heroes in fashion, designed on the whole to fade into the background to let the clothes sing. Having said that, an archaic mannequin is as instantly recognizable as the trends of yesteryear, which brings home just how much they change with the era and how important they are to the shopper.

Marking its 70th anniversary, Nanasai, the respected merchandizers and mannequin purveyors to all strata of Japanese fashion, is offering a unique glimpse into the world of mannequins in the museum space of its Osaka hub. The remarkable collection includes mannequins that have been featured in the work of photographer Bernard Faucon as well as the focus of this special exhibition, a curated history of Japanese mannequins through the eras.

Store models are mirrors of their eras, allowing visitors to time travel through Japanese retail history from the few surviving mannequins that first displayed Western clothing dating from the early 20th century, through the body-proportions that fluctuated with the fashions of the 1960s and '70s, and the awkward power poses of the '80s to Nanasai's own interactive mannequins, which you can expect to find in stores in decades to come.

The exhibition is free and it is currently planned to be a permanent one, but advance booking through the company's website is required. (Samuel Thomas)