Selfridges – Future Fantasy Christmas

The theme, “Future Fantasy – A Christmas For Modern Times”, is seen across the Selfridges stores including London, Birmingham, Manchester and online.

The London store display took a multi-specialist team over 500 hours to produce with over 100 people putting together the windows, working non-stop rotating shifts for 10 days.

Each window at its Oxford Street, London store is either an symbolic representation of a well-known fairytale, such as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and Rapunzel, or features one particular iconic element from one of them, showcasing a “futuristic aesthetic treatment and a softer magical narrative.

Selfridges London’s biggest triple-sided window at the corner of Oxford Street and Orchard Street features a magical shipwrecked feast amongst the waves, with giant magical moon and moving boat and oars, reimagining the boat scene from The Owl and The Pussycat.

A giant 1.5 tonne, 42ft-high mirrored Christmas tree hangs in the Oxford Street store’s central atrium – projecting light across the store. Inside the store you’ll find a 1.5tonne, 13metre high mirrored Christmas Tree, which hands in the Oxford Street store’s central atrium. It comes alive through a dazzling light show projected on its surface.

The Foodhall have a sumptuous array of Christmas food goodies on offer.  The Christmas concept continues in the Foodhall with an abundance of dressed garlands using silver and gold baubles. I feel that the green garlands and gold baubles are not in keeping with the modern concept.

Lit garlands showcase each window on the exterior of the store, but can you imagine how spectacular these would have been if they were dressed with blue and silver baubles.

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Harvey Nichols turns Scandinavian.

Christmas 2019 at Harvey Nichols, this iconic Knightsbridge department store, turns to Scandinavia for inspiration. Animations of the Northern Lights have been projected onto its façade presenting what inhouse designers hope will be a “photo-worthy moment”.

The window displays themselves are equally Scandi-influenced. Mannequins sporting Harvey Nichols Christmas collection sit within cosy scenes with handcrafted cedar slat panels, draped with festive garlands, framing the windows like the Nordic night sky.

The idea behind the displays was to create a series of contrasts: light and shadow, cold and warmth and nostalgia and modernity. Harvey Nichols are noted for their superb window concepts and this is certainly true with this current scheme.

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Christmas at Fortnum & Mason

Cats take centre stage at Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas windows this year, which were recently unveiled.

The feline characters are dressed in the traditional Fortnum’s coats, in a nod to the artist Edward Bawden’s 1950’s Christmas illustrations.

The cats offer an insight into life behind the scenes at the world-famous department store and are shown in the 8 festive window displays, spread across the front windows that face onto Piccadilly.

Each window depicts the various stages of festive preparations from hampers, mince pies to creating Yule Logs.

The sides windows are sumptuously dressed showcasing the fine food and merchandise that the store is tempting Christmas shoppers with.

The interior of the store is just as impressive with its opulent Christmas trees, superb merchandise grouping in the various showcases on the staircases and the eye-catching atrium display. This is retail theatre at its best.

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Harrods – The Kingdom of Christmas

Each year department stores in London compete with each other with their festive window displays in an attempt to draw customers into their stores. The next few weekly blogs will feature Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and Liberty of London.

Harrods was founded in 1849 and has transformed itself into an emporium of magic under its theme for this year “The Kingdom of Christmas”

The concept was inspired by children’s writers such as Philip Pullman with the use of animals as figures of magic and escapism. With its series of wintry scenes and festival animals, each Brand helps deliver seasonal gifts.

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The New Louis Vuitton Store – London

French fashion house Louis Vuitton has reopened its London flagship on New Bond Street following many months of renovations to reveal a colourful retail destination housing the designer brand’s womenswear, menswear, accessories, and a selection of bespoke pieces exclusive to the store.

The new 17,500 square foot store at 17-20 New Bond Street is the transformation of combining two different buildings into one location. The instant airy feeling when customers step inside is highlighted by the double-height ceiling, a large skylight, and a sweeping double helix shape oak staircase.

The London flagship is much more than just a retail boutique, the fashion house explained that it has been designed to be a luxurious “travel destination”, with changeable gallery spaces, and artwork from 25 artists by the likes of Campana Brothers, Tracey Emin, Annie Morris and Sarah Crowner.

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Why not study Visual Merchandising?

After several years working in retail in my early 20’s, I had a complete career change and studied The British Display Society Visual Merchandising course. It was definitely time for a career change.

This was the start to a successful and varied career. My first role as a VM Junior at the World’s most famous department store Harrods, otherwise known as the Corner shop in Knightsbridge. I spent many happy years at the store rising to VM Manager. After Harrods, I worked at Selfridges in Oxford Street as VM Manager for a number of years.

