Life as the textile expert at a regional history museum

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good Bubbleator, Bad Bubbleator

As I've said before, if a mannequin is dressed well you focus on the clothes. If it is dressed poorly you get distracted by how weird the whole thing looks. Today I have a concrete example for you.

For our upcoming exhibition about the Seattle World's Fair my interns and I had to dress a Bubbleator uniform. The Bubbleator was an attraction at the fair that consisted of a round, glass elevator that took people up into an area with a bunch of screens and audio that talked about the future. I'm probably not describing it that well, but I don't really understand it fully myself. What I do know though is that the men who worked as operators and ushers had super awesome futuristic uniforms to wear. When we completed dressing one, it looked like this:

Not terrible, but just sort of strange. The shoulders are huge yet the arms and legs seem spindly and empty. And you can tell something is wrong because the jacket is pulling strangely.

This is proof that sometimes it helps to walk away and see it again with fresh eyes. We had thought we did a great job with this, but then when we looked at it a week later we could tell that it was just distractingly off.

So, we tried for round two.

So much better, right? My interns had an epiphany regarding shoulders and the fact that they often slope down rather than going straight out. We also filled out the arms and the legs so that they didn't look as empty. The fit looks like it is for an actual human now rather than a linebacker with the legs of a ballerina.

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