The Christmas sales have finished and the new retail season has started in earnest, so this week we take a quick look at what some of London’s retailers are doing with their store window displays to ring in the new season.
According to John Ryan, writing for Retail Week, “The shift of seasons is about informing consumers of the necessity to get shopping in order not to be caught out, rather than the more usual creation of desire…
“This is the moment when the retail industry in general and fashion retailers in particular decree, via their windows, that the new season has arrived…the one thing that seems to unite purveyors of the new season is that if red means Sale, then the default colour to tell shoppers that things are changing is green….”
But is this true? Let’s take a look at three of London’s new season displays to see what’s happening and how they’re welcoming the spring…without a hint of green!
Limbering up for London Fashion Week, the celebrated shoe brand have got some giant ‘vitamin Louboutin’ packets and tablets arranged carefully beside the new season’s shoes in their store window display on Mount Street – suggesting that a fresh pair of heels are just what the doctor ordered in the gloomy limbo between the Christmas festivities and the bright sunny days of spring.
Over at Topshop on Oxford Street the window display is all about the new ‘Edited’ collection and a departure from their usual display with a classy bit of visual merchandising in the form of slatted wood and 3D lettering announcing the arrival of the collection. The hand-made look of the display gives the impression of a more elite establishment, mirroring the special qualities of the collection which is only available online or at two stores in London – Regent Street and Oxford Circus. The collection is a hand-picked selection from the AW12 collection with a specially curated selection of pieces chosen by guest experts and changed weekly.
A little further along Oxford Street, Selfridges is busy promoting an anti-thesis to the Christmas sales via their ‘No-Noise’ shopping experience. A ‘quiet shopping’ promotion’ featuring unbranded (yet iconic) products. The event is a showcase for minimalist design, with window displays featuring specially-commissioned art-installations and unbranded products. In-store there is a ‘Silence Room’ where shoppers are invited to remove their shoes , remain silent, hand over their mobiles and participate in mediation sessions. Apparently this idea of a silent room was first thought up in 1909 by Selfridges founder Harry Gordon Selfridge (currently the focus of a racy primetime ITV drama).
The promotion also features a ‘Quiet Shop’ where some of the world’s most recognisable brands have removed their logos for an exclusive collection of de-branded products.
Selfridges blog attempts to explain the motivation for the concept:
“As we become increasingly bombarded with information and stimulation, the world is becoming a noisier place… In an initiative that goes beyond retail, the unique project invites you to celebrate the power of quiet, see the beauty in function and find calm among the crowds.”
John Ryan from Retail Week elaborates:
“In doing all of this, Selfridges has unveiled a different take on the new season. After the hubbub of the festive period, the retailer’s message is to slow down. This might be somewhat counter-intuitive but, on the other hand, it is attention grabbing.”