The Hottest Thing in Mannequin Design Is Back FatS

It's not just the merkin-working American Apparel mannequins! In an attempt to woo customers, retailers are tinkering with more realistic models, adding everything from heads to tattoos and back fat.

The AP reports, outlining examples:

Wings Beachwear's mannequins in Miami sport flower tattoos like some of the women who shop there. The mannequins at American Apparel's downtown New York City store have pubic hair peeking through their lingerie. And at David's Bridal, mannequins soon will get thicker waists, saggier breasts and back fat to mimic a more realistic shape.

Mannequin maker Ralph Pucci International, which supplies stores like Macy's, will also be rolling out wider-waisted models. Saks probably won't partake, but the company has been using more with hair, makeup and actual faces. "There's this whole generation of shoppers that hadn't seen realistic mannequins," a Saks VP told the AP. "We saw it as an opportunity."

But it's not because the CEO of David's Bridal suddenly discovered fatshion blogging. Nope, the shift is all about cold, hard cash. Until recently, retailers opted for basic, often headless mannequins as a cost-cutting measure. Now that they're in a fight to the death with the Internet, though, they're stepping up their mannequin game as a brick-and-mortar way to catch the customer's eye.

And it could work, too: In a recent survey, 42 percent of shoppers said how something looks on a mannequin influences whether they decide to buy it. Not to mention it makes you feel more appreciated as a customer if the store, you know, acknowledges your existence with something other than a few overpriced polyester tunics.

But I move that, as part of the craze for all things vintage, retailers bring back the originals which, according to the AP, "were made of wax and melted in the heat and had details like human hair, nipples and porcelain teeth." That really ought to spice up the Halloween displays.

Photo via AP Images