Customers took to Twitter this week to protest a prominently ribbed mannequin in a La Perla storefront with the hashtag #NotBuyingIt. The lingerie brand removed the offending mannequin and released a statement claiming it would not be used again in any La Perla stores, proving once again that Twitter activism is real activism.
A man named Michael Rudoy first drew attention to the mannequin when he tweeted "How does #LaPerla think ribs on a mannequin is ok?!" The tweet was accompanied by a photo showing the mannequin dressed in a red bra and panty set, ribs splayed out beneath her "skin." Other Twitter users joined the protest, including Seth Matlins, founder of the website Feel More Better and champion of the Truth in Advertising Act. The backlash prompted the brand to release the following statement:
We have an update on this issue: The mannequin photographed has been removed from the store and will not be used again by any La Perla boutique. We are in the process of redesigning all La Perla stores with a new concept image and the mannequins that are currently displayed in our US stores will no longer be used. We appreciate and value everyone's comments, thank you for bringing this to our attention.
The super-skinny mannequin, found at La Perla's Soho location, obviously sends a terrible message. There's nothing wrong with a slim mannequin, but the protruding ribs are unnecessary. However, I love how quickly and efficiently La Perla responded to the outburst. It's refreshing to see a brand so immediately receptive to customer criticism.
Mannequins, although often unrealistic, are actually an important part of in-store advertising. Lately there has been a real push for mannequins more closely resembling real bodies. As I reported back in January, David's Bridal will soon be featuring curvier mannequins (complete with saggier breasts!). And we all remember American Apparel's pubic hair situation earlier this year. This is evidence of a positive trend. If we must have fake dolls modeling our clothing, let's at least have those dolls look like us.