Window Shopping: Christmas on Oxford Street
When it comes to Christmas, the windows at Selfridges are always highly anticipated, closely followed by the likes of Harrods, Liberty and Harvey Nichols. What theme will the visual merchandising team think of next? Always brimming with imagination and lashings of humour, the Christmas windows and in-store displays are planned up to a year beforehand. The sixteen Oxford Street windows are seen by over 100,000 people daily. Twelve of the Oxford Street windows, the largest, are traditionally used as the most high-profile storytellers, conveying the windows’ theme.
This Christmas Santa takes the lead, as he becomes the seasons party animal, from throwing shapes on a starlit dance floor to taking a sauna with a couple of party girls. This is a cheeky, fun loving Santa that is sure to put a smile on your face. Five of the twelve windows feature a state-of-the-art sound system, which uses the vibration of the glass pane to produce music. Each of the five windows has its own special Christmas soundtrack that matches perfectly the mood of the window it scores. All showcase a snowy Alpine landscape and different party scenarios, each one more exuberant than the next, where family, friends, pets (from poodles to giant Polar bears), and nearly 100 disco balls, all join in the fun with a wink and a smile.
Elsewhere John Lewis centres its windows on it much talked-about TV ad campaign featuring Buster the Boxer and a variety of other woodland animals. The John Lewis VM team have created a series of burrows in which the various animals such as hedgehogs, badgers and foxes are enjoying a range of John Lewis merchandise from toys to cosy Hygee inspired gifts to electronic devices.
Robb Bloomer, senior visual merchandising manager at John Lewis, commented on the project: “This year our team had great fun designing our Oxford Street windows showing the animals from our ad in their cosy burrows. The animals are getting ready for Christmas, taking selfies and making mischief whilst Buster watches from above. It was a brilliant project to work on and we hope our customers enjoy the display!”
Neighbouring Debenhams takes a Willy Wonker / gift making machine angle, each window features a special machine such as ‘The Sequinator’, ‘The Colourmatic 3000’, ‘The Shrink Ray’ and ‘The Giftatron’ – all producing fabulous product and gift ideas. The ‘factory of gifts’ theme is taken throughout the store with its pipes, baubles and lighting that tells the story of the ‘Found It’ Gift Factory. TV screens, lighting and mechanical elements add to the production feel in a glowing range of metallics, pink, purple and red.
House of Fraser have built their theme around anticipation, tying in their TV ad with a ‘Christmas is Coming for You’ campaign. The overall look is sleek with metallic silver trees, chandeliers and glamorous mannequins. Nigel Oddy, CEO at House of Fraser, said: “With this years’ campaign, we wanted to capture the anticipation of the season and the overwhelming excitement it brings when it finally arrives; all in the contemporary and energetic style that has become synonymous with House of Fraser.
“We’ve updated Christmas iconography with a creative and subversive twist to create a powerful campaign that’s instantly recognisable. We want to encourage our customers to truly embrace their shopping experience this year whether that’s adding some festive magic to their home, preparing for the party season or searching for the perfect gift. Whether you are ready or not, Christmas is coming for you.”
Regent Street Angels
And for those just wanting to ‘see the lights’ then Regent Street features a line up of huge angel figures, each one boasting a 17-metre wingspan. Created by James Glancy Design, the traditionally inspired display celebrates the street’s long association with Christmas. Bond Street has gone for some rather beautiful, although not typically traditional, peacock feather inspired designs. While the Oxford Street snowballs are back for the fourth year running along with the addition of some stars – to celebrate the NSPCC’s Little Stars campaign where donations can be made to dedicate a star to a loved one. Other areas to take in the lights include: St Christopher’s Place, Carnaby Street, Covent Garden and Knightsbridge, not forgetting to mention that many of the stores on Oxford Street itself are draped in lights from top to bottom.
Words and images by JoJo Iles