HISTORY AND THE EVOLUTION OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING

EVOLUTION OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING THROUGH THE HISTORY OF EUROPE AND AMERICA

  • THE FIRST AWARENESS OF SOPHISTICATED MARKETING TECHNIQUES, 1780
  • VICTORIAN STORE
  • Kansas, 1872
    Kansas, 1872
  • Soho, London, 1883
    Soho, London, 1883
  • LE BON MARCHE, PARIS, 1838
    LE BON MARCHE, PARIS, 1838
    THE ARRIVAL OF DEPARTMENT STORES
  • TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS DEPARTMENT STORES TO USE PLATE GLASS WINDOWS, MACY'S, NY, 1862
  • Paris, 1912
    Paris, 1912
    EUGENE ATGET DOCUMENTS PARISIAN WINDOWS LATER INSPIRATION FOR SURREALIST ARTISTS
  • Paris, 1912
    Paris, 1912
  • The customer is always right
    The customer is always right
    HARRY GORDON SELFRIDGE BRINGS RADICAL CHANGES TO THE MARKETING TECHNIQUES IN THE STORES, 1890
  • High Street, England, 1895
    High Street, England, 1895
  • Selfridges Store, 1909
    Selfridges Store, 1909
    REVOLUTIONARY METHODS OF DISPLAY AND MARKETING
  • Selfridge Store, London, 1909
    Selfridge Store, London, 1909
    SELFRIDGE MARKETING METHODS ARE SPREAD ACROSS EUROPE
  • Pierre Imans, 1920's
    Pierre Imans, 1920's
    LEADING MANNEQUINS MANUFACTURE
  • 1920's wedding dresses display
    1920's wedding dresses display
  • Berlin, 1925
    Berlin, 1925
    WERTHEIM DEPARTMENT STORE
  • WASHINGTON D.C. 1928
    WASHINGTON D.C. 1928
    WINDOW DISPLAY FOR ATWATER KENT RADIOS
  • MODERNISM MOVEMENT ARRIVED IN AMERICA, SAKS STORE, NY, 1929
    MODERNISM MOVEMENT ARRIVED IN AMERICA, SAKS STORE, NY, 1929
  • HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR INFLUENCED WINDOW DISPLAY,  1920-1930's
    HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR INFLUENCED WINDOW DISPLAY, 1920-1930's
  • 1930's
    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
    Berlin, Germany, 1933
    WWII - EUROPE IN CHAOS
  • 1950's Desirable Life Style
    1950's Desirable Life Style
    FUTURE HOMEMAKERS, STYLE EQUALS FUNCTION
  • New York, 1950's
    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
    Biba Store, London, 1973
  • 1980's Funk
    1980's Funk
    POSTMODERNISM, WINDOW DISPLAYS INFLUENCED BY ELECTRONICS
  • Late 1980's
    Late 1980's
  • Hermes, 1993
    Hermes, 1993
  • Hermes, 1995
    Hermes, 1995
  • Hermes, 1996
    Hermes, 1996
  • Hermes, 2002
    Hermes, 2002
  • Hermes, 2002
    Hermes, 2002
  • Hermes, 2002
    Hermes, 2002
  • Joseph Fashion
    Joseph Fashion
  • Aishti Christmas window
  • Ivy Moda
    Ivy Moda

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.

Perfumery section at Selfridges, 1909
The jewellery sections of Selfridges, 1909
The jewellery sections of Selfridges, 1909

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’!

Joseph Fashion Christmas window in collaboration with Harlequin-Design 

     

Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

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.

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