Ralph Lauren, Bond Street
This year’s Ralph Lauren Christmas window display features a fairytale fantasy theme with fake snow and glittering branches reminiscent of a wintery Narnian landscape. Aloof mannequins, sporting wonderfully glamorous designs and party dresses from the winter collection are surrounded by elegant pieces of taxidermy, including swans and deer. This festive retail display suggests elite glamour and snowbound winter parties in opulent surroundings, enforcing a sense of reassuringly expensive detachment from many passers by.
Dolce & Gabbana, Bond Street
Just down the road in Bond Street, Dolce and Gabbana are also offering a visual merchandising message of sumptuous affluence. The window doesn’t feature any designs from their collection – instead the main retail display is centred around a vast feasting table decorated with large golden candelabras and laden with assorted fruit, flowers and various other things one might expect see on Mariah Carey’s rider. As with the taxidermy displays of Ralph Lauren, this retail window portrays a traditional vision that is more about reinforcing the public’s perception of their retail brand than shifting units.
River Island, Oxford Street
In complete contrast to this, over on nearby Oxford Street, fashion retail chain River Island sports an uncomplicated urban-inspired window display showcasing their range of Christmas party wear in a bang-on-trend and accessible way. The colour scheme is grey and gold with a graffiti style ‘Merry Xmas’ sprayed on a brick wall effect background behind the featureless mannequins. Although simple, it’s a very effective display, focusing on the products for sale and promoting an inclusive and welcoming feeling to potential customers rather than feeling of ‘peeking into another world’ offered by D&G and Ralph Lauren.
Fred Perry, Covent Garden
One of our favourites this year, Fred Perry have a giant 3D advent calendar installed in their window in Covent Garden. Most of the numbered doors are closed – it would be great if they opened them in sequence to reveal something different every day – but instead just a couple of doors are opened, offering a tantalizing glimpse of the gift ideas contained within the store – including a shoulder bag from the Autum/Winter range. The message offered by this visual merchandising is clear – come inside if you want to see what we’ve got.
Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge
The theme for the Harvey Nichols retail window display this year is inspired by the Oriental flavour of their Autumn/ Winter range – Chinese lanterns, fans and exotic blossoms feature heavily in the design with warm, colourful lighting and jewel bright metallic finishes. The classically shaped frames positioned over the store windows are inspired by traditional Japanese fretwork designs and each display features a selection of products from the different departments, enhanced with rows of twinkling festive lights and lashings of glitter.
As previously reported on this blog, Harrods in Knigthsbridge really does pull out all the stops when it comes to a seasonal retail window display.
The theme this year is Disney Princesses and the display reflects the obvious investment made by the store, featuring realistic mannequins bedecked in designer gowns created by the cream of the world’s fashion designers, including by Escada, Roberto Cavalli and Missoni. These displays are beautifully put together – looking classy rather than like something from a pantomime. They reinforce the elite yet accessible branding strategy of the store which makes Knightsbridge a must see attraction for visiting tourists at this time of year – where the visual spectacle entices customers to come in and spend.