I Do Windows

Visual Merchandising contest with students and ALU!

Posted in Discuss This Display, Inspiration, Nonpareil Windows by Arcadia on March 16, 2011

A selection of students from JAK Akademie for Fashion Design in Hamburg, are in a visual merchandising contest.  Students were asked to create 10 different window displays based on a theme they are given for that day.  They are working with merchandising fixtures provided by ALU.

ALU is an international company which manufactures retail fixtures like the Autopole, the Oyster, and the Ribbon (such creative names); plus a whole lot more!


What’s an Autopole? I remember back in 1992, when I was doing visuals for Macy’s, my boss came to me and said we are now going to be using these poles throughout the store for merchandise, as well as signage.  Autopoles are based on what photographers use.  An Autopole is an extremely lightweight vertical expansion system.  It only takes one person to assemble it!  It can offer you a 360° display range thanks to the “super clamps” or “Autopole Adapters” you can use.  I really loved how easy and accessible the Autopole made everything!

[Caution: I do not recommend the Autopole for pole dancing!]





The themes the students were given were:

  • Service
  • Denim Apparel
  • Cosmetics
  • Apparel
  • Electronics

Here are a few photos of the student’s window displays:

Give and Take

Shaped Stiff Jeans


Against Gravity

Cable Tangled, Cable Plants

How do you think they did?  You can click here to see the students actually working on their displays.

You can go online and vote for your favorite.  You have until March 31st:   http://www.facebook.com/ALUItaly

The winner will be awarded an internship with ALU.  I personally like Cable Tangled, Cable Plants.

Good luck to all!

Thank you Giulia C. for sending this in and for the images.

Juicy Couture’s bad window displays

Posted in Mall Field Trip Assignment, Retail News by Arcadia on March 10, 2011

Recently the class took a “field trip” to the Westfield Mall – San Francisco Centre, which is located right behind the campus.  They had a number of questions to answers regarding retailers and their displays.  As I’m sitting here correcting this assignment, I’m noticing a trend I’ve seen before.  This trend is so incessant with my students every semester, that I actually  feel compelled to write about it, in hopes that the retailer will get a clue and do something!

Juicy Couture has bad, dirty windows! When I say windows, of course I mean their displays.

Whenever I pose the question to my students to go out and find the retailer with the least inspiring, or least effective windows, no doubt, I will get a handful of responses that all mention Juicy Couture!!!

Some of the responses I get are:  “ill-planned”, “no wow factor”, “they looked dirty”, “not eye-catching”, “they need to put some thought into their displays”.  These are typically the usual responses I get for fast-fashion retailer, Forever 21, not what I would expect from the high-end, Juicy Couture brand.

As much as it pains me to admit this, I have to agree with my students.  Whenever I walk by the Juicy windows here at the SF Centre I do think, “Gosh they look dirty”.  Since they are storefront windows on the street and not “in the mall”, I don’t know if this is the responsibility of the retailer or the mall management.

I will also give Juicy the benefit of the doubt and assume maybe these ugly windows are just a San Francisco problem and not an issue with their other stores.  Let’s hope!

I know Juicy is capable of some really over-stylized, über glamorous windows.  It’s what the company was founded on; so don’t get me wrong, I still adore the brand, but Juicy has lost a little of its cache since Pamela and Gela sold it to Liz Claiborne.  I do see on their website they are looking for a Visual Manager (look under Store Design), perhaps this explains everything!  Hey Juicy give me a call if you need help, I can’t work full-time as I already run my own firm, but I would love to help you make those windows more fun – which is what Juicy is supposed to be about!

Barney’s Visual Manager to speak to class on May 7, 2011

Posted in Fashion 49 by Arcadia on March 4, 2011

Hi Class,

I’m very happy to report that Ken Ferraris, Visual Manager at Barney’s New York (here in San Francisco) will be our guest speaker on May 7, 2011.

Ken graciously comes every year to speak to the class and share all his amazing knowledge of our industry.  For those of you who always ask me in class, “how to prepare for a job interview?”, or “what skills does a manager look for?” – here’s your perfect chance to ask a manager of one of fashion’s most iconic stores.  Let’s face it – if there is one thing Barney’s is known for, it’s their windows!

[If you are not a student in my class but would like to attend please send me an email or leave a message in the comment section.]

(image via: Our Hero)

A tasty display to replicate if you don’t eat it all first!

Posted in Inspiration by Arcadia on March 3, 2011

I found this on Martha Stewart.com, you can also find this photo and the recipes in the March 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

This is deliciously gorgeous!

When food is artfully arranged like this it really entices people to indulge.

Trend Areas: Ballet

Posted in Trend Areas by Arcadia on March 3, 2011

Recently we spoke about trend areas in class and what they are in relation to the store.

A trend area is an in-store area that highlights what is popular at the moment.  They are more elaborate than just your typical interior display because you hope the customer will be inspired enough to actually shop from this mini-shop that you’ve created.  I’m sure last month you saw all the trend areas in stores featuring “Valentine’s Day” items, and no doubt “Easter” and “Springtime” are starting to pop-up.

Another trend area I’m starting to see every where is focused around the theme of The Ballet.  I’m sure the popularity of the movie Black Swan has been the biggest influence.

