So to be honest it seems that I have always had a mannequin, the first one I must admit belonged to my Mum, who was given 'Dina' for Christmas but I used her more and when I moved out she moved in with me. She was great, as I made loads of my own clothes, you could turn the dials and she would grow or shrink in the hip bust or waist department if only I could do that now.
At Wimbledon school of art in the costume department we were spoilt by a selection of dummies and when I worked for the ENO (English National Opera) in the production wardrobe I again had a huge selection of amazing old dummies in all shapes and sizes from Stockman's to Kennet & Lindsel's we would grab the dummy that was nearest in shape to the singer you were making for and pad it up where needed, no more dials the solid dummy was so much better than the flexible dial variety.
So when I wanted my own dummy it had to be a Stockman no other would do not even a K&L no I wanted a Stockman, however they were very expensive I was just out of college and it was before the days of eBay. I must have mentioned it to my Mother in Law the lovely Denny, who decided that she would buy me one for my birthday. Yes it was very exciting I had to choose the measurements, the style, the finish of the wooden stand and topper and place the order. I could hardly believe it, all these years later I can still remember the large parcel arriving with my very own Stockman Tailors Dummy inside, it was the mid 1980s and cost over £200 I was so lucky. Many dresses, bridal gowns, costumes, and outfits were made on Dorris, there were of course years when she was tucked away in the corner of the room wearing just a feather boa, as I was busy raising my family and by 2003 she had been moved into the loft .
So when I started Rock Follies Vintage I went into the loft to collect my vintage clothing and yes retrieved Dorris, (pictured in a Red Frock) a few weeks later I set of for my first Vintage Fayre at the Custard Factory in Birmingham, I created the stall and stood Dorris proudly at the edge in a beautiful pale green lace 1950s dress she looked amazing, she was back and so was I.
For the next few years at weekends Dorris was driven all over the country, she stood in a field at Goodwood, The Old Fire Station at Twinwood and an array of Guildhalls from Bristol to Cardiff and of course Worcester where she was to star in the window of my beautiful little shop. She did acquire an injury which happened when my son accidentally knocked her over in the garage, which was sad especially as she had remained in good shape up to this point despite me taking her all over the place!
A trim size 12 Dorris looked great in the vintage gowns. However I had by now acquired a few other dummies none quite of Dorris heritage. I found a sponge one with half shoulders she looks great in a long sleeved dress, (pic on left) and a wicker one with a tiny waist (pic below)both have appeared at the Worcester Cathedral when I dressed them up as a 'Christmas Tree' as part of the Christmas Tree Festival.
Photos of Dorris as a 1920s Flapper, an inspiring Suffragette and an Angel in the Cloisters.
I found a velvet covered one in a Charity shop and retrieved another from a skip. A customer gave me a lovely one with a wired stand. I did have to purchase a few modern polystyrene forms from a shop suppliers. They were all called Dorris plus location so I had
For example, Dorris on the Stairs, Dorris in the window and Dorris up stairs and yes I even got a few Dave's to join the team.
One day a fellow shop owner in Reindeer Court asked me if I was interested in buying a couple of old mannequins he thought they were Stockmans !!!! he bought one in and yes a deal was struck, I ended up with both of them. He didn't want me to sell them on he hoped I would use them, as they had come from the same Parisian Dress Makers workroom swoon ! Well I wouldn't sell them in a million years, they always stay together on my watch. My Three Stockman's.
Next to join the family were Dorris and Dave "with arms' Dave is a Quality Man second hand but still very expensive, I purchased him from another Vintage Shop who had probably got fed up of taking his arms on and off every time you need to replace his outfit he offers no assistance! However he did look good standing outside the shop and he is very heavy so would not blow over on a blustery day. His girl 'Dorris Outside' is not of the same quality she is not cheap, but has developed a bit of wobble and lists to starboard which is most annoying, some lovely passer by broke her finger off which was most upsetting, but like her mate she didn't blow over in the wind and would wear a dress and coat with such style and flare she could even hold a bag, a pair of gloves and wear a hat as she and Dave also have a head !!
Now I must tell you about Pam, she joined my motley crew a few years ago when this lovely lady came into my shop and asked" would you like a mannequin she has a back story, I am not selling her but I would like you to have her if you want her." Intrigued I was. Apparently Pam had belonged to this Ladies youngest daughter, an artist and Pam had always stood in her studio. The daughter very sadly had died and Pam even made an appearance at the Wake held in the Fownes Hotel in Worcester. The Mother told me how they were trying to carry her in to the room when she came apart and the staff told them of for laughing as there was a Wake to be held in the function room ! yes they knew this was one of the guests they informed her. So Pam arrived she was not perfect far from it she has things missing including an eye lash, however I was very honoured to have Pam stand in the window upstairs of my shop she has great attitude, here she is between Paris Doris 1 and a modern shop Doris
So there you are the Rock Follies Mannequins we quite a team and I often to say Good Morning to one of them mistaking them for a customer, and I think Dave and Dorris (outside) may have a thing going on!