Welcoming the Fall Winter Season
By Susmita Das | Vjmedia Works | October 07, 2013
VM&RD did some'window shopping' of some of the popular retailers and brands to study the stories, art, installation and investments that they have given attention to attract and engage with customers and optimize their sales.
The first drop of the Elle Fall Winter 2013 season depicts the Black and White color theme with monotone prints and the color blocked look, while Dark romantic is the mood for the smart Fall Winter collection of United Colors of Benetton. In the case of Louis Philippe, the flamboyant collection sees the brand travel all the way to Peru to weave an Andean story. Lifestyle, on the contrary, has brought into play two window themes for the early part of the Autumn Winter season. One of the windows is themed "In to the Wildâ€, inspired by the brand's design themes for the season, whereas the other window is inspired by craftsmanship and features denims and the Indigo story. The Central seems to muse on colors for its Fall Winter theme. While gold opulence meets Kitsch and contemporary heritage in both Shoppers and Homestop window displays wherein global trends have been analyzed and fused to form a delectable display of merchandise across the chain.
Coming to sports brands like adidas and Reebok, both the brands seemed to flaunt in chorus their new range of shoes. With a view that Fall -Winter ought to be perfect time to reinforce and communicate the strong heritage footwear collection, the brand adidas has focused chiefly on Originals SUPERSTAR at its window.
The Art Part
Elle has chosen to portray its new theme using the colors in a completely French look, which is the brand signature. The window is aimed at creating the stamp of the brand's unique French origins and fashion sense around the new season's range, whilst the second window depicts the Elle Kids range and recreates the Fall winter 2013 theme of "Chateau de Fleurâ€ in a vivid, bright, playful and fun fashion. Through the journey of the brand, its French connection has been a key component of the visual imagery. This time around, it has been chosen as the main theme. "Elle has consistently been defining a niche for itself in terms of its global fashion sense, French origins and imagery. The current window reinforces this niche position and creates a higher aspiration for the brand. The brand has gained a strong customer loyalty amongâ€‚the urbanâ€‚Indian women through itsâ€‚distinctive imageryâ€‚and style and the current season's window will go many a mile inâ€‚cementing this,â€â€‚explains Mohita Rastogi, Head - Visual Merchandising and Design, Elle at Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd.
The Madura Fashion & Lifestyle owned brand Louis Philippe has decided on its color story after an in depth research of global trends and forecasts. On this note Divya Krishna Manager - Visual Merchandising, Louis Philippe explains, "Ethnic influences blend with a touch of fun, inspired by the colors of the region's fantastic flora and bright tropical birds. Shimmering greens, rich purples, dense navy blues work with slate greys, with accents of sun- kissed tobacco, mellow yellows and browns of Inca trail to create to ceremonial elan. Same has been translated through various elements in the window display.â€
The central window too illustrated a mÃ©lange of colors with the change of the season. "Colors will continue to be a strong play in AW13. We decided to keep season colours as a theme. Also, there are key fashion stories across various categories - which are brought alive by mannequin dressing andâ€‚styling,â€ saysâ€‚Pawan Nagarwal, VM Head, Central.
While one of the widows executed by Lifestyle showed a touch of the wild, the other one was based on Denim illustration highlighting the indigo hue. "For the:'Into the wild' theme window, we had to bring alive the design inspirations for our collections and create a setting where we could showcase the key trends, like animal prints, autumn florals as also olive chic. We had even created a wooden cabin with logs to complete the look,â€ explains Srinivas Rao, Marketing VM Head, Lifestyle International (Pvt) Ltd. He further adds, "Whereas for the denim window we wanted to emphasis the color indigo for that dominates denims this winter. This window is very is distinctive for the "larger than lifeâ€ prop. We have used a 7 feet high sewing machine which was custom made by our vendor partners.â€
Screaming smart dark romantic, the United Colorsâ€‚of Benetton display sets a rich and opulent mood complementing theâ€‚brand's new range for Fallâ€‚Winter. "The backdrop symbolized mood of the collection with aâ€‚twist.â€‚The finishâ€‚used for material is worn-out and patina with all earthy neutral colors,â€ informs Animesh Ikshit, GM- Projects & VM,â€‚United Colorsâ€‚of Benetton.
For the window displayâ€‚for adidas,â€‚TBWA design agency came up with aâ€‚concept depicting Superstars iconicâ€‚design. "The live window has high quality HP vinyl graffiti backdrop emphasizing warmâ€‚colors around serene whiteâ€‚and black superstar, spray cans and paint brush & bucketâ€‚used forâ€‚creating theâ€‚perfect graffiti wall and superstarâ€‚MDF lettersâ€‚with mirrorâ€‚shine forefront sitting on a fashion runway podium,â€ avers Priyanka Sachdeva, Visual Merchandiser, adidas India.
