Let’s Get Visual!

zeppelin“Imagination is the mother of originality,we encourage imagination in every way possible.”
Harry Gordon Selfridge

I am a HUGE fan of visual merchandising! One of the things I loved about our seasonal roll outs at Disney, was conceptualizing a theme and designing the displays. The ability to convey a message to our licensees by immersing them in the consumer experience took me back to my days as a set designer on films and an installation artist/curator. It was an opportunity to work with all five senses creating tactile environments that helped us get our design partners excited and on board with new properties and pitches. The proof of their effectiveness showed as our presence in the tween market boomed!

With competition fierce between boutiques, department stores, pop ups and such, there is so much visual pollution making it difficult to know what’s going to entice consumers. I did a little wander around London this week and these are  a few that stood out. Some for a particular color or imagery, some because of the out of the box thinking.


The two sets of photos above are from Selfridges’ Imaginarium campaign. Part of their Festival of Imagination, these windows are an outward example of Selfridges’ month long lineup of interactive workshops and lectures that ponder creativity and how it shapes our lives. Creative Brain workshops, 3-d printing demonstrations, exhibits of experimental architecture, talks on finding new ideas and so forth, challenge participants to tap into their own imagination and explore exciting possibilities within our reach. In particular, I look forward to attending the lecture on Biofashion which will demonstrate the growth of fabric from microbes!


Ordinary objects take on a new context when given a twist making you look at them differently yet still making sense. Loving the enormous platform heel made of pots and pans, a cheeky nod to the homemaker stereotype. The gargantuan proportion defies the idea of “the little woman” and the stainless steel transforms a simple pump into armor.


The Butchers Apron Radio Show broadcasts live from the corner window of Selfridges bringing listeners stories from Britain’s unheard voices as well as independent music you won’t hear anywhere else.


Even every day retailers can take risks using something as simple as color. The vivid yellow and black take on Valentine’s day is a bold and adventurous choice. It’s fresh and different compared to the traditional red and pink making it pop from other store fronts.


Not all creative visualization is limited to fashion and home. These purveyors of fine chocolate have created a unique way of displaying their sweets that plays up the beautiful, exotic nature of the cocoa. Organic and uniquely flavored, they don’t rely on fancy packaging but the intense primitive look of chocolate heaped in beautiful wooden vessels and immense slabs of white and dark chocolate stacked on natural, knotted wood fixtures, take on the appearance of having been mined.

Photo Feb 10, 2 38 01 PMPhoto Feb 10, 2 38 38 PMPhoto Feb 09, 10 17 24 AM

And despite the stereotypical association of tea, London is flooded with artisanal coffee shops and schools dedicated to educating amateur baristas. With dense, creamy chocolates flavored with chili, cardamom, cognac, etc., a dark, rich brew is the perfect pairing with such beautiful flavors!