Monday, 31 October 2011

Selfridges, London, Christmas 2011

If you happen to be in London's West End then you must, must, must go and view Selfridges Christmas scheme 2011.  With references and nod to Martin Margiela we cant help but absolutely love this scheme.  This all White scheme screams quality, humour,  and shows London Visual Merchandising at its very best.  You simply must go and experience it for yourself. 

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Banana Republic, London

Tracy had always been the life and soul of the secret night time window parties, although it was quite clear to the others that her drinking was becoming a problem.

B Store, London

We love Seana Gavin's installation here at B Store right now.  The installation for Frieze is in place until 5th November.  If you happen to be along Saville Row soon, do go and check it out.  If you cant get there just Google Seana Gavin (the hand cut collage Artist) and a whole load of wonderful things pop up.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Max Mara, London

Just like a sunset, the windows here are very hard to capture. The sophistication oozing from this store really cant be appreciated and we have to admit that our photographs do make this scheme look rather dull.  However, if you happen to walk past at night time they really do glow and sparkle.  As ever, the sophistication of this unshakable brand is here on view and although we only ever really press our noses up against the glass (sorry for that..!) we do admire the quality of their finish.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Ralph Lauren, London

The latest scheme at Ralph Lauren along Bond st. really is quite stunning.  Unfortunately we had to use a flash to eliminate the reflection from the stores across the street so our images really don't do this scheme justice.  The quality of the finish here is always superb and we've been keeping a distant eye on this brand over the months although we don't always include them here.  The atmosphere and sophistication of this scheme even in its apparent simplicity really is worth experiencing if you happen to be walking along here during the evening.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Gieves and Hawkes, London

We're not going to wax lyrical about these old soldiers, although with a brand dating back to the 1800's they must being getting something right.  With a massive and absolutely real heritage behind them Gieves and Hawkes, it seems, have kept up with the 21st century and embraced the latest trends too - in this case nostalgia.  With this store just a hop, skip and a jump from the screaming girlie's queuing outside A & F warming up to embrace the apparently 'hunky' males at the front door (we cant even bear to say the name of the dreadful but clearly wealthy bland brand), here is the real quality,  genuine heritage and consistency - we like this. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Lanvin, London

We decided to swing by Saville Row this week and check out some of the stores, just in case something exciting was happening - we were hoping.  Of course we're big fans of Lanvin, although not necessarily of their window schemes.  We are always dubious about hybridised mannequins and we're not quite sure whats going on with this scheme right now.  Mannequins, placed as if they either look as if they have had a very good Saturday night or suspended with 'invisible' thread (apparently by their eyebrows - see below)  just doesn't work in such a sophisticated brand that is attempting to look interesting.  Just make it look boring guys and be done or come up with an intelligent design?  We're bored trying to find the positive in these schemes, so now, we need to tell it like it is.  Great brand, but dull, untalented, uneducated, uninformed schemes - scary stuff really.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tods, London

Well, its that time of year again.  Autumn is truly here after the warmest October for years.  At Tods along Bond St., the Autumnal scheme is in place and as these guys produce such Uber quality schemes, even their Autumnal leaves are made of cur out leather.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Fortnum and Mason, London

We're huge fans of what the guys at Fortnum's do, and they recently won a few very well deserved awards recently for what they do also - and rightly so.  As we nearly always mention, if you want to understand how to handle product like this, then this is definitely the place to look and see it at its best.  With their wit and humour and massive detail, we cant help but be drawn into follow what they do.  As they now begin to transform their windows into their famous Christmas schemes, we have just about managed to capture their penultimate scheme for this year with references to Halloween (and oddly one of the few brands to do so, but then Halloween is not as big here as in the U.S.) but anyway,  if you want to know 'how its done' make a bee-line for Fortnum and Mason and get licking those windows.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Warehouse, London

Can you believe that Warehouse have been around since 1976?  How quickly did that go, hey?  This is probably one of the best schemes we have seen at this store, with its Design studio installation celebrating (and rightly so) all of the people who have or are contributing to this brand.  Bust forms, sleeve boards, photographs with messages.....this list is pretty endless, cram this space.  
We love these kinds of installations that demystify what happens behind the scenes of these brands.  Often working in tiny spaces, filled to the brim with all sorts of equipment and inspiration these guys really do have to work in tough places.  However, as those of us who work in this industry know, we love it anyway.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Vivienne Westwood, London

