Curious Photos Of Cynthia, A Superstar Mannequin In The ‘30s

Lester Gaba dines at the Marguery, a New York restaurant, with his mannequin Cynthia, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

In 1932, a life-like mannequin named Cynthia was created by Lester Gaba. After several shoots around New York City for Life Magazine in 1937, her career was launched, and for a matter of months, Cynthia became a household name.

Similar to an A-list celebrity, the mannequin superstar began receiving fan mails, gifts and invitations to events, was sent jewelry and dresses from luxury fashion houses, had her own television talk show and starred on the silver screen of Hollywood. Cynthia’s dazzling fame even led to gossip columnists writing about her as an actual living socialite, telling stories of the lavish events she attended with Gaba, her creator.

As a mannequin, her popularity eventually decreased. Cynthia officially retired when Gaba was inducted into the army in 1942. She made a comeback in a television show in 1953, but the duo’s magic was over at the time, and that marked the end of Cynthia’s appearance to the public. Gaba would later admit that “Cynthia never made any sense” in an interview with the New York Times. Nevertheless, it was her popularity that made a significant impact on the use of mannequins in retail sales marketing.

h/t: vintag.es

Let’s take a look at the insanely strange star of the 1930s:

Choosing a face for Cynthia, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Part of Cynthia, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Making up for Cynthia, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Cynthia, the mannequin who became a superstar, gets a makeover in 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Lester Gaba making an adjustment to his lifelike mannequin Cynthia, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Dressing Cynthia up, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Lester Gaba making an adjustment to his lifelike mannequin Cynthia, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Painting nails for Cynthia, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Cynthia relaxes at Lester Gaba’s apartment in New York in 1937. One of Gaba’s paintings is behind her on the wall.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Lester Gaba with his creation, Cynthia the mannequin, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Cynthia’s closet, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Lester Gaba and his mannequin Cynthia riding transit in New York City, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Cynthia on a New York City tour bus, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Lester Gaba at the Stork Club, New York, with his mannequin Cynthia, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Cynthia at a bar, New York, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Sunday brunch at novelist Thyra Samter Winslow’s Park Avenue home in 1937. Cynthia sits to the right of mural painter Franklin Hughes.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Back view of Cynthia at a restaurant, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Lester Gaba holding Cynthia in his arms, 1937.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Cynthia in a theater box with Lester Gabba, her creator, 1939.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

Lester Gaba takes Cynthia to the Broadhurst Theater in New York in 1939.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE

(Visited 1 times, 2 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below


If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Daphne Guinness for Tatler Hong Kong, March 2012
In Bed with Marilyn Monroe
Magical Photos Of Early Spring In Japan Captured By Hidenobu Suzuki
Facebook's New Headquarters in Menlo Park, CA
A Meditative Photo Series Shows Tokyo’s Loneliest Moments
Delightful Portraits Turn Little Girls Into Inspiring Female Role Models From Throughout History
Painting-Like Swimming Pool Photography
"Future Cities": Distorted Cityscapes by Ruben Frosali
Sony World Photography Awards 2020 Shortlist And Finalists
Kids Reacts on Exhibitions. Very Funny
Breathtaking Aerial Photos Of A Lavender Field In Southern France By Samir Belhamra
Moody And Cinematic Street Photography By Panagiotis Koutroumpis
Photo of the Day: The Look
Photo of the Day: The Face
British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016 Winners
Gloomy Pripyat Shown By Romanian Photographer Cristian Lipovan
Inside the Abandoned Belgium Mansion with the Urban Explorer Andre Govia
Zappa Claus: “Merry Christmas and Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow!”
Baby Face in Famous Paintings
What Media Can Do With Our Minds And The Truth
Stunning Retro Photos of Gene Simmons Rocks a Photo Studio in Full "Demon" Mode in 1980
Photographer Captures Beautiful Moments In Wildlife
Grizzly Bears Among Stunning Finalists of National Parks Photo Contest
When He Said "Jump...": The Most Influential Images Of All Time Captured By The Photographer Philippe Halsman
An Oregon Couple Rushed Through Their Wedding Because Of A Wildfire And The Photos Are Breathtaking
New York Over 35 Years Ago – 55 Color Snapshots Show The Most Populous City In The United States In 1980
This Hipster Barbie Account Perfectly Mocks Every Annoying Person On Instagram
Travels: Winners & Merit Awards Of AAP Magazine’s Photo Contest
4 Sisters Take A Picture Together Every Year - Watch How Time Has Changed Them 40 Years Later
Outstanding Underwater And Adventure Photography By Sam Kølder