Window Shopping, London-Style
Elaborate displays are an artform on the high streets of London.
Let’s start from the beginning, 1906 to be exact. The place was London, England, the man was Harry Gordon Selfridge, Sr., and the result was retail sensation Selfridge’s. The late American retail magnate like all great visionaries saw a gap in the market. Mr. Selfridge glamorized the concept of shopping for pleasure rather than necessity and curated a retail experience unlike any other. Up until this point, window displays, let alone window-shopping, were seemingly non-existent in London. Mr. Selfridge drew customers into his store through his elaborate displays and knowingly changed the landscape for luxury shopping throughout the entire city.
“These storefront exhibitions have become a quintessential part of London culture.”
WINDOW DESIGN, LONDON
In 2016, the coveted title of “Window Display Designer” still only belongs to a few talented designers in the world, many of which made their name in London’s very own windows. Take Emily Forgot, for example; the budding graphic designer has been made famous for her creations with brands like Vertu and Harrods. Forgot’s designs can now be found in windows around the world. Another of the city’s most notorious window designers is Kyle Bean. The innovator has done displays for the likes of Diesel, Gucci and Casio, to name a few. Since demand continues to grow and store windows are limited commodities, competition has become fierce. Every up-and-coming artist and designer wants their work flashed all over London’s high streets.
These storefront exhibitions have become a quintessential part of London culture. While the presentations and their designs continue to rotate, the idea itself has become timeless. A stroll down any major London street has evolved into a showcase of the creative talents behind the city’s best brands. From where it all started in Selfridge’s on Oxford Street, to Harrods in Knightsbridge and Liberty London on Regent St, department stores are in a continuous crusade to capture the attention of London shoppers.
In addition to these pioneers of attention-grabbing storefronts, other retail contenders for the window display crown include Topshop in Oxford Circus or Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly. For a true taste of Britain’s best window display creations, plan your trip over the Christmas season when all retailers are out for the best festive display of the year.
Behind the beautiful end product we see from the street, there are entire teams dedicated to creating these public masterpieces. To craft a timeless window display in 2016 collaborations with artists, brands and celebrities all come into play.
Selfridges: 400 Oxford Street; +44-113-369 8040
Harrods: 87-135 Brompton Road; +44-20-7730-1234
Liberty: Regent Street; +44-20-7734-1234
Topshop: 214 Oxford Street; +44-844-848-7487
Fortnum & Mason: 181 Piccadilly; +44-20-7734-8040