The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death is the inspiration for this display. I have chosen Hamlet as the character for my window display proposal.
Denim was once again the trending fabric of Spring/Summer 2016 and as a sustainable 100%, a cotton material has a long history and tradition which dates back to the 17th century. In styling the denim products, I wanted to design a display for male customers creating a contemporary look mixed with the presence of Shakespeare’s character and the versatility and long tradition of denim (black jeans) as a fashion material.
The display shows the character on a stylised stage, and we, the audience, watch the ‘dramatic’ moment when Hamlet contemplates death and suicide in his conversation with the excavated skull of Yorick. The style of the scene is contemporary, set in a monochromatic environment of the theatre stage, creating a Gothic and mysterious feel.
THE MAKING OF
Initially, I had a different idea for the window but some of the props were rejected during the process. The SketchUp software helped me to visualise the design in the Gallery Space.
The aim of this window display was to create a contemporary version of 1960’s style. My inspiration was a movie called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinnerby Stanley Kramer. It was originally written as a play what is quite noticeable while watching the movie, through the narrative, dialogs, and the set up feels like a stage too.
At the time American white middle class was not ready for the mixed race relationships or marriages. Black Afro-Americans only started the struggle to become equal with the white Americans.
It was really an influential film for me growing up. There were so few representations of black people living as fully dimensional in a white culture. — Dawn Porter, African American filmmaker
I concentrated on Christina character played by Katharine Hepburn and chosen her as the main character for my window display. I found her the most important figure in the drama, the peacemaker, she is the one who built the bridge of peace inside the moral conflict.
Intensive blue was the most trendy colour of A/W 2014/15 season. I was working with blue, white and black colours on the mannequin accessories, walls, and props. I tried to recreate Christina’s style with the hat, long coat, and the striped shirt.
The gel filter used on the light was warm blue, I wanted to create the winter atmosphere. Later on, the gel was taken off … the light was warmer and it worked well during my photo shooting.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
directed by Stanley Kramer
In this story, the invitation of a black man to a white family’s dinner table is challenging the family. In my window display, the suspended upside down wine glasses reflects the change of values and chaos caused in the family in this 60s movie.
The objective of this project was to create a window display with a found object, a material that could be up-cycled and revived. As we were not given much time in advance to keep our eyes open for an object that we could call a found object, most of us including me, went for an object that I would describe more as looked for rather than found.
So, I found 😛 few phone books in the cabinet in the hall where I live and I went to look for it 🙂 I always wanted to make a paper dress and there was a chance to do so!
I try to work with three colours. The phone book pages provided me with a ready solution and a colour scheme: yellow, black and white. I styled the mannequin in those colours and went for a deep grey for the back wall. Pure black I was told once is a flat colour and will make everything look flat too.
Old phone books (called Yellow Pages in Ireland) were the inspiration for this model’s accessories. I wanted to show a thrifty creative young woman, who used her imagination to make this outfit for herself, out of what was basically rubbish. A modern Cinderella with a pro-active attitude.
FOUND OBJECT WINDOW DISPLAY PROPOSAL WITH A PAPER SKIRT
THE MAKING PROCESS
On the first image, you can see a quite long skirt, I did not feel it was working and it was getting really heavy too. Despite the work I put into it I cut it off. It can be a hard decision to make but the creative process has a lot to do with walking back and forth, testing and checking what is and isn’t working.
For the ballerina skirt I was working once again with the rule of three. Prepared three different shapes made out of the pages. The back of the skirt is the most interesting as it is quite high up and looks like a bird tail.
It was my best display I got the highest mark for it and none criticism. I must admit till the day I was working on it I did not know how to finish it … the paper falling off the skirt and the crushed paper on the floor with the clips … that was something very spontaneous. At the time it felt good and it worked.
The objective of the summer window display was to reproduce a large painting and display it with a suitable merchandising product. I have chosen The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau a French post-impressionist.
For 26 years the painting was lying in somebody’s attic unappreciated. Today it is considered to be one of the XX century masterpieces displayed in Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Henri Rousseau described his painting:
A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lies with her jar beside her, overcome by fatigue in a deep sleep. A lion chances to pass by, picks up her scent yet does not devour her. There is a moonlight effect, very poetic.
