Mix together some bold hues, a dash of sparkle and a hint of mystery, and you’ll have the recipe for 2017’s holiday windows. Both domestic and international retailers stepped back from traditional, go-to holiday themes, focusing instead on bright colors, historic or cultural references, or wowing passersby with statement-making tableaus.
“In my opinion, the most exciting presentations use unexpected and unconventional elements that normally don’t say ‘holiday,’ ” says Christopher Laris, visual presentation manager, A.K. Rikks (Grand Rapids, Mich.). “Just by changing the color or finish, or adding a romantic storyline, it becomes a memorable window.”
A.K. Rikks’ windows celebrated the luxury retailer’s 30th anniversary, using subtle holiday themes and pared down cues, depicting a champagne-laden gathering as the center of attention.
In London, Holly Wadsworth, creative director, HWVisual (London), helped create De Beer’s (Johannesburg, South Africa) international holiday displays, which comprised to-scale miniature townhouses created entirely out of paper. Silhouettes of the inhabitants were visible in the windows of each abode, while 3-D props on their “unmistakably British” exteriors – like an adorably tiny park bench – helped support product.
“A lot of international brands are heading away from the ‘traditional Christmas’ windows of the past and embracing a more festive approach that is not necessarily linked to any religious festival or belief,” Wadsworth says. “They seem continuously bigger, better and brighter … ‘Excess’ and ‘opulence’ are still key words when it comes to holiday windows, with many department stores continuing to focus on animation to attract younger viewers and their parents.”
Macy’s (Cincinnati) windows facing Broadway in New York reflected on the moments of preparation that go into celebrating the holidays and the togetherness it brings, adding a New York twist.
“Some of our windows dealt with ice skating and spending time with your family, as you might prepare for the holiday season. One was focused on tree decorating, another about sightseeing,” says Roya Sullivan, national director, window presentation, Macy’s. “We brought the theme close to our hearts by depicting the scenes around New York and imagining what that would look like.”
Sullivan notes that Macy’s wasn’t the only retailer focusing on iconic New York imagery. “A couple of other stores dealt with celebrating the city of New York,” she says. “They approached it differently, but I thought that showed our great love for this amazing city. There’s just something about the holidays in New York City that’s very special.”
Similarly, Tiffany & Co. (New York) celebrated another New York-centric subject: the late and iconic Tiffany’s window dresser, Gene Moore. Using miniature articulated forms, reminiscent of those Moore used in his displays, the windows featured animated and static scenes to create a series of visual blue-box-hued settings.
“Holiday windows are an open invitation to enter a magical world that may depict fables, fantasies, a New York holiday or a majestic tree trimmed in jewels,” says Tiffany & Co.’s Richard Moore, vp, creative director – store design and creative visual merchandising.
No matter the season, retailers and designers should strive to remember the importance of windows and their big impact on consumers.
“A successful window should always seek to tell a story,” says Wadsworth. “The windows are the invitation, the store is the party.”
Stay tuned to vmsd.com throughout the month of February for more holiday window coverage.
A.K. Rikks, Grand Rapids, Mich.
“Cheers to You, 2017”
Window Design: Christopher Laris, Visual Manager
Photography: Brad Gillette, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Macy’s, New York
“The Perfect Gift Brings People Together”
Design: Roya Sullivan, National Director, Window Presentation
Design firm: Standard Transmission, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Photography: Kent Miller Photography, New York
De Beers, London/Worldwide
“Home for Christmas”
Design: Holly Wadsworth, Creative Director of HWVisual Ltd.; Steven Scorer, Visual Merchandising Manager
Project Managment, Production, Logistics: Sync Studio, U.K.
Photography: Kristen Pelou, Paris/Melvyn Vincent, London
Tiffany & Co., New York
Design: Richard Moore, Vice President, Creative Director of Store Design and Creative Visual Merchandising
Photography: Ricky Zehavi, New York
Harvey Nichols, London
Design: Janet Wardley, Head of Visual Display
Photography: Courtesy of Harvey Nichols, London
Bergdorf Goodman, New York
“To New York With Love”
Design: David Hoey, Senior Director, Visual Presentation
Fabrication: Burke and Pryde, New York
Photography: Ricky Zehavi, New York
Harney & Sons, New York
“The Sweetest Holiday”
Design: Polar Buranasatit, Studio Polarizer, New York
Photography: Pavel Denisenko, New York