"The display was focused on integrating the French connection with the key colors of the season and in a way augmenting the look. We chose to therefore make the display minimalistic in our traditional style and combine key elements of color and style from the range with elements that were unmistakably French and connoted fashion. While in the Kids window, the display idea was to recreate the floral theme and bright palette for the season in a visually engaging and stylish manner,â€ says Mohita. Further talking on the use of materials she adds,
"Our window designs are focused on a minimalistic look that glorifies the look without being cluttered. The props stay in the background and the main focus remains on the style and color of the garments on the mannequins. Therefore, the choice of material has been in keeping with this. While the Eiffel Tower creates the French connect of the brand and heightens its style quotient, it is rendered as a foldout that allows a quasi three-dimensional representation and allows for light to be reflected back onto the mannequins. The sprig depicts seasonal flowers of autumn. Likewise, in the case of Kids window, the floral theme and colors come alive in the flower vase arrangement with wooden boxes. The material used is Papier-mÃ¢chÃ©, wood and wire.â€
The Shoppers Stop and Home Stop display had a lot of intricate details incorporated into it, on this note Arden J.â€‚D'souza, Customer Care Associateâ€‚& Head - Visual Merchandising Shopper's Stop Ltd.â€‚avers, "Normally oneâ€‚would playâ€‚down after a hectic EOSS,â€‚season, this time we chose to do the opposite. From scarp oil drums, to worn out sewing machines ofâ€‚yore, accessories &â€‚buttons, strings, beads & glass jars, all elements fit in like a glove. Mannequin's headgear were handcrafted & created from golden threads & wires by each store VM individually, so intricate in detail & elaborate that one would think this was specially ordered from a special vendor. Materials as mentioned were varied from prints to flat cut outs, 3D elements to over exaggerated props; the display was clearly meant to touch a golden chord with consumers.â€
"We went depicting the display in a realistic manner, elaborating on the magnificent architecture, heritage sites, landscapes - focusing more on re-creating the look & feel of the specific areas in Peru and South America,â€ explains Divya. Materials like Mdf, Router cut Mdf & Sunboard along with eco solvent print were infused to create the look.
"For the'into the wild' theme, we wanted the old log/wooden cabin house look which welcomes the winter season of the year and for the denim window, we wanted to have something larger than life and highlight indigo denims for the season. We got the sewing machine made in different cities by local vendors and to our surprise the tier 2 town vendors did an amazing job, which again made us realize the workmanship involved with our theme blended so beautifully. The team managed to pull out two styles of machines for big and small windows and the magic was created,â€ informs Srinivas. For both the themes a variety of materials such as thermocol, actual dried wooden logs, mdf, paints, prints were used.
Pawan explains it further, "Let's start with the backdrop first. We needed a good backdrop to work for us in terms of supporting the theme. We choose colorful fabric/shreds for the backdrop. Also, there's a kinetic energy at play - usage of rotating color wheels add to the vibrancy of colours. Mannequins are dressed with color headgears to support the styling.â€ An amalgamation of Color velvet, shreds and fur has been incorporated to accentuate the color scheme at the backdrop level whilst motors are used to support the rotating mechanism in the color wheel along with the footwear and handbag wheel.
"The window design focuses on the timelessness of the superstar design. The classic superstar footwear is the white superstar with black three stripes forms the center piece highlight of the window backdrop with black three stripes flowing through the window. Superstar letter cutouts are gracefully placed on a podium depicting the fashion runaway,â€ shares Priyanka. "Besides this, the windows premium design aesthetics are accentuated by use of focus row lights highlighting the key design elements. Superstar letters are enhanced by the use of high shine mirror sheet to maintain the concept positioning as well MDF originals box is used to place the iconic footwear,â€ adds Priyanka.
"Fortunately our Reebok One series shoe technologyâ€‚is uniqueâ€‚which gave us the opportunity to express our USP in a dynamic way. We have lit the shoe in threeâ€‚zones toâ€‚highlight theâ€‚zoned technology that mimics the way the foot moves. So we did timed lighting of 4 seconds in which 1 second for each of the 3 zones and the fourth second glows the entire shoe and then this loop goes on. The interesting part is that along with the zone lit a small description is also lit at the bottom which explains the advanced technology of this shoe built from back to front,â€ explains Deepti Malhotra, Assistant manager Retail (In-store Communication), adidas group. This window too, highlights the usage of Acrylic, mdf along with Vinyl.
Investing for growth
Budget plays a vital role in the making of a window and who can give us a better depiction than the Visual Merchandisers; so, let's hear it from them:
"Previously we used to have a restrictive budget, however the organization realized that if we have to be ahead of competition we need to be at par in spent on props and window material. Now we realize and represent the idea and then arrive at the budget.â€ - Animesh Ikshit, GM- Projects & VM, United Colors of Benetton.
"Any cost is fine until it justifies the shoe technology, the price of shoe, number such shoes in per store and its effect on the minds of the target group. "What is the choiceâ€ of our target group in terms of window attraction and attention is something which I personally take into consideration before proposing and execution each window concept.â€ â€“ Deepti Malhotra, Assistant Manager Retail (In-store Communication), adidas group.
"Our budgets are already set as per sales forecast. We work within the same. Elements are added/deleted basis the available budget.â€ - Pawan Nagarwal, VM Head, Central.
"Budgets are always frozen at the start for any event & this was not different.â€ - Arden J. D'souza, Customer Care Associate & Head - Visual Merchandising Shopper's Stop Ltd.
"The budget is constructed based on the number of collection themes we plan. When we plan out the collection ranges for the season, we also plan the window changes and based on this, we draw up the budget. We then focus on maximizing impact within this budget.â€ - Mohita Rastogi, Head - Visual Merchandising and Design, Elle at Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd.
"Budget for any window display depends on location & size of the window. Tentative budget for each window can be decided as we have standard rate card for materials & printing.â€ - Divya Krishna Manager - Visual Merchandising, Louis Philippe explains.
"The costing & materials were explored from various vendors not only from the metro but turned out that non metros cites were the ones which were quiet reasonable so this helped meet our props & installations within the frames.â€ - Srinivas Rao, Marketing VM Head, Lifestyle International (Pvt) Ltd.