Only recently I started to pay more attention to the Dublin’s architecture and the facades of the buildings even though I have been living here for many years now. It is hard to keep the head up when walking through Dublin’s streets as they are very active and busy most of the time. When in town we all have to pay more attention to what’s in front of us rather than what’s above us.
EVOLUTION OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING THROUGH THE HISTORY OF EUROPE AND AMERICA
THE FIRST AWARENESS OF SOPHISTICATED MARKETING TECHNIQUES, 1780
Soho, London, 1883
LE BON MARCHE, PARIS, 1838
THE ARRIVAL OF DEPARTMENT STORES
TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS DEPARTMENT STORES TO USE PLATE GLASS WINDOWS, MACY'S, NY, 1862
EUGENE ATGET DOCUMENTS PARISIAN WINDOWS LATER INSPIRATION FOR SURREALIST ARTISTS
The customer is always right
HARRY GORDON SELFRIDGE BRINGS RADICAL CHANGES TO THE MARKETING TECHNIQUES IN THE STORES, 1890
High Street, England, 1895
Selfridges Store, 1909
REVOLUTIONARY METHODS OF DISPLAY AND MARKETING
Selfridge Store, London, 1909
SELFRIDGE MARKETING METHODS ARE SPREAD ACROSS EUROPE
Pierre Imans, 1920's
LEADING MANNEQUINS MANUFACTURE
1920's wedding dresses display
WERTHEIM DEPARTMENT STORE
WASHINGTON D.C. 1928
WINDOW DISPLAY FOR ATWATER KENT RADIOS
MODERNISM MOVEMENT ARRIVED IN AMERICA, SAKS STORE, NY, 1929
HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR INFLUENCED WINDOW DISPLAY, 1920-1930's
ELECTRICITY ALLOWED TO LIGHT UP WINDOWS AT NIGHT TIME
BONWIT TELLER COMMISSIONED SALVADOR DALI TO PRODUCE SERIES OF WINDOW DISPLAY, 1936
SALVADOR DALI WINDOW DESIGN, BONWIT TELLER, 1936
Berlin, Germany, 1933
WWII - EUROPE IN CHAOS
1950's Desirable Life Style
FUTURE HOMEMAKERS, STYLE EQUALS FUNCTION
New York, 1950's
AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN CREATES MASS CONSUMPTION
ANDY WARHOL BRINGS FRESH IDEAS TO WINDOW DISPLAY, BONWIT TELLER, NY, 1961
ARTIST JASPER JOHN'S WORKS AS WINDOW DRESSER, BONWIT TELLER, NY
NEW CONCEPT - LIVE MODELS IN WINDOW DISPLAYS, 1970's
Biba Store, London, 1973
POSTMODERNISM, WINDOW DISPLAYS INFLUENCED BY ELECTRONICS
Aishti Christmas window
Images linked to the original source click to find out more
The most creative period in the history of Visual Merchandising seems to be the early 20th century until the 1960’s in America, in Europe until the 1940’s. WWII created so much chaos there was no room for creative ideas.
The time when the skill of window design was at its lowest creative point happened between 1970’s-1990’s which is odd considering it was a very creative period in music, fashion and cinematography.
Technology had an impact from the early stages, at first, it was plate glass window then electricity, then air conditioning. Today internet stimulates the shopping experience and it is the greatest competition for the traditional form of retail. Early 2000 is the start of e.commerce. The competition forced many retailers to be very creative – again!
In my opinion, high street retail stores have not changed much since Mr Selfridge revolution. There has been nothing new added to make the experience more pleasurable or even adventures. Stores look the same, not even across the street but across the globe. No personality just globalised pure business in the same dated uniform.
Even though I write about Visual Merchandising I personally do not really like traditional shopping (except Flea Markets) I find it a tiring and stressful experience. My reasons: some stores are just too big, there is too much to choose from (yes, that can be a problem), I do not like noise in general so I do not enjoy the loud music played. I have to walk up the stairs (when there is no escalator or lift) but I’m already walking through the streets from one store to another, so please do not make me walk even more. I’m tired I want to rest on a nice soft couch that is not here!
Well, I am big time e.commerce because I can shop online in the middle of the night in my pyjamas, I can drink a coffee while browsing, I do not have to rush to make a decision, I do not have to queue or move around disoriented shoppers. I can read the customer review or search through categories all that while listening to my favourite music.
It will be interesting to see how the traditional retailers and e.commerce will evolve in the future. Both still have plenty to work on as online shopping is very practical it does lack the creative side. There is no big window display where a potential customer could go… ‘Ah Cool’!
Additional note: While doing my research I have noticed how much better the images were archived up till the 1960’s. Most of the images from that period have a date and place provided. Between 1960’s up till 2000 was hard to find well-archived images. It does get better after 2000 … A lesson learned – I will try to organise my images better too.
The exhibition originated from the project Futurotextiles and was dedicated to innovative fabrics. It is a French contribution to the Expo Milan 2015 a global event which was themed Feed the Planet, Energy for Life.
Textifood exhibition offers the opportunity to discover the world of textiles and its future with its incredible diversity, sustainability, and potentials. Orange, lemon, pineapple, banana, coconut, nettle, coffee, rice, soy, corn, beet, flax, lotus, algae, mushrooms, wines, beers, shellfish … all at the service of fashion!
Could it mean that in the future there will be no synthetic fabrics? such as polyester, acrylic, nylon, acetate, spandex, lastex all massively sold by high street stores. The sources of toxins which affect our health and the health of the planet – all produced with chemicals. I do hope we keep making general progress by taking care of ourselves and nature.
Bananas have already been used in Japan in 13th-century to make a fabric similar to cotton. In 2014 banana silk fibre came to the general public with a dress made entirely of dried banana leaves creation of Ditta Sandico.
