Through The Looking Glass

August 21, 2015

Yesterday afternoon, as the rain came pouring down, Iole, Antimo and I took cover under Holt Renfrew’s large magenta awnings. Donald Robertson’s whimsical windows were a whack of high voltage colour on a grey day. Unless it’s a collaboration with a big name like Robertson, we rarely know the artists behind window displays. At Harvey Nichols, it’s Janet Wardley who spearheads the store’s wildly creative, head-turning displays. From magical fairy-tales and forests to circuses, air balloons and dinosaurs, standing on the south east corner of the Knightsbridge and Sloane Street always feels like a front row seat at the theatre. The windows at Bergdorf Goodman are equally sensational. I can’t visit New York without going to see what David Hoey has created for the season. The man’s a creative genius. “Opening a window is a bit like a premiere,” he told the Daily Beast. “We try to get people’s attention by putting on a show. You have to do all sorts of things to make a stream of pedestrians into an audience. It’s extremely ephemeral. It’s very of the moment.” Here in Toronto, there’s one window that never fails to stop me in my tracks. I’m not sure if Kalpna Patel is still behind all the displays at Type Books, but I’m a big fan of her eye-popping style. And as Wardley said in a Q & A for Retail Focus, you don’t need a large budget to create effective displays. “The budget at Harvey Nichols is surprisingly small and mostly we work with easily obtainable materials. It is the idea, the skills of the builders and dressers, and keeping true to the idea that makes a scheme work.”





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