Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Quickie With Dianne Brill

Dianne Brill, legendary New York City party queen, high fashion model, intimate friend of Andy Warhol, and stylist for the Rolling Stones, Duran Duran and Prince, was sculpted as a Rootstein mannequin.

Hailed as “The Shape of the Decade,” Brill’s mannequin, complete with her characteristic bouffant hair, pneumatic chest and chandelier hips, has dazzled shop windows all over the world.

To be a Rootstein mannequin, Brill, like most subjects, spent three weeks in a London studio posing for the clay replica that was made of her body. Adel Rootstein, the company's foundress, and Kevin Arpino, her protégé, oversaw the process, while John Taylor, Rootstein’s top chisel, sculpted Brill's body.

“John is like a magician, funny and talented like the whole Rootstein gang,” said Brill. I felt like a muse for those weeks as he noticed and adored everything about my body.”

Though they are inanimate, Rootstein mannequins do not lack personality. The Dianne Brill mannequin, for example, is posed with her hands spread out to her sides and one foot in front of the other as if she’s making an entrance; something that Brill is famous for doing.

“Holding the Dianne Brill ‘making an entrance’ stance for those weeks half naked was challenging,” said Brill, “but the result was perfectly me.”

Over the years, Brill has enjoyed seeing her body pop up in various places.

"Once I walked past Selfridge's in London,” said Brill. About 18 of my mannequin were lined up all in a long row, all in their underwear. It was outrageous!”

Simon Doonan, the top window dresser at Barney’s New York famous for featuring personalities such as Bette Middler, Tina Brown, Dan Quayle, Cher, Magic Johnson, and Madonna in his windows, also did a Christmas display including Brill.

"I used to stand by the window and have my boyfriend take pictures of me with it; I was so happy to see that all the creative and pose work became such a beautiful reality,” said Brill.

Though Brill’s mannequin still flaunts the legendary and unusual 40-23-39 measurements that Brill herself no longer even has, this former muse of fashion designer Thierry Mugler’s and favored model for Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood still considers being a Rootstein mannequin as a present force in her life.

“Sometimes I see them in odd places like a German chocolatier’s window dressed in a pink satin dirndl and a white ruffle hat. I like to see the blonde ones best because they feel most like me,” said Brill, whose sky-high platinum locks make
Barbara Eden of “I Dream of Jeannie” look like she has a buzz cut by comparison.

“Every once in a while I’ll still get someone that will Fedex me my arm or something and ask me to sign it,” said Brill. “I sign it, of course, but I prefer to stay naive about what they're doing with it afterwards."

Brill is currently living in Switzerland promoting her makeup line, soon to be avialable in the U.S.
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