Bur­ber­ry x Prin­temps,


L'officiel Shopping - - Table Of Contents - BY KA­REN ROUACH

Tales of a win­dow / His­toires d’une vi­trine 橱窗背后的故事

For de­part­ment stores like Prin­temps Hauss­mann, Ch­rist­mas is a time to create ma­gic win­dows. But who is be­hind these al­ways-new ani­ma­tions that some ten mil­lion people vi­sit each year?

Wea­ring a trench coat, a plaid scarf, and a pair of rain boots, and car­rying an um­brel­la, a lit­tle boy, runs through the En­glish coun­try­side with his ted­dy bear, crosses the sea, takes a train and ar­rives in Pa­ris at night, un­der a sho­wer of stars. This sto­ry isn’t exact­ly real, but will come alive in this year’s Ch­rist­mas win­dows at Prin­temps Hauss­mann, who have tea­med up with Bur­ber­ry to bring to­ge­ther the tra­di­tions of Lon­don and Pa­ris for the first time.

One hun­dred and eigh­ty-five Ch­rist­mas trees, 10 ki­lo­me­ters of gar­lands, 300 of rib­bons, 120 of wrap­ping pa­per, 153 illu­mi­na­ted stars and snow­flakes, 1.6 mil­lion sti­ckers, an en­tire year of work, and three days of ins­tal­la­tion. Be­hind the Ch­rist­mas ma­gic lurk be­hind-the-scenes fi­gures that re­flect an en­or­mous or­ga­ni­za­tio­nal ef­fort. The fate of these win­dows is sea­led al­most a year in ad­vance, the time ne­ces­sa­ry to prepare eve­ry­thing for a few weeks of dreams. “Eve­ry year, we keep in mind that Ch­rist­mas is in a unique bra­cket of ex­change and convi­via­li­ty, crea­ted by the end of year ce­le­bra­tions,” says Franck Ban­chet, Prin­temps’s ar­tis­tic di­rec­tor and au­thor of this year’s epic. “In these grim times, we fo­cu­sed on a more tra­di­tio­nal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ch­rist­mas, hence the idea of the jour­ney bet­ween the two ca­pi­tals, where the fes­tive sea­son is la­vi­sh­ly ce­le­bra­ted.” This lit­tle boy’s trip – “in rea­li­ty” from the Bur­ber­ry flag­ship at 121 Regent Street, Lon­don to Prin­temps in Pa­ris – im­merses the spec­ta­tor in a dream world where the front and the back, the ve­ry large and the ve­ry small, the real and the vir­tual, the tra­di­tio­nal and the in­no­va­tive co­exist.


To bring the cha­rac­ters of these 11 scenes to life, the de­part­ment store has again tur­ned to Jean-Claude De­hix, one of the last mas­ters of his art in Eu­rope. In his work­shop, hid­den away in Mont­fer­meil, 40 ki­lo­me­ters from Bou­le­vard Hauss­mann, he de­ter­mines, with the aid of hun­dreds of ma­chines, all the ges­tures and the pa­th­ways of the cha­rac­ters in the fa­mous win­dows. On a shelf in his of­fice stand a few pup­pets from ear­lier ani­ma­tions. Me­mo­ries for him, but al­so tes­ti­mo­ny to other col­la­bo­ra­tions, in­clu­ding with Pra­da, Dior, Cha­nel, and Lan­vin, in the form of an Al­ber El­baz pup­pet (crea­ted by the de­si­gner him­self). In­deed, for six years, the de­part­ment stores have wor­ked with fashion houses to dress their cha­rac­ters. “I can al­most say that I work in fashion,” laughs Jean-Claude De­hix. Te need to work with de­si­gner outfts has gi­ven him a dif­cult time, in the pur­suit of an ele­gance that is nor­mal in the feld, since it is found by po­king needles in clothing made from ex­tre­me­ly luxurious ma­te­rials. “For Bur­ber­ry, the cha­rac­ters are wea­ring fa­bu­lous ga­bar­dines, I had trouble ani­ma­ting wi­thout too much da­mage,” he ad­mits.

Be­fore ani­ma­ting the most pres­ti­gious Parisian store win­dows, Jean-Claude De­hix pre­sen­ted shows with his fa­ther, who taught him eve­ry­thing, then with his wife, skim­ming all the mu­sic halls of Pa­ris at the time when he ope­ned for Georges Bras­sens, Ju­liette Gré­co, and even Gil­bert Bé­caud. In­dus­trial de­si­gn school and a world tour la­ter, Prin­temps contac­ted him to “wake up” its win­dows, with Ro­bin Hood as the first project. Its suc­cess led to Ga­le­ries La­fayette, Le Bon Mar­ché, and Sa­ma­ri­taine. “They first tried wor­king with tech­ni­cians, but mo­ving the strings is an art. So they all en­ded up cal­ling me!” he re­calls with a smile. What a puppeteer wants doesn’t just hap­pen. To­day he works with his daugh­ter and son, trans­mit­ting the ropes. Rule num­ber one, ne­ver re­veal what is hap­pe­ning next in the win­dows of a com­pe­ti­tor. Rule num­ber two, strict­ly adhere to the cus­to­mer’s re­qui­re­ments. And with his near­ly for­ty-year ca­reer, Jean-Claude De­hix knows what he’s talking about.


