‘Window Dressing is an Art form – discuss’. An interesting topic for a discussion forum perhaps. Maybe the best answer would be to hedge and say – yes, sometimes.
It depends. If, for example, you are selling office supplies then window dressing may be a perfunctory matter of advertising your merchandise and discounted prices – nothing more than a window display really. If you are into fashion or other ‘glamorous’ high-end goods then you are more likely to have the potential – and the money – to create a window display that is visually exciting and innovative. And that is where the Window Dresser’s skill will come to the fore and the term ‘Art Form’ may justifiably be applied.
I enjoy photographing the Art that others produce – it’s an interesting challenge to extract the best from any artwork on public display or present it in a creative or unusual way and I’ve enjoyed extending that concept to Window Dressing.
The four images that follow are, in my opinion, evidence of an Art Form. They take very different approaches and you may well argue that some of these are not ‘Art’. But even if we can’t agree on that then perhaps we can agree that they are eye-catching.
First, the window of Pink, the shirt maker in Jermyn Street. A striking display in Blue.
The Title ‘Blue is the new Pink’ came to me as I was taking the image.
Next the window of a modern furniture store selling brightly coloured office furniture.
The Typography itself is the Window Dressing and very dramatic it is too.
In the next image, it was the choice of view and the manipulation of reflections (sometimes very obtrusive) that has created a surreal object out of what was already an unusual and striking Mannequin cloaked entirely in black – enhanced by processing.
I struggled to come up with a suitable title for this.
Finally a striking painting of Charlie Chaplin fills the entire window of another shop front, stupidly I failed to notice how this related to the shop. Memo to self – carry a notebook!
This is an Artwork in itself. I hope you’ve enjoyed these images. I’ve steered clear of major department stores deliberately in selecting these images – but maybe next Christmas I will take a look at them specifically.
If you’ve enjoyed this Post, you might also like an earlier post – ‘Window Snapping‘.
While looking up Window Dressing on the Net I came across a couple of interesting references.
First, a clip from an article by Katie Adie in Highlife – a British Airways publication:
“The Swedes have raised window-dressing to an art form. Exquisite displays of the most mundane articles are on show as if they were Meissen china. A single gold ring will sit on a black cushion with just an orchid for company in a crystal vase. There’s none of the ‘cram it in and pile it high’ behaviour seen from London to Dubai. The Stockholm window should be a visual treat: a picture on the wall and lit in just the right warm colour.”
Second, a BBC radio 4 programme recently devoted a segment to discussing Christmas window displays. The online notes asked:
“Is window dressing an art form or simply crude merchandising? “
The participants: “agreed that both types existed, highlighting the extent to which large department stores across the world invest large sums on lavish displays that seek to endorse the image of the store and present its core values, as opposed to simple merchandising.”