Two blocks of Auckland's downtown Queen Street are lined with women's retail stores- their faceless mannequins looming over shoppers as they bustle by.

Mannequins have been in the spotlight this week following a British woman's critique of her local Topshop's use of unrealistically tall and skinny figures. Similarly proportioned examples stand in Auckland's flagship outlet, although not identical.

Read more: Topshop UK culls skinny mannequins

A street level observation by the Herald today revealed other chain stores along the same drag showcasing very thin mannequins.

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While Topshop housed some of the thinnest we found, clothing chain Max was not far behind. The featureless figures stood close to six feet tall, with extremely narrow legs and ankles - Country Road appeared to have the same model in its window.

Supre's were on a similar scale - although the mannequin's thighs were more shapely than the other two examples. Mannequins dressed in leggings stood in the window of Cotton On, showing off their straight up-and-down figures.

The mannequins at Portman's - a shop aimed at a slightly older market - was the most realistic of the lot. While still very slender, the proportions weren't as shocking and appeared to be around the size eight to ten mark.

Mannequins on Queen Street seen in the windows of Topshop, Max and Country Road. Photos / Greg Bowker
Mannequins on Queen Street seen in the windows of Topshop, Max and Country Road. Photos / Greg Bowker

Topshop UK has agreed to scrap unrealistically thin mannequins after a social media complaint by Laura Berry went viral. She asked the chain on Facebook to consider the "impression you have on women and young girls".

"This mannequin is quite frankly ridiculously-shaped," she wrote.

"Young women aspire to the somewhat cult image your store offers. Which I'm sure you're aware by your sales figures and hashtags on Instagram. Yet not one mannequin in your store showed anything bigger than a size 6.

Mannequins on Queen Street seen in the windows of Supre, Portman's and Cotton On. Photos / Greg Bowker
Mannequins on Queen Street seen in the windows of Supre, Portman's and Cotton On. Photos / Greg Bowker

"In fact, I'm not even sure the one in the picture is even that. So today, I'm calling you out Topshop, on your lack of concern for a generation of extremely body conscious youth.

"I'm old enough and wise enough to know I will never be this size, but as we've all been impressionable teens at one point, I'm fairly certain if any of us were to witness this in our teenage years, it would have left us wondering if that was what was expected of our bodies."

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Topshop said the model was based on a size 10, but had been tailored for effect.

Laura Berry posted a photograph of a mannequin used in a Topshop store in Bristol, slamming the 'ridiculous' shape. Photo / Facebook
Laura Berry posted a photograph of a mannequin used in a Topshop store in Bristol, slamming the 'ridiculous' shape. Photo / Facebook

In response to Berry's complaint, they responded: "The overall height (187cm) is taller than the average girl and the form is stylised to have more impact in store.

"As the mannequins are solid fibreglass, their form needs to be of certain dimensions to allow clothing to be put on and removed easily; this is therefore not meant to be a representation of the average female body.

"That said, we have taken yours and other customers' opinions and feedback on board and going forward we are not placing any further orders on this style of mannequin."

Topshop New Zealand spokeswoman Lauren Tapper said most of the mannequins in NZ reflected a size 10 and were 170cm tall, but some on display in the petite section were closer to a size 6.

They were all selected by the UK store fit out team when the outlet opened earlier this year.

Topshop UK has come under fire in the past for promoting unrealistic beauty standards, when a customer photographed her size 8 to 10 legs next to a much thinner mannequin in the store.

- nzherald.co.nz