Stephen R Rus­so­mano

Man­nequins only dress up, you thought? Some of the world’s largest re­tail­ers are putting make up and faux fin­ishes on man­nequins. Stephen R Rus­so­mano is preen­ing and prep­ping them to par­tic­i­pate in the­atri­cal VM plat­forms for re­tail­ers like Bloom­ing­dales,

VMRD - - Contents -

I’m a firm be­liever that vis­ual re­tail mer­chan­dis­ing is im­pacted and in­spired by to­day’s pop­u­lar cul­ture and the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate. With that said, many re­tail­ers glob­ally are in­cor­po­rat­ing themes in their dis­plays such as films, na­tional hol­i­days, well known prod­ucts, fa­mous or trendy art, ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties, or­di­nary peo­ple and sports – el­e­ments that may not be re­lated to fash­ion di­rectly.

Af­ter the 2008 re­ces­sion, the re­use or re­cy­cling of man­nequins and props that cer­tain stores al­ready owned in their reper­toire be­came widely used. As a free­lance artist spe­cial­is­ing in pro­duc­tion paint­ing of man­nequins and props, such as makeup, faux and other dec­o­ra­tive fin­ishes, I sud­denly found work up­dat­ing and re­vamp­ing older mannequin mod­els when re­tail­ers had to curb down their

bud­get to buy new sup­ply of man­nequins. Work­ing with vis­ual di­rec­tors, I will of­ten get ref­er­ences and colour swatches that will pull a theme to­gether. For ex­am­ple, a while back, I did make­ups on re­al­is­tic man­nequins for Bloom­ing­dales NYC with bright clear pri­mary eye­shadow colours that would cor­re­spond with the story the win­dow. As you all would know that Bloom­ing­dales is known for cre­at­ing heavy drama through their win­dow schemes.

An­other project I did for Bloom­ing­dales NYC was a small mannequin of a child. The art di­rec­tion was to paint his face that in­di­cated a 5 o’clock shadow. It was part of one of their great hol­i­day win­dow last year, themed around the movie, “The Great­est Show­man”.

For Saks 5th Ave, NYC hol­i­day Christ­mas win­dows, I was com­mis­sioned to do makeup on some 20 man­nequins – both male and fe­male. The make-up had to match the theme on this win­dow, “Win­ter Palace”, where mod­els were ex­pected to be sprayed with white. I did all of the make­ups in tones of blue in­clud­ing the lips and cheek con­tours with crys­tal­ized eye lashes. They were com­pleted with sil­very white wigs, white on white beaded gowns and fur pieces on some. The over­all look de­picted a set­ting of a palace frozen in snow. The use of ab­stract man­nequins, such as head­less or egg heads with no fea­tures, can of­ten feel cold and re­mote. Min­i­mal­ism has its place but I be­lieve every­one needs an iden­tity they can re­late to. Though the idea is to highlight the mer­chan­dises, a face­less form con­trib­utes noth­ing to the theme or the drama, there­fore be­ing just a drab ob­ject.

About Stephen R Rus­so­manoArtist Stephen R Rus­so­mano’s ex­pe­ri­ence spans well over a decade with tenures at Pucci Int., Gold­smith-Inc , Noa Brands, Manex, Bern­stein Dis­play, Saks 5th Av­enue, Bloom­ing­dales, TOP SHOP, Bergdorf Good­man and Frank Glover Pro­duc­tions to name a few. He has a BFA de­gree from the School of Vis­ual Arts, NYC with fo­cus on sub­jects like ed­i­to­rial illustration, lean­ing heav­ily to­ward fash­ion and car­toon­ing as well as paint­ing and sculp­ture.

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