truth in beauty

A Dentist Weighs In on Those Scary Hood By Air Mannequins


Perhaps you’ve seen the mannequins at Barneys New York — silicone casts of the actual models from the Hood By Air men’s spring show that look disturbingly realistic, down to the last tattoo, eyelash, and bizarre dental situation. I asked my dentist, Marc Lowenberg, to meet me at 660 Madison Avenue for a professional opinion. He had just finished handling a dental emergency on the actual creative director of Barneys, Dennis Freedman. Karma or coincidence?

[Sunny] So what’s going on here? Forget the tattoos and the clothes, just focus on the mouth.

The models are wearing cheek retractors. In dentistry, we use them to pull back the cheeks and lips so we can take photos of the mouth.

Photo: Rick Barroso

I feel like I’ve had one. Maybe for bleaching?

Yes! And for root canals. This guy’s teeth are blinged up, and it looks like his real teeth are on the sides of the retractor. The real teeth are pretty good. Not perfect. Perfectly imperfect, which is what we like now. The shape is great, and they’re not all lined up. But they’re yellow — way more yellow than they should be for his age.

Do you ever put grills on patients’ teeth, or take them off?

I’ve never done this kind of bling, but I did put a gold hammer and sickle on Iggy Pop’s teeth in the ’80s.

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This guy’s [Golo] looks right out of a denture catalogue. His teeth are very feminine.

Photo: Rick Barroso

Women’s teeth are round. Men’s teeth are more squared off, because they’re aggressive with their teeth; they grind them more. Men have a harder look. So I would say he’s androgynous.

[Hirakish] His teeth are off occlusion, which means the top and the bottom don’t come together. The spacing is also irregular. He needs braces.

[Brandon] Oh my god. He has no teeth. No comment.

Photo: Rick Barroso

[Roman] He also has typical feminine teeth. Let me see your teeth [I show him]. No you don’t have this. There’s a difference in length between the centrals and the laterals, which is called a step. His two front teeth are longer than the ones next to them. All the supermodels have that step.

[Golo] The retractor looks like braces. He has perfect teeth.

Photo: Rick Barroso

[Chucky] This is a pacifier with a lock? Maybe his master has the key; I don’t know.

Photo: Rick Barroso

Are all these things sexual? I know that sounds naïve, but I’m from the Midwest.

These all look like sex apparatuses … I wasn’t going to say anything, but they’re so provocative. I think I have to get back to the office.

Dentist Weighs In on the Hood By Air Mannequins