Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Louis Vuitton, Paris

We drooled over this scheme at Louis Vuitton the other day.  As always, this brand is leading the way visually. The presentation is sharper than a razor the quality second to none.  These guys clearly have their fingers on the pulse of what is about to happen 'out there' (and possibly a crystal ball too?).  Anyway, if you want to see retail store windows at their very best, no expense spared and oozing  the quality that most of us can only ever hope for then look no further than LV.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Rodolphe Menudier, Paris

We don't know much about this brand unfortunately (and their website is all in French) and our 'franglais' is a little rusty so we've only been able to scan across their website to find out a little more.  But anyway, with our poor language translation abilities it appears that the product is worn by the models of Dior, Galliano, Lacroix, Rabanne.....and then something about Postmodernism and Neo-punk.  But anyway, we were drawn to this store as shoes are so incredibly difficult to make interesting through their presentation, however the visual team here have created beautiful stacks of these luxury shoes set against these ink printed backgrounds.  These are reminiscent of child-like projects of yesteryear, however we think you will agree that it just works so well?

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Hermes, Paris

We do love the current scheme at Hermes right now.  Its seems from the outside looking in that this brand is following the example of LV across the road from here and injecting huge doses of humour into their schemes - and we love that.  Its freezing cold and wet here and this view is a welcome relief from it all.  Traditionally of course store windows' teams produced these kinds of schemes when all was created under the umbrella of window display.  So many 'old school' techniques appear to be lost with the use of the more contemporary term Visual Merchandising which is an incredible shame although it appears that this brand haven't lost it at all - thank goodness.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Lanvin, Paris

While we're not huge fans of this brand, as back in London the presentation is rather dubious, however,  the Paris store does actually look quite wonderful, don't you think?  With their wonderfully styled and sprayed to within an inch of thier lives wigs (ah well who cares about the ozone layer anyway?) these mannequins look quite superb.  There is clearly an underlying theme here which we haven't yet tuned into (but we will) although we did look on in awe at how well this scheme was produced, even in its simplicity and while the Parisian rain poured down on us in this freezing cold weather.  Anyway, if you're here in Paris do go and take a look at this little gem.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Prada 24 Hours Museum, Paris

If you are in Paris and missed this incredible event, then you really did miss a treat.  Situated in the Palais d'Iena, the 24 hours Museum was broken into three sections and inspired by three types of Museum, 'the historic, the temporary and the forgotten'.  The central space (above) contained the work of Francesco Vezzoli  and 'his personal tribute to femininity through the use of classical sculptures that make reference to contemporary divas placed on marble pedestals'.  This really was a stunning space and if you didn't see it on Tuesday and Wednesday this week then you've missed it.  However, we did make a couple of short videos to share with you which are also now on our YouTube channel.  The link here is a walk through the main neon lit metal cage. 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Karl Lagerfeld, Paris

We can hardly believe that we managed to get so close to Karl Lagerfeld, .....bizarre, eh?  Lagerfeld has just 'launched an on line fashion collection in conjunction with the London-based web retailer Net-a-Porter' and we were there.  How incredible.  We didn't expect to see this amazing designer so closely and as you can see from our images, it was quite a scrum but we got the 'money shots' that we wanted to share with you as well as the gorgeous giveaways.  We're in Paris right now to have a look at the latest and greatest in Design, the trends, the journey's and so on.  We have already spotted some amazing 'bits' which we will share over the next week or so.  Tomorrow...........Prada's 24 hour Museum..!  If you're not in Paris right now, you have already missed it.  However don't worry, we made a quick few videos and took lots of shots and will share with you very shortly.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

House of Fraser, London

Who would have thought that House of Fraser, or rather 'THE HOF' would look so cool?  We adore this scheme with its out sized printing blocks.  We saw this trend last year at 'Tent' and imagine we will see a lot more of these blocks in various formats emerging around London.  We're not massive fans of Valentines schemes per se but, hands up, we do love this one.  Fabulous guys.......just watch this space to view other 'print' related schemes.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Prada, London

