mannequin (n.) 1902, “model to display clothes,” from French mannequin (15c.), from Dutch manneken (see manikin). A French form of the same word that yielded manikin – mannequin was used in English in a sense “artificial man” (especially in translations of Hugo). Originally of persons, in a sense where we might use “model.” Later (by 1939) of artificial model figures to display clothing.
These mannequins were lined up in the window of a shop called Gaggio, along a calle in Venice, which sells upholstery fabrics and textiles. I liked their slightly curved arrangement and the way you see the crossroads of two narrow alleys converging in the reflective surface of the glass. It is hardly original to observe that a window is also a mirror, pace Lacan, but occasionally such convergences allow us to see a moment differently. I walked past these silent sentinels each morning on my way to caffe latte and brioche in the Campo Santo Stefano, and each time I would note the soft fluidity of light that played across the window and feel a perfect contentment in the geometry of their arrangement, like an inscription of musical notes.