Fast forward 20 years and I now run my own Visual Merchandising business – Creative Download. During this time, I have worked on some amazing freelance projects in New York, Shanghai, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Singapore.   I had no idea that career change and studying The British Display Society Visual Merchandising Course would open up so many opportunities.

I certainly didn’t think I would end up being the Chairman of The British Display Society.

So, if you are considering a change of career then why not sign up and study Visual Merchandising with the BDS On-Line Course. The course is £490 which is payable either up-front or payments can be made over 10 months at £49.00. On successful completion of the course you will be awarded a Certificate accredited by the BDS. This will be a valuable addition to your CV whether you are already working in the industry, looking for an extra qualification, or keen to obtain a position in VM for the first time.

In addition to the On-Line VM Course, the BDS can create bespoke VM Courses for retailers and other organisations. This is a great way for us to train you staff in a classroom setting. Do enquire with us.

If you already work in the Visual Merchandising industry, then do join the BDS as a Member. It is a great way to network with other Visual Merchandisers and support the industry. There is also the opportunity to showcase your work on our Social Media sites and in our quarterly VM Spotlight magazine. Although we are UK based, our members are world-wide.

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Putting The Star On The Tree

John Lewis has opened their Christmas Shop at the flagship store on Oxford Street in central London.

There are seven key trends this year with plenty of decorations to match. The ranges include: Camp Fire, Party, Garden Retreat, ABC through to The Traditions and Sanctuary.

From baubles and garlands to tinsel and twinkling lights, plus a forest of Christmas Trees of different shapes and sizes. You’ll find everything you need to deck out your home this festive season.

Within the Christmas Shop you will find sumptuous food delights, including lots of panettone to that all-important drink to cheer the festive period with family and friends.

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The new Marks & Spencer.

A brand-new branch of Marks & Spencer has opened in Clapham Junction, SW1. This new concept and in-store theatre is vital for the M&S revival and showcases the store’s full range, and includes larger fresh displays, a new bakery and more plastic-free produce.

Customers will find a range of fresh herbs growing in vertical farming units, which includes Italian, Greek and Bordeaux Basils, Mint, Curly Parsley and Mountain Coriander.

They have replaced the old-style counters with great fixtures including M&S wooden tea chests and clear and concise signage.

The abundance of ideas and produce together with the look and feel is reminiscent of a New York grocery store.

Among the artistic touches include a pizza oven, together with a wine and a coffee sampling station.

There are four different types of trolley, and three different types of basket, including a beautiful wicker number that would not look out of place on the arm of an Instagram influencer who wants to let their followers know that yes, they are normal supermarket!

Definitely a must visit for your groceries!

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The British Display Society Network Event

The British Display Society Network/Social Event was held on Monday 30th September at The London College of Fashion.

The evening was a huge success and well supported by VM Students, VM Professionals and Corporate Members, with lots of networking and career opportunities.

It’s rather like the phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know

A huge thanks to our Guest Speakers, Karl McKeever, Paul Symes and Kerry Meakin, for the superb presentations.

Karl and Paul were awarded “Fellow of The British Display Society” for their work and continued support in the VM Industry which spans many years.

It was great to see the VM tutors and students from our colleges in Ware (Herts Regional College) and Dublin School of Creative Arts, as well as the students from the London College of Fashion.

We also awarded The Hol Group with their Certificate in becoming Corporate Member and we will work closely with them to promote the VM industry.

Many people attending the event also signed up to become Members of The British Display Society.

Although we are based in the UK, our members are Worldwide, so if you work in the VM industry, then log onto our website, click on Membership and find the category that suits your experience and knowledge. Let’s keep VM rocking! Retail is in a tough place at the moment, so we need to stick together!

A huge thanks goes to The London College of Fashion for hosting the event which was a great venue.  For those in the industry who could not attend the event, there will be another event next year.

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Fortnum & Mason Christmas Shop

The Merriest Christmas begins!

In the heart of London’s Piccadilly Fortnum & Mason, this iconic department store, has opened its magical Christmas Shop.

Resplendent in all its glory, Christmas trees are stunningly dressed from the extensive range of sumptuous and opulent richly coloured baubles and other tree decorations, for every home.

Beautiful F&M tree decorations include miniature Royal Blend Tea caddies, Hot Air Balloon, a teapot and not forgetting the famous F&M wicker hamper.

To cater for the tourist market, there is a range of London based plush decorations. No trip to London is complete without a visit to this quintessential English store.

With an array of festive goodies including Christmas Crackers, Advent Calendars, Cards & Gift-wrap, novelty stocking fillers and party games, the store has everything to create the perfect Christmas, with finishing touches to ensure any home come alive with festivity for a truly wonderful Christmas.

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