We're just loving the colours at this brand right now.  How cool are these guys?  Spring is no where to be seen in London right now, but with their muted tones and clear forward thinking, the visual team here are producing such superb-fast-forward-in-time yet such simple schemes that we want to lick the windows.  In fact.....well....yes it was us that smeared your windows while drooling at the product - sorry.  The bottom window could perhaps do with a little pick-me-up but apart from that, quality is screaming from these windows.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Stella McCartney, London

We were rather knocked out by this scheme rocking Stella McCartney right now.  Who would have thought that we actually like a scheme from this brand, eh?  OK, well be could mention the fact that the mannequins and product are not illuminated but we don't care in this instance.  In fact the mannequins and product are a bit of a distraction in this scheme.  Its not Vegas, we know, but the colours used here and the simplicity of the scheme is actually superb.  So there you go.  We do like some thing after all.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Juicy Couture, London

We were quite struck by this current scheme at Juicy Couture. We can see the possible references to New Years' keep fit resolutions but this looks more 'Wembley market' than representative of a brand in a 'lux' area of town.  However, beyond the chav-hoodie look that this brand seems to be promoting (its really not good is it), what is wonderful about it - and thank goodness that every cloud has a Silver lining - are the references to 'Memphis' from the 1980's.  If you were around at the time too then you'll know what we mean (otherwise maybe Google it or check in your local library.....if you still have one) and this is where, at least for us the brands' scheme redeems itself visually and we adore this element of what has been produced.  However, if you want to see this fashion 'look' then pop down to just about every deprived area anywhere. This is clearly a wealthy brand gone cheap-as-chips-at-a-price, but do we really need to see this in Lux-town too?  Just tellin' it like it is yeah-but-no-but-innit-tho'.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Moschino, London

We've been keeping a 'beady' (short for beady eye as in a close eye or following this brand closely.... etc, for our US friends....we're using our London slang here for which there is no dictionary) for quite some time.  We really do like what these guys are doing although we think we would have made the 'Sax' (saxophone....for our Asian readers who are translating this)   huge and outrageously out sized.  We love the balloons and musical notes although the Saxophone is too small.  Don't you think?

Friday, 20 January 2012

H & M, London

We've seen these Hans Belmar (Death and the Doll) references around quite a few times recently, either at Mango here in London and various stores in New York too.  We have to admit that the guys here have got it absolutely right (whatever that means) in terms of their scheme here at H and M and how cool does this look?  This trend seems to have begun last Summer with the launch of Jessie J's video for her hit single 'Price Tag' - maybe? 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Hermes, London

This is such a refreshing scheme from this brand, don't you think?  Possibly inspired by one of the numerous abstract expressionist painters, the coloured triangular shapes and cubed forms in various sizes set the context.  We're not so keen on the cubes for heads on the mannequins although we are thankful the visual team didn't go down the Mondrian visual route at least.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Mulberry, London

We love the new scheme at Mulberry right now.  With its most welcome seaside-type scheme of out sized sticks of rock, melting ice creams and bag of chips, this did bring a smile to our faces.  Its a shame that the security grill has to come down at night time as this really does spoil the view, but then needs must we guess in these times of heightened security.  Anyway, do go and check them out, we guarantee this scheme will bring a smile to your face too. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Topman, London

We saw the visual team implementing this scheme at Topman just a few days ago (oh we remember the days of doing these windows, particularly when we had 15 of them wrapped around this site).  The space that these guys have is hugely enviable in the West End although of course is equally difficult to use.  However, while the scheme does appear as some kind of sinister torture (almost as if it is part of a giant water wheel but without the obligatory water) or some kind of contemporary but painful execution of the fashionista.....it does in reality look incredibly cool and of course is very well produced - its just our imagination running away with us.  Anyway, do go and have a look if you can.  Topshop hadn't completed their scheme but we may include them very soon.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Hackett, London

