Monthly Archives: October 2010

Heads up for Zara

Zara, Oxford St, London

Look out for these daring fashion choices at Zara, they will make your heads turn.. The Zara Oxford Street stores are known for  quirky styling and these hair and accessory styling experiments are no exception. There are bandages around mannequins heads, cookies on their glasses and generally the hair trend is ‘the higher the better’. These images will make you wonder why headless mannequins even exist.

The extreme up-do: I like the way it brings the group together.

Protection: The bandages and the forks make a helmet.

The mohawks give the otherwise soft knitwear an edgy feel.

Pile ’em high and tie ’em around.

Cookie glasses yam.. this is really cool. The hair is excellent too.

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Interview: Stuart Henry from JUSTSo talks display

“A window is a brand’s voice to the world.” and other quotes on windows and clients in an in-depth interview with Stuart Henry, the founder of JUSTSo.

KL: When is a display ‘JUSTSo’? What is the story behind the name of the company?

SH: A project is “Just So” when we have completely delivered and exceeded our clients vision and expectations, on time and within budget. For us there are a few main areas of great importance; the creative elements, production, project management and the installation. When these elements come together flawlessly then our job is done! Having personally worked with the world’s foremost luxury brands and VIP clients delivering anything less than a perfection will not do.

Whatever our clients want, it must be done “Just So”, perfectly arranged with great attention to the finest detail. We take our name seriously and this is the DNA of our business and at the heart of how we think and act. Our name is reassuringly simple. It tells you that what we do, we do without fail. Our name reminds us, and you, that whatever we undertake, we do so with a great sense of pride and understanding.  Our name is a guarantee and stamp of the utmost quality.

KL: What is the structure of the team at JUSTSo?

SH: The core team at JUSTSO consists of six people. In addition to this, we work with the best designers, artists, craftsmen, chefs, technicians, florists, dressers and stylists which are hand chosen for each project to ensure we deliver the highest results possible.

KL: What is important in a client-company relationship?

SH: We build a solid lasting relationship with each and every client we work with. This is achieved by surpassing their expectations at all times and consistently delivering superior quality results. Most importantly, our clients have the reassurance in knowing that we won’t let them down. Whether it be a brief with very short delivery times or a national roll out campaign we treat each and every brief with the utmost importance, however big or small. We build an immense trust with each and every client and ensure they feel they are the most important person we deal with, because they are.

“Our aim with every client is to become an extension of their team and really get under the skin of every brief we receive; we totally immerse ourselves in their brand to ensure we completely understand their objectives and their vision.”

When working with the world’s leading retailers and blue chip companies we take great care, touching their brand with a delicate hand and with much respect. It is through this approach that we ensure everything we deliver “Just So” for each and every client, on each and every brief.

KL: What makes a successful window?

SH: A successful window is one that clearly delivers a message directly to the customer. Whether this be communicating a brand campaign or promoting a new product launch it is all about engaging with the customer passing and giving them an insight into the values and personality behind the brand and the products it sells.

All retailers are looking for ways to stand out and speak to potential customers over their competitors. When this is successfully achieved the customer steps inside the store for more. Successful widow displays have a huge impact on sales and can strengthen the relationship between the customer and the retailer.

KL: How do you see the relati onship between props and the products in a window?

SH: The props used in a window should provide a platform to showcase the products being displayed.  The props should be eye-catching to the customer but at the same time should not take away the focus from the actual product being displayed.

“Props are a great way to tell a story.”

SH: Many factors are considered when choosing what materials to produce a prop from – these factors include;

  • Look and feel of the campaign and how the material reflects this
  • Budget available – we would always look to source the most cost-effective materials in order to achieve the desired look
  • Durability/longevity required from the prop
  • Suitability of the material for Its purpose – i.e. is a certain prop feasible in a certain material
  • Health & Safety
JUSTSo is a boutique visual communications and event management agency based in central London who focus on creative design, visual communications, art direction, window displays, party planning and events for the lifestyle, luxury, corporate, retail and fashion sectors.

Book Review: ‘Window Display – New Visual Merchandising’

Window Display – New Visual Merchandising by Tony Morgan, Laurence King Publishing; 2010. ISBN: 978-1-85669-685-2. £22.50

The new book by Tony Morgan boasts some excellent photographs of the best recent windows in London, New York, Paris and beyond. Morgan takes us on a personal journey with his writing, which shines through his passion for display. The book is well structured and looks at windows from different perspectives in seven chapters such as Colour, Lighting and Theatre. The book covers the top department stores from New Yorks  Bergdorf Goodman to London’s Selfridges (Morgan worked as Head of Visual Merchandising there for 18 years), designer shops such as Prada and Moschino, as well as high street fashion concepts by TopShop and  Zara.

With relevant images and captions he shows how a window is more than just a useful space to promote products. “Today these glazed canvases promote the store’s brand identity, keep the customer informed of fashion trends and ultimately drive sales.” He explores several ways to make the stores windows stand out from their competitors. Would a tyrannosaurus Rex eating a mannequin get your attention? He quite rightly argues that good windows are the talk of the town.

The book successfully highlights  how different elements of window design can inspire and increase sales. Morgan celebrates ”the creative retail gurus” who design the schemes. I always wonder who designed the windows, therefore  I wish he would have explored  this further. Overall I strongly recommend the book.

Tony Morgan teaches visual merchandising at Fashion Retail Academy and is a guest lecturer at London College of Fashion. His previous book is called Visual Merchandising: Window and In-store Displays for Retail.
All images by Laurence King Publishing.

Manolo Blahnik for Liberty

Liberty of London, Great Marlborough St, London

The arrival of The World of Manolo Blahnik is introduced with these windows done in collaboration with the communications agency JustSo. The windows feature provocative japanese style backlit drawings. Manolo Blahnik shoes are then hung to interact with the Art Nouveau inspired drawings, as well as placed on some of the black frames.

In addition to shoes the collection also includes umbrellas, scarves, notebooks and handkerchiefs. A lot of the items feature his signature style drawings of shoes made into prints. The World of Manolo Blahnik is a shop-in-shop at Liberty for a limited period of 3 ½ months.

The idea for the window run came from Manolo Blahnik who then briefed Just So who the developed interpretation and realisation of the concept further.

”After the initial concept briefing from the client had been received we then further develop this in-house through a series of creative meetings where all materials were chosen and art-working was executed. Each element was discussed in detail and the concept was then pieced together to realise the clients vision,” explains Stuart Henry from Just So. An in-depth interview with the company coming soon.

All images by JustSo.