Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shoes can be tough

We have all walked by store windows with lackluster displays of shoes - so when we see examples where the shoes do shine - it's a good thing. Admittedly, shoes are a bit hard to display so raising the bar is good. Here' a few examples - where have you seen shoe success stories?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

5 things we LOVE about Visual Merchandising

1. It can tell a story
Good visuals can help a retailer sell the image of their brand. It’s best when visuals tie back to product but as long as the message is clear and the window is effective, we can learn a lot about a brand or store from their windows.

2. It can promote a good cause
Often retailers get involved in collaborating with charities or doing marketing tie ins. Using their store windows to communicate this is a great way to capture pedestrians attention and let them know what is important to their company.

3. It can show me who cares
When retailers take the time to think about the presentation of their store environment, it sets a tone. Good windows, clean selling floors and details like props in display vitrines add interest for the consumer and show that the brand cares what you think.

4. It helps me keep time
Seasonal enhancements and decoratives that reflect the time of year, help consumers know when and what to celebrate. Especially in the busy fall and winter season from Halloween to Easter stores help set the pace when there is one holiday after another.

5. It entertains me
As they say in PR, "bad news is still news" and even when a store window is unattractive, it can get people talking. Often I will pull over to look at a bad window and wonder where they were going with the idea -its like when you watch a bad movie with good actors and ask yourself "didn't any of them know while it was being made"?

Change is good!

Here is a bold redesign at Kate Spade's 5th Avenue store. In an effort to keep things interesting for their customers this store was completely transformed by turning the entrance way into a colorful boutique within the store. Beginning with stripes painted on the sidewalk and leading up to the door, they carried this idea through the windows, onto the floor and up the walls of this new "parlor" entrance. It really carries the eye into the store and makes one want to venture forward. Once there the colors unfold and tell a story of summer and the adventures that await you. And if you need a rest, the new seating area is intimate while offering a birds eye view of the comings and goings on this busy Manhattan corner.
Where have you seen signs of stores "keeping it fresh"?

Monday, May 18, 2009

today in history

Found an article from 1913 in the NY Times on Window Display. It seems there was some disagreement stemming from a National Window Trimmers' Association Convention in Chicago when a comment was made that the stores on England and France presented few attractive window displays because of a tax placed on window space in all buildings. An interview with W.F. Allert, chief of the window-dressing department of R.H. Macy Co. went on to talk about the disagreement and some rules of design.

Some suggestions for successful design included; light windows for dark displays and dark windows for light displays, as well as an aim to be "attractive, entertaining and convincing". Many of the rules that held true in 1913, have been bent many times, but there are still some similarities present today almost 100 years later.

For the full story - check here.

It can be helpful to look back when planning ahead!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Window as Billboard

Here is an innovative attempt by Clorax brand to reach it's core customers - using Macy's store windows to promote it's brand's products. And here's how important store windows are....Macy's does not carry Clorax! But the partnership is sure to benefit both companies as we all know consumers take note and store windows get noticed.
For more information on the story - see

Where have you seen other good marketing partnerships?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Model as Muse

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute is currently hosting an exhibition -
The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion, exploring the link between the models and designers and the influences on fashion.
Bergdorf Goodman's windows are highlighting the show and these are just a couple - they are quite dramatic and elegant (who doesn't love a paper mache giraffe!) and I recommend going to see both the windows and the MET.
Have you seen any recent links between fashion and art?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Design on a Dime Part two

Here are a couple more shots of the Design on a Dime event. The printing of that pool water looks so real it makes me want to take a plunge!

For more info - see

Also for more photos - check out Apartment Therapy's coverage

Design on a Dime

The 5th Annual Housing Works "Design on a Dime" event began last night. This is a great fundraiser for a terrific organization committed to ending the twin crisis of AIDS and homlessness. This event asks designers to create rooms on a small budget (as the name implies)and then everything in the vignettes is for sale. Here is a sneak preview of some of the room vignettes set up (more to come later) - I noticed similar themes from the interior design community as are being seen at a VM level within retail.

Lots of repurposing - seen here a door as a bedboard; frames and focus walls are still very strong; creating drama with use of curtains; books, books books; the use of a single item repeated - in this case flowers on the mantel; natural elements - tree stumps, sand, foliage, flowers, etc. Also - the red bedroom is Ty Pennington for Sears. Overall lots to see and great inspiration!
Have you seen any cross discipline themes recently? Where?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sand Castle Delight

It's not so hard to think about getting into a swim suit when you are a kid...but this sand castle definitely helps set the mood! The bottom line is summer is approaching and there is fun to be had in the sand and surf. So get your beach wear and head to the ocean! While you're there build yourself a castle.

Now that's my idea of an inspiring prop - what else are you seeing that says summer fun?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

When props should stop...

Here is a store spotted in the Super Brand mall in Shanghai. It is a Chinese brand called Hazzys which is trying to capture the classic preppy look ala Polo RL. When you look at their website, you see that their stores are only located in China but all the models appear to be blond Americans. What is interesting is how disjointed the props are within the windows (this is only my opinion) and how even though there are so many of them, they fail to tell a story. Perhaps it is the blandness of the beige walls, maybe it's the busyness of the display or it could be the "inauthentic" point of view (as in, I think we have seen this somewhere before).
Windows should be unique to a brand and should help communicate the brand message. Do they do that successfully in these windows?