I have chosen three male characters from Shakespeare’s plays: Hamlet, King Lear and The Merchant of Venice. In styling the denim products, I wanted to create a display for male customers of M&S, creating a contemporary look mixed with the presence of Shakespeare’s characters and the versatility and long tradition of denim as a fashion material.
TRADITION OF DENIM FABRIC
Through my research, I found out some interesting facts about denim fabric. It has a long tradition goes back to as far as seventeen century. There is a dispute where did it originate from Italy or France?
The colour of denim wasn’t blue at the start and the Italian sailors in the city of Genoa where making trousers out of it for work in the harbours. The material was strong and sturdy. The French pronounce the word Genoa – Gênes, it may be the origin of the word jeans.
In France, in the city of Nîmes the French were trying to reproduce the jean but instead, they created similar fabric later on known as denim. From Nîmes as the French say de Nîmes – denim.
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.
During my Visual Communication course, I had to create a handmade book with illustrations for a chosen poem. It had to be an interactive book. I worked with a poem Warning by Jenny Joseph, an English poet. To me, the poem is about the passing of time, reflection on life, regrets and promises. There is a mystery of the narrator age. Is it an old lady looking back at her life? or is it a very mature young person making decisions about her life?
I built the book like an accordion, so the illustrations could fall from one to another creating a story. Covered it with Financial Times, which is printed on pink paper, the colour has faded away now …
I put seeds and leaves of a linden tree in the background of the illustrations with an idea of creating an impression of a circle of life in nature. From the seeds at the start of the poem towards the falling down leaves at the end of it. The narrator talks about wearing purple, I tried to place purple or pink in most of the pages, also used pink ribbon to wrap the book, as pink is considered very girly and youthful colour.
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people’s gardens And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.
The artist says she often finds an inspiration for her design during her walks in nature. She collects plants, sticks and any other unusual organic pieces that could, later on, turn into a jewellery.
It reminds me of prehistoric jewellery, found during archaeological excavations on an old settlement somewhere in the world … The combination of ancient tradition combined with today’s trends concerning anything that’s organic just works wonderfully! The Undergrowth Studio jewellery pieces also make me think of mythological societies, old and new civilisations. In the future, I believe we will understand how precious and inspiring nature is.
So far I have purchased two pairs of earrings that I am very happy with, to touch and to look at every so often, I return to the Undergrowth Studio for more another time!
‘EARLY SPRING’ WINDOW CONCEPT FEATURING LAMP AS A MERCHANDISING PRODUCT
Initially, I wanted to make the lamp with a white cotton, adding a bit of white feather here and there and paint the walls in a very fresh, sky blue colour. Unfortunately, I was directed a slightly different way, as the goal of the exercise was to work with a material without putting a pressure on it. Apparently, the white cotton was too easy and I had to work with something more challenging. The Pantone Colour of the S/S 2015 was Radiant Orchid, so the colour had to be used in my window.
There is the short time in the year when winter has not finished yet and spring has not started. The transition time when nature is dying and has yet to be reborn. This lamp window design references the cycle of life, with the idea that a lamp light is an important part of what makes a living space … like in a night garden.
THE MAKING PROCESS
The lamp is made out of textured wallpapers that are shaped into flower petals, swirling on the ground are encouraging new plants to show up and blossom. I was aware that the window at this stage looked a little bit dark for the spring season, the colours of the lamp reflect more on autumn and long dark evenings. It needed something uplifting, therefore I added the white swallow at the top left corner. All the symbols put together helped me to develop the story of a cycle of life in nature, with an idea, that everyday objects surrounding us can transform into something else as well.
All images are linked to original sources, click to find out more.