Euro-Stores: How Retailers Did Christmas on the Continent
Home Textiles Today Staff -- Home Textiles Today, 1/24/2011 4:32:50 AM
PARIS - Before all the "Soldes," "Verkauf" and plain old "Sale" signs go up in stores all over Europe in January, retailers throughout the continent put on their best faces to entice shoppers to part with their Euros for the holiday selling season.
Just as their American counterparts do, store windows and inside displays remain an all-important element in European retailers' merchandising plans. And while U.S. stores like Macy's, Barney's and Bloomingdale's are no laggards when it comes to holiday windows and in-store vignettes, European retailers like Selfridges, Galleries Lafayette and Le Bon Marche lend their own distinctly British and French flavor to the art.
With the help of Stylesight, the online fashion trend and forecasting service, Home Textiles Today surveyed a cross-section of European stores from the past 60 days with the highlights presented here.
While it is difficult to generalize, the store displays employ a somewhat broader touch of whimsy and often use scale to their advantage more so than U.S. stores. And as befits the season, they are heavy on color, particularly red: ‘Tis the season, after all.
"Holiday red got some fashion street cred as this season's must have color across all markets," said Oona McSweeney, vice president of retail and special markets for Stylesight. "Baroque references were a common theme, but many retailers took a clean, modern take on red with bold painted backdrops and minimal props."
One unexpected theme played off boxes and packages, a technique that can be copied at relatively low cost for retailers elsewhere. "Serving as a visual reminder for the masses to finish up their holiday shopping, many retailers turned to gift boxes and packages to fill their windows," said McSweeney. "Stacked, arranged or hanging boxes were wrapped in festive paper and bows, or left with logos visible."
There was also extensive use of mannequins, understandable when showing fashion apparel, but they also turned up to showcase other products, including home. At Printemps in Paris, "Scenes paired spectacularly clad mannequins in holiday looks ranging from the late Alexander McQueen to Valentino with elaborate holiday crystal and tableware," she said.
Galleries Lafayette, also in Paris, chose bold signs and wordage to get its holiday message across, particularly at its home store.
And what would Christmas displays be without the ubiquitous Christmas tree but leave it to the French to find a new angle... that angle being upside down, as in the display at Le Bon Marche in Paris.
Galleries Lafayette in Paris used giant letters and signs for its Maison home store windows, including this vignette featuring tabletop.
Liberty of London used ornaments, a common enough visual element, but filled up an entire window with them, adding in a frog for...well, we're not sure for what.
Galleries also used oversized lettering in its main store, employing teal, turquoise and gold, not typically associated with the holidays, to create a standout display.
Liberty mixed apparel and home into common displays, again making mannequins the centerpiece of the window.
Galleries suspended gift-wrapped boxes under its landmark art glass dome which would put even the sourest Grinch in the Christmas spirit.
Le Bon Marche in Paris figured the retail world is upside down, why shouldn't the symbol of the season be so as well. More room for presents, some kids might say.
Louis Vuitton used its signature luggage patterns as the basis for an overscaled window full of boxes and more boxes. Note the mannequins again.
Selfridges in London also chose fully wrapped boxes but set them against an oversized but decidedly truncated bed, an idea that begs to be used in home textiles store displays.
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