Window Dressing At Its Best

<B>Andy Rooney</B>'s Questions For Mannequins And Their Co-Workers

A weekly commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney. It was first broadcast Jan. 4, 2004.
You can't tell much about a store from the store windows.

I'm not a window-shopper, anyway. If I go to a store, I don't stand outside looking at their windows. As a matter of fact, most people don't seem to pay much attention to the windows.

That must bother the people who do them. Stores go to a lot of trouble making their windows attractive, but they do some strange things. They try to make the mannequins look real, but then, half the time they ruin it by leaving the heads off.

This is your average, every day girl, sitting in a chair without a head.

Some mannequins have heads but no faces. They don't want to take your attention away from the clothes, I guess.

I was curious, so we went to a company in the mannequin business and talked to the owner, Phil Steinhardt.

Rooney: What's it like working all day among these naked people? Isn't it strange?

Steinhardt: It's fine. Everybody is roaming around seeing what's new in the showroom.

Rooney: Look at these poor people down there. You got all these parts all around.

Steinhardt: Well, you need extra parts sometimes.

Rooney: Now a store would rent that to put a dress on?

Steinhardt: Or purchase it. Hopefully, they'll purchase it. We get a lot of movie industry that likes to rent these. Like Letterman, uh … typically will rent this maybe once ever couple of years for a skit where he throws it out of the window and a cab runs it over.

Rooney: So these are done from real models?

Steinhardt: Yes, absolutely. One was actually fashioned after my ex-wife.

The models don't ever look like the girl next door to me. I mean, how many women do you see around your neighborhood who look like her?

The necklines are certainly lower than on the women around the office here. This wouldn't be very warm.

I wonder if it has pockets? Nice legs!

Her boots don't quite come up to where her dress comes down to. The interesting thing about women's dresses is, the less there is of them, the more they cost.

That's true of women's shoes, too. The higher the heel, the steeper the price.

The people who make mannequins are good with bodies, but they have trouble with hands. The models never seem to know what to do with their hands. They're often in some awkward position.

Clothes look better in store windows than on the people out front wearing them.

I look at store windows differently now. I've never met a mannequin I didn't like.

Written By Andy Rooney