Te Ch­rist­mas ani­ma­tions are a long pro­cess: they are hard­ly re­mo­ved in Ja­nua­ry be­fore the work on the plans for the next year be­gins. Te store chooses the theme in Fe­brua­ry, con­sul­ting as to its tech­ni­cal fea­si­bi­li­ty with the puppeteer. Once the green light is gi­ven, the puppeteer ac­quires new ma­te­rial, gua­ran­teeing qua­li­ty, cal­cu­la­ting each pup­pets weight, then the height of the strings, and pro­gram­ming the mo­tors that have re­pla­ced hands. He is al­so in­vol­ved in de­si­gning the sets, crea­ted by a spe­cial team. Al­though eve­ry­thing is re­gu­la­ted like clo­ck­work, no one is ever im­mune to en­gine fai­lure. Tat is why Jean-Claude De­hix makes dai­ly rounds frst thing each mor­ning du­ring the event. A way of en­joying the show, too, and seeing the reac­tions of pas­sers­by: “Each per­son looks at the win­dows in their own way,” he says. “A child and his mo­ther ra­re­ly stand up to look at the me­cha­nisms, while the fa­ther will do so more willin­gly,” he adds. Rule num­ber three? Sur­prise. Innovate with an unex­pec­ted

It took all the skill of puppeteer Claude De­hix and al­most a year of work for Bur­ber­ry’s lit­tle he­ro, wea­ring the fa­mous trench coat, to “tra­vel” from Lon­don to Pa­ris, and for the ma­gi­cal world of Bur­ber­ry to light up the win­dows of Prin­temps Hauss­mann.

ges­ture, a gran­diose set­ting, as was the case for the swim­ming pool win­dow where Bar­bie dolls di­ved in: a feat twen­ty years ago. Tis year, when eve­ry­thing is di­gi­tal, vi­si­tors will be able to con­trol cer­tain ele­ments via a smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tion. “Bur­ber­ry is an ex­tre­me­ly in­no­va­tive house and a pio­neer in using tech­no­lo­gy,” Franck Ban­chet notes. “Tis col­la­bo­ra­tion has al­lo­wed us to go places we’d ne­ver tried be­fore: brin­ging the pu­blic in­side our win­dows.” In ad­di­tion to the chance to be pho­to­gra­phed through a sys­tem of hid­den cameras, vie­wers will be able to con­trol some of the set’s ele­ments, til­ting um­brel­las, chan­ging wind speed, or even crea­ting a storm. All com­ple­te­ly new!


Bur­ber­ry goes beyond the win­dow frame, mo­ving in­side the store with an ex­clu­sive cap­sule col­lec­tion for Prin­temps. Made up of rea­dy-to-wear (trench coats, pants, T-shirts, etc.), ac­ces­so­ries (hand­bags, wal­lets, scarves, shoes, etc.), and col­lec­tibles (in­clu­ding candles, watches, and ted­dy bears) it echoes the sump­tuous win­dows, which once held just simple toys. Be­cause al­though main­ly to fre dreams, they al­so need to en­tice pas­sers­by to en­ter the store, to buy rea­dy-to-wear and ac­ces­so­ries for Ch­rist­mas. “Lis­ted as one of the word’s top luxu­ry shop­ping des­ti­na­tions, Pa­ris is a ve­ry im­por­tant mar­ket for us,” says An­drew Maag, Bur­ber­ry’s CEO of Eu­rope, the Middle East, In­dia, and the Ame­ri­cas. “Prin­temps’s Ch­rist­mas win­dows are fa­mous all over the world, which makes ce­le­bra­ting the fes­tive sea­son on Bou­le­vard Hauss­mann even more ex­ci­ting.” It is a party that ends once the cur­tain is drawn in mid-Ja­nua­ry, fni­shing the street theatre dream … un­til the next year.


When Lon­don ar­rives in Pa­ris: Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 6, the “Ma­gic Voyage” of the En­glish brand lit up the win­dows of Prin­temps Hauss­mann, ac­com­pa­nied by glam rock am­bas­sa­dors Ca­ra De­le­vingne and Kate Moss, pic­tu­red here with Prin­temps CEO, Pao­lo De Ce­sare.

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