Best in Visual

VM+SD honors three retailers with Visual Excellence awards
Posted December 21, 2006

VM+SD has inaugurated a new annual award, for Excellence in Visual Merchandising and Design in New York. The 2006 winners – Chanel, Oilily and Anthropologie -- were announced earlier this month at the PAVE gala during StoreXpo.

Presenting the awards, at the Essex House Hotel, were VM+SD editor Steve Kaufman and the magazine’s new New York editor, Eric Feigenbaum.

Criteria for the award were:

• The visual merchandising that best projects the brand image.

• The visual merchandising that best presents the merchandise.

• The retailer who dares to be different.

• The visual merchandising that is cool, timeless and contemporary.

• The retailer who best couples the nuances of great store design and the magic of visual merchandising.

• All of the above

Here’s what the judges had to say about this year’s winners:

Chanel, on East 57th Street: They dared to be different, though ironically in a traditional way. Unlike those at other luxury boutiques, the Chanel customer is immediately engaged by 40 realistic mannequins – not one too many, not one too few. It is a beautiful marriage of Chanel elegance and Rootstein attitude. The luxury retailer takes advantage of sight lines and vistas to lead the customer around the store through the wonder of visual merchandising.


Oilily, in SoHo: The store simply makes one smile. It maintains the integrity of SoHo’s rich architectural heritage while defining an image that is this retailer’s and this retailer’s alone. Oilily charms the shopper with warmth and wit, displaying a point of view and experience that mixes reality with fantasy. Its unique visual approach demonstrates an understanding of the customer and communicates to that customer in a manner in which she can relate.

Anthropologie, in Rockefeller Center: A visual delight, incorporating eclectic charm and use of theater, drama and pizzazz – good old-fashioned visual merchandising to define the brand. Every turn leads the shopper to a new experience. It is a journey in discovery. The visual presentations are unique and effective, clearly adding emotion and warmth to the selling equation. In the words of a student at the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising who selected Anthropologie for this award, “It is inspiring, warm and inviting. A beautiful place to be.”

Photography: Richard Cadan, Brooklyn, N.Y.