Mark Briggs, Store image director.
“From idea to execution, I’m involved in several projects at Harrods. First of all I decide on a creative theme that has to work both aesthetically and commercially while also being attractive to our luxury brands. As soon as the idea and theme get an allclear I start working with my logistics team. I’d say Bergdorf Goodman have the best windows in the industry, their work is incredibly inspiring. My favourite Harrods project so far is the Christmas decoration we did in collaboration with Disney. It allowed us to blend Disney’s themes like fantasy, nostalgia and entertainment with the themes Harrods represent, i.e. luxury and fashion. From Oscar de la Renta to Versace, we invited iconic designers to interpret and create their own versions of Disney princess dresses, and the result was... well, magical. If the windows aren’t tempting enough, we’ve wasted an opportunity. A shop window is a free advertising space and a high standard has to be maintained throughout. That applies both to ideas and execution.”
Small children are picked up and placed on their parents’ shoulders for a better glimpse, stressed urbanites stop to have a look during their lunch break and the relaxed weekend shoppers admire them at their leisure. Combining commerce and art, the department stores window displays are there to remind us of another universe and existence, far away from our everyday lives. From awe-inspiring drama to detailed perfectionism, window displays have been enticing curious shoppers since the beginning of the 20th century and continues to do so today with the help of digital tools. While at first glance it may seem to be a simple case of lining up a selection of brand’s products behind a glass plate, the reality of visual merchandising involves some carefully thought out techniques. Projecting a message to passers-by, the window display is the first impression potential customers will have of the retailer: it is they key opportunity to not only grab their attention, but to also encourage them to step inside. In ensuring they have the best window displays in town, the prestigious department stores have put in place a creative team, led by either the Store Image Director or the Creative Ambassador. Inspired by theatrical illusions and scene constructions, the 1930s’ department stores initiated the movement away from electric lightning and styled mannequins to perfected stages designed to bring out alluring atmospheres to be admired by passers-by. The 1940s saw the introduction of storytelling by Gene Moore’s famous
“MERCHANDISING IS SHOW BUSINESS – IT’S THE ART OF STORY TELLING.”
Harrods, Wizard of Oz, 2009.