While these windows are not the most exciting scheme in the world, we've included these simply because the merchandise looked so incredible.  This feather 'jacket' which our photograph doesn't do justice looked absolutely stunning in these windows that we absolutely had to include it.  We were drawn in from across the street to take a closer look and in this instance the product overtakes the presentation of it.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Pull and Bear, London

We were really drawn into the Pull and Bear store this week.  The references to Fine Art in their window scheme looks really great and we were very excited to take a closer look.  Unfortunately, the scheme stops at the window and out come the stacked suitcases in pigeon holes or on the top of shelves with a foam board graphic referencing the window schemes (well one or two at least).  We feel a little cheated here.  We don't often enter past the threshold of this brand but we did make a concerted effort to take a closer look and do a little perusing for possible purchases.  The merchandise isn't great and nothing that one couldn't buy anywhere else... really....the usual menswear in Black, Brown, Grey, Blue or checkered - oh joy.  Still, there's hope and we will certainly keep a look out for where they go next anyway. 

Thursday, 20 October 2011

G-Star Raw, London

Have you seen the latest scheme from G-Star Raw right now?  Interestingly we've spotted a few schemes in this suspended lengths of paper format throughout 2011 and here we have them in a symmetrical style - something which is indicative of this brand and their schemes.  Anyway, we're not sure this is the best one we've seen from these guys, although it is inoffensive and does what it does.  Its not breaking down barriers, confrontational or thought provoking, although most of the time we wish some these schemes would be a little more risque and interesting, don't you?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Hugo Boss, London

We weren't initially sure about this scheme at Hugo Boss right now which we can view around town (and probably every where else around the world)  as it is very similar to an LV scheme from a few years ago which featured Big Brother-style CCTV-style video cameras.  However, while this scheme is essentially metallic paper aeroplanes, there are more layers here than one would expect.  We found ourselves across their Regent st branch today viewing this scheme and bizarrely this whole installation has so many other layers than one would expect.  Shadows of people passing this installation are reflected within these metallic finished pieces which as they (the passersby) walk by are reflected within in them.  This instantly gives these pieces a sense of movement.  Whether by default or by design, suddenly this installation is elevated to the realms of a Fine Art installation where one needs to scratch a lot lower below the surface in order to find some kind of meaning.  This scheme/installation is working way beyond our own expectations and good on these guys at Hugo Boss.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Selfridges, London

We're loving Selfridges Museum of Everything right now.  We went along ourselves  a few weeks ago to take part in the experience and it really is interesting to see how some of these iconic stores really are opening up (possibly) previously unused spaces.  The Museum of Everything is 'Britains first and only Museum for the unintentional, untrained and unknown artists of our modern age'.  This is an incredible leap forward by a major institution, particularly as their incredibly expensive windows are given over in this promotion and barely a product in site.  Confidence indeed in what this brand is about and we're sure this scheme will eventually be seen as one of those massively benevolent ones in support of the greater community and ones which we will be talking about for eons.  Good on ya Selfridges. 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Oasis, London

We haven't seen masses of creativity from this brand for a long time, however these guys seemed to have re-positioned themselves again and doing some amazing stuff.  Their latest scheme with its jumbo knit and out sized knitting needles' installation in conjunction with recent graduate Claire Nixon is rocking London right now.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Alassio, Italy, On the streets

Images copyright MEB.

Our roving researcher MEB has just landed in the 10th century town of Alassio in the northern part of Italy on her quest to find the latest concepts and information on the streets.  Here in Alassio, the most significant element is the Muretto.  550 signed by celebrities have been used and applied to decorate this structure in a collage format. 

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Tiffany, London

This was a tricky scheme to capture at Tiffany on our little 'digi cam' and is equally quite difficult to comment on.  Its possibly not their not most interesting scheme this year and the wit and humour is a little lacking in this scheme.  But then, things move on, hey?  Of course the quality is always here in the presentation and of course its so incredibly challenging to keep on coming up with ever more original themes and schemes.  Ah!