Hackett Scheme images Courtesy and Copyright Moe Krimat

How interesting is this?  2012 marks the 90th Anniversary of the first film by the genius Alfred Hitchcock.  What is particularly wonderful is Hacketts reference to this in their current Sale scheme.  What a relief not to view either large format letters spelling out the word Sale (do we really need to see this again......ever?) or large format graphics screaming 50% off.  Here we have a fantastic interpretation of Hitchcock's film 'The Birds'.....in a Sale scheme of all things and made their own by this amazing brand.  We've been enjoying what these guys have done throughout 2011 and what a way to begin 2012.  Interestingly, Mont Blanc have also picked up on this anniversary.  We guess this illustrates how much these brands have their fingers clearly and firmly on the pulse of it all.  Please keep these incredible schemes coming guys at Hackett throughout 2012 as we absolutely LOVE them and want to keep sharing the LOVE.  You have a massive head start in 2012 and clearly leading the way - thank you.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Tiffany, London

Well, this is an interesting little 'pup' of a scheme from this brand-lux store along Bond Street.  This current scheme appears as kind of wrought iron gates or railings (to us), with their fabulous jewellery suspended within it.  Of course this is a massively refreshing scheme and most welcome this time of year, particularly considering that most London is in Sale.  January is notoriously slow on shifting this bling, so of course as always, any inspiration for windows is such a pleasure to view.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Salvatore Ferragamo, London

Just what we needed after a 10 hour flight - to look at ourselves in the cold light of day even more warped than usual in these curved mirrored bases at Salvatore Ferragamo.  We do have to mention however how much better these mirrored finished look as opposed to the shiny wooden finish ones we saw recently at this brand.  Naturally the product is superb and the scheme is very well produced as one would expect, in the usual window dynamics.  However, as we feel like we've just been exhumed and flaky-skinned from the dry cabin air, seeing our reflections is not a good look right now.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Max Mara, London

We can hardly believe its been almost a month since we looked at London windows.  However, nothing revolutionary has happened in our absence of course.   Margaret Thatcher still thinks she's the Queen, everyone in the US still thinks that Sarah 'Fergie' Ferguson sings with the Black Eyed Peas and H an M have rolled out their Jessie 'J' Its not about the Money, Money, Money 2011 video referenced scheme.  Of course its freezing not having the luxury and the warmth of the Nevada Winter sun after we had warmed up like little lizards on a rock (and simultaneously air con'd), but ah well, we're glad to be back in Blighty.  Anyway, while popping down to Bond street with jet lag the size of a small European country and looking like the old craggy stewardesses who still think they are flying Pan-Am, we happened upon this very delicious scheme at Max Mara.  Wow, look at these colours, just superb.  Such a simple scheme, bust forms placed in a repetition format with a large format graphic.  Not revolutionary, but all beautifully done of course.  In the meantime someone please pass the Melatonin and a pint of something Duty Free (on the rocks)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Learning from Las Vegas, Parts 5 and 6

In our final entry on Las Vegas (and learning from it) we decided to go back to where it all began - Fremont st.  In now what appears visually as an in town /out of town shopping area reminiscent, albeit vaguely of a northern city shopping centre back in the UK or a Russian shopping mall, only with better weather and more lights. This area has a huge worn-out-curly-edged-dog-eared-tinge of faded glory about it, although it appears that someone somewhere has attempted to regenerate it with the addition of an enormous 'light-show' canopy over the main drag.  This is what Vegas always appeared to be from the outside looking in and from every kind of media we've ever seen, and we are fascinated to be part of  it.  Now sadly,  here, the vagrants hassle tourists for money by attempting to strike up a conversation at the loudest level possible.  We impolitely ignore them as our British accents appears to give them more opportunity to converse and they move on to the next passing flaneurs.  The proudly and literally named 'heart attack grill' delivers steaks the size of a cow (complete with parked ambulance and waitresses dressed as nurses) and deep fried Oreo's are on the surrounding menu's - nice.  This area seems to be a populated Farmagusta of the West, or an homage to the way things were only with a lot more lights attached. The flashing signs at the toe curling Glitter Gulch Gentleman's club, 4 Queens (with missing or broken lights) and the Golden Nugget beckoned us in - we easily manage to resist.  Our eyes smart at the strap line of Oscar's casino which announces that it has 'beef, booze and broads' (interesting how cultural dynamics change but some places are to vacuous to keep up) and the ill-fitting ruched lurid Pink and Green outfits of the 'door-whores' at Mermaids drive the final nail in the visual coffin and so its time to move on.
In Part 6, our final entry and further along the road less travelled we ventured into the surrounding streets in an attempt to scratch a little deeper into the skin of this place.  We found a lot of interesting graffiti which communicate political frustrations as well as the humour of the local population.  Some of the signs and signifier's beyond the sanitised resorts really are quite telling of how the main drag is perceived and how life really is beyond the gloss and glamour.  We have only touched on the fringes of this incredible place, and only been able to show you a tiny snapshot of what we are looking at and our emotional response to it.  These things of course are best experienced, but hopefully the small slides that we have given you at least offer a kind of 'Google Earth' view of Las Vegas. We would recommend that you visit here yourself and experience all it has to offer.  The pendulum between perceived ecstasy and sadness, despair and hopelessness seems to swing quite far out here but then it was always going to be in the Casino's favour, wasn't it?  In the meantime, we're London bound. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Learning From Las Vegas, Parts 3 and 4