Rousseau mixed different cultures, the gypsy is wearing an oriental costume, bedside her there is a mandolin, an Italian instrument. The lion hair is growing in an opposite direction, the face is more of a sheep face than a lion. It looks like a desert, yet there’s water behind them. No foot print of the gypsy. The mysterious painting arises a lot question to the viewer.
To me the painting of the Sleeping Gypsy is about dreaming, about the peaceful moments during our sleep when we feel very safe and cosy … in between the two worlds of wakefulness and sleep. I chose the bed linen as the product to emphasise the idea of shelter and protection. A place where nothing wrong will happen to us.
The composition of the painting is horizontal (triangle shape, the rule of 1/3 applied), what makes it very peaceful with the horizontal lines of the mountains and the water in the background. The stripes on the gipsy go horizontally, yet on the pillow, the same pattern is used vertically. There is a contrast between the danger (lion) and the peace (sleeping gipsy).
THE MAKING OFF
To reproduce the painting I had to follow a technique called grid drawing, which allows anyone to come up with a good scale drawing. The painting was created on the mdf board, which had to be covered with layers of PVA glue, otherwise, the board would absorb too much paint. The whole process of recreating the painting took me ten long days. I also made the mandolin out of a hardboard and the bed linen from the scratch, using college sawing machine. I recreated H.Rousseau signature on the red vase. More on the making off.
THE WINDOW DISPLAY WITH BED LINEN
The painting is suspended on the nylon thread. I used a blue filter on the lights to create the moonlight effect. I tried to recreate the layout and the composition of the painting using my merchandising products and props. The painting should be a little bit lower in order to create a unity with the rest of the display. Unfortunately, I was told to put it higher up …
It was one of the most time-consuming projects but very enjoyable to work on 🙂
I was meant to write about The Graduate Exhibition Show of Visual Merchandising course in DIT, Dublin … probably two months ago, shortly after it happened … nevertheless, it is here now. My apology for such a delay.
I must say there are probably only two maximum three displays I found interesting or well finished. There is no story behind most of them, there is no link between the hand made accessories and the merchandising products.
I hate to say it but there is not much intelligence behind them, those are just displays, basic marketing, not much creativity behind them. It seems the students had to rush to put the show together.
My favourite one is the one with the bathroom and the sea weeds splashed all around. There is a bit of a story in it but I am not sure where does it lead to …
I wish the student were allowed to think more like Brian Lambert the Visual Communication student further down in my post.
CLOSE-KNIT BY BRIAN LAMBERT
Well observed everyday life by Brian Lambert turned into a humorous documentary with a story to follow.
This concept could easily make an interesting window display as there are few intriging characters in it. The viewers could easly build up the rest of the story in their heads … if they wanted to. It is engaging and that is why it works so well.
I have the feeling Brian Lambert may have been one of those students that interpreted the brief his own way. By keeping detached from it he allowed himself to keep an open mind, therefore, the inspiration found him in the Starbucks Coffee and not the other way around.
Below images were taken in Dublin Botanic Garden in one of the Victorian greenhouses. The succulent plants made me think of the golden ratio, the mathematical formula that creates – everything!
THE RULE OF THIRDS
When I was studying design I was thought the number three is the ‘magic’ number. Use no more than three colours if you want to have well designed interior space (only if you are very creative introduce the 4th colour in very small doses). Use the maximum of 3 typefaces if you are working with typography and keep the same rule when it comes to texture and shape. If you follow the rule your work will look good if not very good.
The Golden Spiral is also based on that magic number. Working space is dived into 1/3 and then the smaller part of it once again is divided into 1/3 and so on so on till eternity. When you join the meeting points with a curvy line it creates the spiral effect.
Our eye is ‘lazy’ does not like to make an effort when reading and sending the information to our brain. Anything that is is well balanced mathematically is also very well designed.
The pattern of the spiral can be used for creating a really well-composed photograph.
GOLDEN RATIO LIFE BALANCE
ADOBE COLOR WHEEL&SCHEMES
There is an interesting website called Adobe Color. After creating an account you can upload an image and it will pick the most dominating colours out of an image. You can save the selection of colours into your library and share it with other users. The result will show five colours which work very well together, try to choose three out of the five for your project or an idea for further development.
I uploaded few images from the Dublin Botanic Garden to learn a little bit about colour’s combination designed by nature.
This should be my last post this year or maybe this season on gardens and plants. I have few other things I would like to write about but first I want to finish the series on gardens, just to close it … for a while at least.