But look what happens when the Spaniards start using mannequins. They take human detail and mannerism more than a shade further than we do in the UK (or everywhere else I have ever been for that matter).
In general, our mannequins have no facial features, smoothed to cool humanoid abstraction. Spanish mannequins actually leer. You worry they are going to creep after you back to your home and murder you bloodily in your sleep. You’ll wake up to the sound of your own screaming and find some little plastic bastard’s stuck a screwdriver through your kidneys. I mean seriously, who is going to think “But yes, ay carumba, that little frock will look beautiful on young Esperanza, especially now I’ve seen it modelled by Chucky from ‘Child’s Play’”.
But come to think of it, I have an inkling of where they got the taste for these weirdly over-wrought figures…
There are many fabric shops on the Goldhawk Road, heaving with all sorts of bizarre and bling reams of textiles. if you like glittery fabric, I recommend a visit – you will have never seen such wonders. Walking into one of these plush emporia is like entering the royal harem of Babylon (if Darius had had a penchant for polyester and was looking to save a few quid). I have absolutely no doubts that MC Hammer’s trousers were cut from Goldhawk Road cloth.
Now I know these places can be a bit natty, even sketchy. I once saw one of them being raided by the rozzers – it was the front for a (quite surprisingly large) drugs operation. So I expect the fabulous and the gaudy but my heart skipped a beat when I saw what one unhinged window-dresser has created. Evidently after a good bucket of PCP.
Hang on a second… Is this serious? Is the merchant psychotic? Am I psychotic? Or is this some perverse parody of the film Mannequin?
Henry VIII squatting in a yurt of spangled drapes… Look at the elegant pose, the jaunty cap, the sparkling jewelleries, the butter-stained ruff, the arrogant lust in the eye of the king! The vignette was created by a craftsman so skilful, it would take Shelley to capture his majestic eye for detail.
You have to wonder what they are hoping to achieve, who they are hoping to attract to their wares. Probably the queen. I am sure she likes MC Hammer.