Nettle has been used by the Germans to produced their uniforms during The WWII as the textile trade at the time was mainly run in England. Nettle is one of the most sustainable material as it does not need fertilizer and it needs very little amount of water.
Citrus fibre is the first fibre made of citrus fruit, silky in appearance and biodegradable.
Fermented alcohol. There is also a new fabric created fromthe fermentationofalcoholic beverages. Thefabric is red for the red wine, translucent to white andamber colour for beer.
Coffee is used by S.Café® company which does not only recycles coffee grounds for fabric but also extracts a high concentration of essential coffee oil which is re-used in textiles and also can be used in cosmetics. The brand claims that one day there will be no waste made out of coffee.
Fashion designers have been experimenting with other organic sources to produce clothing. Suzanne Lee was inspired to design from bacteria which grows on Kombucha a healthy drink, a mixture of bacteria and yeast, originated in China in 220 BC. In 90s Kombucha started to sold commercially in Europe and the US. I do remember buying it in Dunnes Stores and Tesco here in Ireland, but unfortunately, due to low demands, the product did not last more than a few years on the shelves.
Few weeks before Christmas this year I have been checking Christmas markets here in Dublin. What I believe is one of the nicest activity before the festive period and then shortly after the sale period. Yes, sale – I know exactly where to buy porcelain candle holder.
Of course one of the nicest parts of this time of the year is the preparation for Christmas. We all would love to see snowflakes falling down slowly out the window while our Christmas tree blinks with lights and decorations.
Then later on one of the saddest moment of the post-Christmas time is the image of what it used to be a beautiful Christmas tree, now is just a half dry bits of wood thrown out at the front garden waiting to be collected – hopefully with the organic waste. Even though the trees are planted especially for the purpose I use to think it is really unfair on our planet. Some sellers sell the trees planted in pots, the tree stays fresh and when done with Christmas we can plant it into our garden. My friend back in Poland does it every year, she has a personal miniature forest in her garden now. They could also be planted into the wild, what nature gave should receive back.
But there is nothing worst then a very toxic plastic Christmas tree. The toxins disable me to speak when I had to unwrap and fold good few of them. So, my guess would be it ain’t good for asthmatics.
There is plenty of alternative Christmas tree decorations to explore, handmade natural gifts of nature. They last a lifetime and when their life is over they will not do any damage to any living creature. Why not focus on those?
Driftwood Decs sells beautiful Christmas trees made from driftwood in Wicklow town and in Dublin flea markets where I met the maker and designer Tom – to find out more click on the link which will bring you to Tom’s Facebook page.
LET’S TRY NOT TO ADD MORE WASTE DURING THIS CHRISTMAS
Early Sunday morning is the best time to take a stroll on Grafton Street and appreciate window displays on one of the busiest shopping streets in Dublin city.
December this year as many others years previously is very mild, our garments are just a little bit warmer than those in the very early spring. It is well noticeable in the Christmas window displays where mannequins are styled quite light too.
Christmas window display on Grafton Street, Dublin 2016
The Christmas theme is displayed in the windows but not so much of the winter itself except maybe Brown Thomas. The theme of their windows this year is based on an old-school Christmas card, all kept very kept to the roots of festive tradition. When I saw it first my first connection was made to Russian fairy tales …
M&S is boosting with red colour and plenty of good quality looking gifts stock around female mannequin the position of her arms suggest she expects to receive even more presents.
Personally, my favourite once is Massimo Dutti windows. The suggestion that those are Chrismas windows is very settled. The props are very minimalistic, well composed, all products are well exposed and visible to the public. It is the warm light coming from the suspended lamps that suggest it is the time of the year when we want to keep warm when we want to party when we want to be stylish despite long and dark winter’s evenings.
A few minutes away from Grafton Street – Dunnes Stores on Dame Street has as always perfectly styled windows. Same as in Massimo Duttiall the merchandising products are visible even though the windows are quite busy or busier than normally – the products look very tempting to buy, to have, to own. The construction of the display is very harmonious. All three windows are kept in the same colour scheme what creates a perfect balance. To me, windows in this particular store are always more of an art installation. Perfecto!
One day in late 1914 what was intended as an important Antarctic expedition went terribly wrong. Anglo-Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton took on the board of Endurance 28 men heading towards Antarctica. Close to the shore, the ship got trapped in the ice and keel over 30 degrees. Attempts to rescue the ship into the free water failed after few days Endurance sunk. The crew was left with no hope of being rescued. The decision was made to try to reach Elephant Island, the more stable land. The rough journey on the boat through the ocean took seven days in -20 degrees.
The harsh land was still miles away from civilisation and any hope of help. To rescue his crew Shackleton decided to take a journey on his own to South Georgia an island further south. The rough long journey through the glaciers and mountains had to be made on foot. It paid off, he found long needed help. As soon as possible he sailed back in search of his crew. After three months of sailing and four different attempts to reach the shore, he finally got reunited with his men.
Endurance Book Display by Aleksandra Walkowska, 2014
I kept this set quite simple in my Christmas bestseller book display as I wanted to create the feeling of extreme cold and isolation. Before reading the book, one could imagine the feeling of … what would it be like to be trapped in this place?
The props were built mainly with cardboard and paper, except the floor, which is a bubble wrap foil, turned upside down made an impression of a frozen water. I used a similar technique making the iceberg and the ship. Designing my own version of the book cover (with the male figures) helped me to create an impression, that part of the Shackleton crew just left the sinking ship. Nothing is kept in proportion to each other, the props have more of a symbolic meaning. I was lucky to partly recreate the display in MRCB Paints & Papersstore in Dublin 8.