When you create your trend area remember to place more emphasis on the product and not so much on the props.  Of course you want a pleasing display to give the customer some ideas on the merchandise, but remember you are creating a mini-shop that has all the products right there to make it easier for the customer.

Sticking with the current trend, The Ballet: some retailers have pulled together, soft pink cashmere sweaters – that wrap around, ballet flats, floaty skirts, tights, skirts with feathers, tulle petticoats, anything that evokes the feeling of the ballet.  Your display could feature a mannequin in an actual ballet costume or you could use tutus in an inventive way, an opera chair with pointe shoes dangling from the chair’s back, with a large bouquet of red roses strewn across able (the prima ballerina always gets flowers at the end of her performance!).

I found this photo a month ago on Vogue.co.UK. The store is actually Benetton!

This is the actual costume worn by Natalie Portman in the movie Black Swan.  It was on display at Arclight Hollywood.

Have fun with your ballet shops and don’t worry too much about getting it right because “Everything is beautiful at the ballet” (Song from Broadway’s – A Chorus Line)

(images via: Vogue.co.uk and Hollywood Movie Costumes)

Repetto’s Interactive Window Display

Posted in Nonpareil Windows by Arcadia on March 3, 2011

While “window shopping” through some of my favorite blogs, I came across this on Haute*Design: Window Displays are going interactive!

Open it and take a look – it’s simply stunning!

An Education: Movie Inspiration for Group Project

Posted in Class Group Projects, Discuss This Display, Inspiration by Arcadia on March 2, 2011

The class has begun to settle into their groups and begin brainstorming on their group projects, as mentioned here.  The themes for the visual displays they will be creating are:

  • Movie
  • Music
  • “Green” (as in the environment)
  • Fashion Designer
  • Holiday

I’ve decided to play along with my class and come up with my own inspiration for a project.  Feel free to play along too, whether you are in my class or not and post your ideas in the comments section.

If I were to do a window or interior display based on a movie, I think the one I would choose right now would be “An Education” I found that movie to be incredibly chic!

I don’t know why, but I have a feeling most of my students might choose the favorites such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Marie Antoinette, The Devil Wears Prada, etc….they are good movies but too obvious.  Heck An Education isn’t an original idea, but I think it’s less obvious choice than those mentioned above.  I would really love to see my students go far out and choose something totally off the radar!

What movie would you choose for your display inspiration, and what product would you be highlighting?



Galliano is Gone!

Posted in Just Genius by Arcadia on March 2, 2011

I have to admit I’m a little shocked that Dior actually went ahead and fired him!!!  If you don’t know what I’m talking about click here, the bad boy of fashion John Galliano has been ousted from Christian Dior.

I don’t want to debate whether he deserved it or not, as I personally think the things he said are disgusting, racism in ANY form makes me sick to my stomach.  What surprises me is that for once Fashion finally took a stand.  Fashion is the one industry that tends to turn a blind eye to some pretty offensive things and likes to use the excuse “oh it’s just fashion”, “we’re being edgy”, “fashion is suppose to be provocative” – for example: High end magazines showing editorials of models in “blackface” (many deemed this racist, yet no one got fired!).  Advertorials showing models pubic hair .  Advertorials showing model snorting “cocaine” (it was a dress made to look like drugs)

The fashion excuses are endless, but the point being, you can pretty much get away with a lot of bad behavior if you’re in fashion.  Which is why I was pretty shocked to find out Galliano actually got the boot!  I assumed the worst would be, he would not appear at this Friday’s Dior fashion show, or anywhere until the drama died down, and then issue some publicist written statement about how sorry he is, and he will be checking himself into the ubiquitous rehab, to somehow cure his alcoholic racism.

Bernard Arnault and Co. are definitely sending a message, but I can’t help but wonder if there were some other underlying issues and this was the perfect way/excuse to get rid of him?  Because no one has ever gotten fired for being bad; having a bad runway show or collection – yes, but bad behavior – no! I think part of Galliano’s crime is that he got caught on camera, because he is not the only one to have committed such a shameful act while working in fashion, nor do I believe he will be the last.

If fashion wants to fire Galliano for being a racist that’s fine – but what about all the others, those who won’t let you in their stores if you are a certain color, follow you around if you are ethnic, the non-diversity on the catwalks, the lightening of ethnic models skin color and claiming it was the lighting at the shoot…..Fashion is the one playground where you can be bad, haughty, and supercilious and get paid.

I wish John the best and I hope he gets the help he needs.  Fashion is a very forgiving mistress and upon his inevitable return I’m sure we will be singing his creative praises once again as if nothing ever happened.

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Discuss This Display: The Glamourai does windows

Posted in Discuss This Display by Arcadia on March 2, 2011

While perusing some of my favorite blogs, looking for inspiration, I came across this recent post from the Glamourai. That lucky lady got the chance to “do windows” for Dolce and Gabbana in Milano!

What do think? Discuss this display.

I realize she just styled mannequins and didn’t really provide any props or scenery, but her sartorial choices are good, and I’m happy to see she used an odd number of mannequins for optical balance – she even styled herself to fit in quite nicely with the mannequins!

(all images via: The Glamourai)

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