Jonathan Baker M.A. (UEL), M.A. (CSM) is Course Director at one of the world’s leading centres of Fashion, lecturing in Fashion Visual Merchandising & Branding and is former Chief World Expert in VM for WorldSkills.org. He produces visual research for global retailers and industry suppliers, is a freelance VM and Retail consultant with clients in China, Russia, USA, Middle East, guest speaker for commercial events, Academic External Examiner and if that’s not enough is based in LONDON. Look out for our first book, Fashion Visual Merchandising, Winter 2013 published by Bloomsbury Press
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Thankfully there are alternative Autumnal schemes out there in commercial world that are not relying solely on Brown crispy leaves positioned with invisible thread and floating as if falling, printed leaf motifs stuck to the fenestration in vinyl or covering the bases of window schemes right now.
While laying in my floatation tank the other day (yeh, ok, I was actually sat on the sofa but it sounds so much more glamorous), I had been thinking about this scheme at Hermes on Bond St. here in London and wondering what it was that had drawn me in to record it. I suddenly realised that it wasn't so much that I like these fantasy model houses (although of course I do), but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that I was trying to think, if you know what I mean? Well, having finally and impatiently allowed the thoughts to germinate, an odd thought came into my mind.
Now according to UK Government figures "more people than ever before are dreaming of owning their own home one day". "It is as much a national obsession as football, pets and complaining about the weather", [however] "for millions, the ideal of buying, owning and making a hefty profit from one's own home has gone from a dream to an expectation, and fuelled an insatiable demand for TV property programmes".
Now if we tie these thoughts together (as you can imagine my mind was racing at this point) it suddenly struck me again that Hermes looked like a very creative and avant-garde estate agents? I know they wont thank me for saying that and I certainly don't mean it in a derogatory sense, but it just sparked a thought process. Now as estate agents per se tend to use the same old format of drab room image where the seller couldn't be bothered to tidy up or it was last decorated in Georgian times - George an' Mildred times that is - to the other end of the scale of show-pony-esque penthouse suite and everything else in between, all with the obligatory plan of space and description, wouldn't it be simultaneously interesting and horrifying, that if to buy or sell our homes a model had to made to be placed in the windows of an estate agent so that the buyer would get a really good idea of the space immediately? No? OK, well lets take this a little further, and this is the horrifying bit, what if WE had to make the model ourselves of the home that we were selling as part of the process? I'm laughing to myself as the images are springing to my mind. OK, well the Uber wealthy would probably cheat and have someone make a model of their fabulous homes from balsa wood, perspex and so on - that's a given, but what about the other end of the scale? (I think you may be ahead of me at this point) I'm obviously guessing, although I have a feeling there would be a lot of cigarette packet style furniture, toilet roll chimneys, washing liquid bottles shaped chairs, Primark shoe boxes and sellotape going on. Oh the spectacle of it all. Of course there would be a lot of spaces completely out of scale, cornflake boxes with square shapes cut of of them for windows representing that apartment in a tower block somewhere, single heterosexual males' bachelor pads with giant beds, a deckchair in the living room made of pipe cleaners with a matchbox shaped plasma screen stuck to the side, maybe a plant - to show his sensitive side - although pruned to a twig to make everything look just that little bit bigger, no kitchen, oh the list goes on.
Hermes Bond St. London
Snapping back to reality, thankfully we don't, and it was just one of those random thoughts that came into my mind which amused me momentarily while I clearly was having a party for one. Although there is a concept there somewhere and after all, Estate agents are retailers too. I'm not aware that their format has ever really changed and so many clearly need our help with their Interiors and Visual Merchandising. Don't they?
Anyway, I do like what this brand produces generally and I really quite like these little tree houses which fill these windows inside which, the product has been placed. There seems to be a trend to include mushrooms in schemes right now which can also be seen at Fortnum and Mason and Hobbs too. Although within this scheme they have been made from the Hermes brand scarves. I particularly love the humour which is really missing from schemes generally here in London, with Hermes' use of their merchandise plaited Rapunzel out-sized-style and dangling from this little construction - great fun.
As a final thought, perhaps once this scheme is no longer needed (probably around end of next month), and in the name of philanthropy, maybe Hermes will be able to donate these to the UK Governments housing option scheme for key workers? I believe they are of comparable size?
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