Having now spend hours and hours looking, identifying and recording what Venturi called 'International jet set style, Arte Moderne Hollywood Orgasmic, Organic behind, Niemeyer Moorish....Bauhaus Hawaiian' we are now beginning to get into the rhythm of this town.  As Venturi also wrote, 'people are looking for illusions: they don't want the world's realities', then here is certainly the place for it'.  We've ventured into every resort on the Las Vegas boulevard and recorded everything that grabbed our attention which also has a 'non-chip-on-the-shoulder' place here and we have also come to view how the environment is not enhanced through additional 'bits' but rather torn down and begun again.  This town is unapologetic, has a shameless consumerist attitude and really couldn't give a damn what anyone else thinks.  As long as the slot machines are 'ringing-an-a-blinging' and the poker tables are busy, then the smiles from the doorman will keep coming as will the drinks from the middle-aged women in their hostess uniforms of short creased Red 'satin' dresses being poured to the cigar smoking punters.  This is pure wonderful decadence and escapism.  We are in our element.....well, at least to a point.  While we could be carried away and drawn into this fantasy world, we manage to keep our perspective.  No dime or penny has been wasted on the slots and no chips bought,  in fact we probably are the anti-consumer as far as Vegas is concerned.  Sadly the rings, bells, flashing lights and fabulously glossy sports cars on turntables surrounded by the 'slots' just don't touch us, although we do love the spectacle of it all.  The symbols, the images, the sounds, the smells, the Elvis lookie-likies,  the pumping music - even outside -  its all quite intoxicating, but we can resist.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Learning From Las Vegas: Parts 1 and 2

In our final three entries on Las Vegas, we wanted to offer a kind of synopsis of our journey.  We don't take holidays as such and therefore we don't take holiday snaps, so our images are simply of what we see, what we wish to communicate to a wider audience and what our emotional response is to whatever we are viewing.  Naturally, the thoughts we share are ours and we like to leave our audience to make up their own minds about what they view too, after all we're not always 'right' (whatever that means) however, it is at least one voice reflecting on our Visual Merchandising industry and where we are now and where (we think) we need to be.  We approached Las Vegas in a similar way to that of the Architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, albeit very humbly following in their giant footsteps. 
Venturi and Brown visited Las Vegas nearly 40 years ago which led to their incredible book, Learning from Las Vegas.  Of course it was unrealistic to attempt to do everything that these phenomenal people did on their journey and therefore we were only ever going to be able to skim the surface of what they produced, however we have looked at some of the iconography contained within this urban sprawl from a commercial and visual perspective and attempted to record the journey to sale and the experience on that journey.  Also, we wanted to see for ourselves how these incredibly huge resorts work so hard to capture their often big money spending customers and how they attempt to keep them there by offering everything that one could possibly desire under one roof.  Each resort vies for the attention of the potential customer at every possible level in a very different way, to ensure that we part with our hard earned cash. These strategies in particular fascinate us.  Part 1, records very much how Vegas should be seen - from the automobile, where we have recorded what Venturi so wonderfully called the Architecture of Persuasion, or perhaps more commonly known to us as Visual Merchandisers as (the miss-named) Point of Sale (we prefer The Journey to Sale).  In Part 2 we look at some of the resorts and what some of the key elements are that hook us and reel us so willingingly in by capturing our attention, teasing us, promising so much, but ultimately one realises that the thin veneer of gloss, is just that.

