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What can we learn from Visual Merchandising of the past?

Author: Caroline
What can we learn from Visual Merchandising of the past?

Visual Merchandising is one of the most important aspects to consider when promoting products online and we can learn a great deal from window displays of the past. Christmas 2012 window displays can help the Visual Merchandiser decide what works and what does not for Christmas 2013. So what can we learn from the window displays of Christmas 2012?

Harvey Nichols focused on an Oriental theme in their Knightsbridge store for Christmas 2012. Although this may seem an unusual approach for a Christmas campaign, the campaign did in fact work well because of a number of key features. Harvey Nichols used a matching colour scheme of turquoise, blues and greens which all blended together to create an ‘ocean like’ atmosphere. This exotic ocean atmosphere complimented the Oriental theme well. The clothes were displayed on fashion mannequins which revealed how well the clothes fitted. Different styles of clothing were placed on numerous mannequins. One model wears a floor length sequin gown with a slit at the back and the way in which the figure stands really highlights the shape and flow of the dress. The figure stands facing towards the side but has her head facing forward with a hand on her hip. Her feet are placed apart to emphasize the dress’s slit. This mannequin is not the only figure that is strategically placed. Each figure is placed in a different stance. One model is sat down with her foot in the air, another is sat on a swing with her legs crossed, another is sat with hands crossed, while another rests her arm against the wall. The different stances create a life like atmosphere and fluidity in the window display. Another feature which creates a life like atmosphere is the use of both men and women mannequins. All models are made unique through the use of wigs and accessories and are shown as the main focus of the display as lights (such as fairy lights) light up the window

Selfridges had a more Christmassy feel to their window display as their display consisted of Christmas trees, stars and presents. Selfridges and Harvey Nichols used similar techniques in their window displays. Like Harvey Nichols, Selfridges used both male and female mannequins for a life like atmosphere. These models were also placed in different poses. One male model is placed in a relaxed sitting position facing model televisions as if he is watching Christmas television and relaxing on Christmas Eve. Every model has different clothes on. One model is dressed like a bell boy, complete with uniform and glasses. He is also carrying lots of presents which add to the ‘bell boy’ look. Each mannequin is a different height and the detailed faces enable the models to look different ages. In one window display, there is a smaller man who is playing a guitar. His height, his build which is slightly plump and the fact he has a detailed beard all add to the idea that he is an older man.

Harrods used the idea that Christmas is like a fairytale and used a Disney-esque display. In their display they used one mannequin per window and made that model the main focus, just like a Disney princess is the main focus of the film.

Ralph Lauren used a snow theme which included white peacocks. The mannequins used matched the scenery as the models were dressed all in white with pale skin.

Stella McCartney used a bright display to draw customers towards her store and used headless mannequins so the main focus was on the clothes. The headless models also provided the viewer with the sense of the universal quality of McCartney’s clothes as every person who looked at the clothes could image their own head on the model.



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