Friday, 14 October 2011

UK wins Visual Merchandising Gold Medal

Image Copyright Adam Holt /
Earlier this week the UK won the Gold Medal in Visual Merchandising.  How incredibly exciting is this?  The rigorously selected best of under 25 year olds from around the world competed at Excel last week during a 4 day grueling competition with competitors from all corners of the globe. 
During the past 10 months we've been working with the wonderfully bubbly Kirsty Hoadley on a weekly basis to build up her skills for the competition.  Together we visited all kinds of events (including the Truvia experience on the roof of Selfridges) and worked through a rigorous training/educational and selection programme in order to get to this stage.  Kirsty worked extremely hard, putting in the long hours of work that this industry demands, taking the media circus surrounding her completely in her stride, included radio and newspaper interviews and various film crews capturing the journey.  It has been a wonderful privilege to work with someone who shares our passion for the Visual Merchandising industry and a particular thanks to and who helped and supported us in achieving the  Gold medal.  Kirsty now joins the Fashion Retail Branding and Visual Merchandising course at the London College of Fashion.  In the meantime, watch this space - Kirsty Hoadley is a star in the making and you heard it here first. 
More information about the event can be found on the link below.

Image Copyright Gemma Emslie

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Visual Merchandising Awards, 2011, London

Images Copyright Melvyn Vincent

Were you at the Visual Merchandising Awards 2011 last Friday?  If not then you really did miss an incredible evening.  In the company of film and televisions giggly Christopher Biggins  who hosted the evening, it really was a corker.  Out with the Drag Queens and crappy entertainment and in with a very sophisticated and very well planned night guided through what seemed like a fast paced night of awards - simply because it was such fun but so dignified.  And didn't it fly by, hey?  OK, well we picked up one of these lil' pups ourselves which made our evening rather more euphoric than usual, although what was particularly interesting was how some of the usually unsung hero's of the UK's Visual Merchandising industry were rewarded for their hard work over the the big-boys-with-big-budgets-and-big-egos-to-match who always seemed to flood the awards with their albeit, often well deserved schemes,  but give some else the opportunity too, right?  Anyway, the spread of awards was absolutely right and to see some of the smaller budgeted groups pick up an award was absolutely brilliant and encouraging - afterall, we dont want to kill our industry, do we?  The Visual Merchandising schemes entered for the 2011 Awards were viewed and judged by some of the industries finest and impartial.  The ante has been upped enormously this year and looking forward we can only wonder how things will develop from these robust foundations?  Better and better, we feel.
All images were kindly supplied by Melvyn Vincent at

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Hermes, London

We had a large dose of Deja vu recently when we saw the current scheme at Hermes.  Of course we love the Hermes scheme, although we had already spotted the 'same' scheme within the windows of an independent interiors store along Wigmore street last July (actually 22nd July, images below).   Oh dear, someone is so busted.  We've been debating whether to put this on-line and save someones blushes but decided that since we have to work so hard to develop new ideas and new concepts ourselves which involves enormous amounts of time researching and developing, as do so many others within the Visual Merchandising industry, then why should anyone else not?  Right?  Schemes within Luxury brands don't come cheap and research and development time would have certainly been factored into the cost to the brand.  Whether the same company produced both is irrelevant, this is something we just don't do as  these kind of situations can begin to undermine the brand.  We're just telling it like it is.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Monaco, France, On the streets

Images Copyright MEB

The delicious MEB has been trawling the glamorous Monaco in the the South of France for us today to gather inspiration and information in order to inform those store window concepts.  Looking at Art and Design in the environment is an incredibly important part of concept development and we always look to these things for our own collection of inspirational scrapbooks and sketchbooks which we record and keep religiously.  Don't you? 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Nice, France

Images Copyright MEB
Over the past week we've sent out our roving researcher (MEB - she doesn't like to be named) to have a look at the markets in Nice, south of France.  Interestingly, Pewter, Religious Iconography and the usual  clocks are big trends right now any way and we have seen a lot of this stuff cropping up all over London in conjunction with all of the various other trends that we've mentioned here.

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