(Please note that if you are receiving this via e-mail you will need to check into http://www.retailstorewindows.com/ in order to view the slides)

Monday, 9 January 2012

Grand Canyon, Arizona

We decided to escape the constant blinging of the slot machines for a couple of days in search of some hidden Gems further afield.  It was quite bizarre to see the time on our telephones change, particularly as back in the UK we only have one time zone.  Anyway, we're just across the next time zone in Arizona right now looking at some of the trading posts and visitor villages.  OK, well we haven't found much in the form of Visual Merchandising, per se, although we have found some wooden structured buildings painted in the most delicious colours which we've captured for our records.  We did come across the local undertakers and some interesting examples of POS however.  Well, 'it does what it says on the tin' kind of scenario and brought an ironic smile to our faces at least.  While we weren't that surprised not to find the most cutting edge 'stuff', this really is a most stunning area to visit nonetheless. 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Itsugar, Las Vegas

If you happen to be in New York, New York, in Las Vegas (that's confusing..!)  then do go and have a look at the the jelly bean Statue of Liberty in the main entrance from MGM.  Thousands of these sugary little beans have been (we assume glued) to create this  huge replica.  We saw something similar in New York (the city not the hotel/resort) at Henri Bendel over Christmas.  But anyway, this is great fun and immediately tells you what the product is even if Miss. Liberty looks perhaps ever so slightly annoyed.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

H and M, Las Vegas

If you do happen to go and watch the animatronics show at Caesars Palace, do go and check out H and M.  How cool is this store - we even had to make a video of it as we were so impressed with the video wall, the suspended mannequins and disco balls and the flashing lights on the back wall - all of these elements cant be appreciated through still images so we've included our video here too for you to view.

Friday, 6 January 2012

The Chandelier, Las Vegas

If you happen to swing by the Cosmopolitan here in Vegas, then you must go and have a look at The Chandelier.  Essentially the Chandelier is a giant chandelier hanging over two floors around a bar and a seating area.  Hilarious fun? or trashy Vegas?  Well, we'll let you decide.  In the meantime we did make a short video of this as we were rather bemused and it certainly is a sight to see.  It is also quite a novelty although we did get over it quite quickly.  Anyway, do check out the video. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Beijing Noodle No.9, Las Vegas

Quite a relief for these little fellas we would imagine?  Wandering in and out of the slots and poker tables, teasingly named Rembrandt's riches, Pussy cat delights, Aces high......the list is almost endless, here at Caesars palace, there are a few wonderful little oases such as Beijing Noodle No. 9.  Two rows of these fish tanks teaming with Goldfish dominate the entrance to this space, however, of course, these spaces don't seem to offer very much rest bite from the bling-bling and all the whistles and bells of the gaming machines. although they are a rather great to at least view (oh and free..!).

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Nanette Lepore, Las Vegas

Sitting amongst the mass of global brands all peddling the same schemes that we've seen either in London or in New York, it is always a pleasure to find brands that we don't know or don't have a global presence yet.  Here at Nanette Lepore, situated within The Forum (inside Caesars Palace resort) we were struck by these fabulous palm trees in neon colours.  The scheme is a little messy for our tastes, particularly with the Green and Pink wrapped gifts, although it is a break at least from the usual global schemes from the lux brands that appear to dominate the resorts here. 


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Versace, Las Vegas

We loved the colour of the merchandise within the womens wear at Versace (Aria Center) next to the Gold of the plinths and backdrop.  Sadly, as always menswear is the usual choice of Black, Brown or Grey, however the lighting of this scheme with the merchandise made it almost impossible to miss.  We actually quite like this scheme, which is a slightly different offer from the other Versace stores that we've seen recently in Europe and New York.  What do you think?

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