Xmas Windows 2020 - Pt 2 - London's Knightsbridge
Lockdown #2 finished recently here in England, with a surge of shoppers being unleashed onto the streets in search of Christmas paraphernalia for those much yearned family gatherings,
We expect traditional trappings to be high on shopping lists; and early signs indicate real tree sales are already up a third on this time last year. As always in times of uncertainty, the public look for comfort in the familiarity of conventional customs and soothing memories of their childhood.
This week we donned our thermals and down coats to tread the promenades of Knightsbridge; that swanky, swish spread from Hyde Park corner to Chelsea where sloanes meet celebs in all their ritzy finery. As you'd expect, there was much tradition, along with a few surprises . . . . .
So strange to see Knightsbridge devoid of shoppers and traffic - a surreal experience indeed. Like Christmas day evening; still, calm, peaceful. There is something magical about having a whole area virtually to yourself to wander and talk in the tranquility. Lockdown does have it's benefits too.
Harvey Nichols - no mannequins! It certainly is a year of surprises then. In keeping with their usual penchant for bold, over the top, in your face statement, Harvey Nichols' windows were completely predictable. Then again, they were totally unpredictable at the same time! This really set the cat amongst the pidgeons with ReynoldsSymes. Not often in disagreement, we debated them for some time. Tungsten filaments, degrees of Kelvin and cold cathodes aside, we did agree that we liked them…a lot!
Love - the boldness to move away from the necessity to have mannequins, clothes and gifts as the centrepiece of their front window run. This is a refreshing departure for HN and in itself a 'look at me' statement. The Creative Team have clearly thought deeply about our current situation and summarised how, maybe, we all feel deep down about 2020. Their message brings a smile and a hope that 2021 will indeed be better. From the street, this display certainly was witty, bright and powerful.
Harvey Nichols - always bold, bright and in your face
Turning down Sloane St, we saw the prettiest stretch of lights; all the way through to Sloane Square. Nothing fancy, just white lights and starbursts suspended across the street and through the communal gardens that flank the road. Through the dark, clear night, Louis Vuitton really sung out with the powerful,. powder pretty window of fantasy trees shown below. So beautifully lit, they really packed a punch.
Louis Vuitton: - Bond st and Sloane street stores
A set of seasonal scenic windows awaited us at Fendi. Classic, comforting vibes here, nicely lit and meticulously finished by the creative team. Christmas perfection!
Fendi: - classic scenic Christmas vibes
Handbags are very lucrative products for luxury brands. They make prime Christmas gifts, but are notoriously difficult to display in large window spaces. Delaveaux, a Belgium house with almost two centuries of history in leather goods always has a subtle, classy feel to their windows and their display this year is no exception. Striking starburst motifs used against a starlit midnight blue backdrop with their much coveted handbags cleverly hovering in front, created a fabulous 3D effect, whilst maintaining the exclusivity of the product.
Delaveaux: - starburst handbags are the star of the show
Prada know a thing or two about luxury accessories. This sharp presentation spells out Christmas in their own inimitable way. A feast of beautiful, expensive, luxury items over which to drool as you saunter down Sloane St.
Prada: talking of handbags . . . .
Diesel sits in that strange run of stores between Harvey Nichols and Harrods which has a thin pavement and slightly hurried transient feel about it, resulting in brands here often feeling slightly overlooked. Imagine our delight then as we scurried past, to be arrested by these adorable elves piled up in an Xmas tree shape next to the mannequins. Agreed not the most traditionally festive of schemes (but then Diesel is not the most traditional of brands). The finish was crisp, and as to be expected of Diesel a whimsical detail in the form of just one elf gussied up in blingy gold. Is this eluding to the Diesel customer's penchant for the shiny stuff or peacock tendencies? We don't know, but we like it!
Reaching Kings Road, we were delighted to discover the Boden stores charming windows emblazoned with a very relevant message that must have struck home to so many people. They really nailed it and kept true to the nature of their touchy, feely aesthetic. We also loved the nod to sustainability in the form of cardboard Christmas tree.
Boden: If ever there was a year that needed Christmas - This is it
Harrods. And what about Harrods we hear you ask. How could you possibly have missed this icon of Knightsbridge indulgence and opulence. We'd love to have brought you their windows, honest we would, but there weren't any! Just some messages about online. So we wandered the perimeter and snapped shots through the glass, which you'll have to make do with for now. We feel sure the 'big shop' will be back with stunning window displays soon though.
Harrods: The lights were on, but the shutters were down!