Posts Tagged ‘Window Display Review’

Cape Union Mart – store review

This is the kind of store that I would love to spend an entire weekend in.

The Canal Walk Cape Union Mart Adventure Centre has something of everything for everyone. Ok, I must first admit that finding this invigorating store was a bit of a hit and miss affair, as the large retail spaces on the outskirts of the Canal Walk Mall parking are not as well promoted as they could be. Unfortunately this retail space looks like an office block from the outside as the windows are so tinted that the traditional method of using window displays to attract customers is not ideal. The signage is very clear but it is so high up that it is easily missed.

However this imperfect first impression changed completely once I had stepped inside the store. On entering, I am met with the exciting adventure zone, a fun space to go shopping, where I can interact with the products in ways that enhance my senses and my overall experience. This very large double volume space reminds me of the huge lifestyle stores I visited in South America. As I walked around the shop floor I noticed several cleverly placed design details helping to fill this huge space in just the right places. The size of this in-store space requires strong use of focal points to give direction and shopper confidence in what could otherwise be an overwhelmingly large floor area. The well placed, highly visible focal points ease in-store navigation and are no doubt appreciated, in particular, by those male shoppers who prefer to shop for specific products rather than browsing. My eyes gazed over the wood-inside-glass-cube plinths that the male mannequins stand on, the rotating merchandise rail, the shoes placed in front of different material backdrops, the climbing wall, the cold room, the rain room, the scary-hairy spiders and my all-time favourite the different ground surfaces available to test your trail boots on. This is definitely a destination store where you can go to get that specific item, or where you can just browse and browse for hours and stock up on absolutely everything that you might need for a camping trip, a 4×4 trail, a safari holiday, a hiking trip, an overseas trek, a ski resort or an epic expedition, the office, the rugby, a tea party, gardening and so so so SO much more. There is something for everyone at just about any time.

The store is laid out perfectly with men’s clothing range, Old Khaki, CU & Co on the right as you enter the store and ladies clothing range, Poetry, on the first floor to the right . The outdoor technical clothing zone has items like jackets designed to protect you from snow, wind, rain. You can test the jackets in the cold room or rain room. The technical equipment like tents, sleeping bags, etc. on the left upstairs next to the hairy-scary spiders. There is an abundant array of boots, shoes and sandals at the back next to the different ground-surface track pads and the climbing wall. There is even a children’s department with it’s very own toddler climbing wall. I think that my husband, brother, father and brother-in-law would spend most of their time in the gadget zone that greets you as you walk in. This zone has a multitude of gadgets and tools to help you through just about every tricky moment you might encounter on your next adventure. There is a dedicated sales staff team in this area, full of knowledge about the products on offer.
Walking through this store makes me long to go on an adventure and it motivates me into gearing up. This is a lifestyle store in the true sense and I know that I will be back with the entire family for a fun-filled shopping experience.

Alice on the iPad

Wow, have a look at this lovely Alice in Wonderland interactive book designed for an iPad. Please, please … please may I have an iPad. This new form of technology is so exciting and brings the reading the Alice story to life. It is only a matter of time before visual merchandisers bring this type of technology into store and window displays. I can just imagine walking into a store and something wiggles and jingles as I walk past.

Alice in Wonderland – displays

I am fascinated by the recent spate of Alice in Wonderland retail schemes — inspired by the new Disney interpretation of Alice. Here is a review of three Alice in Wonderland window displays as seen in Cape Town, New York and Paris. Stop and ponder at how rich the incredible imagination of Lewis Carroll is as a source of inspiration for window displays and how his creative ability to tell a story continues to take both young and old on a curious journey.

Each window display shown here is a carefully imagined depiction that stimulates our visual perception taking us deeper into another world where the story gets bigger and the colours get brighter. Through the window our eyes enter into a magical place where anything is possible. I am in awe of the extent to which various retailers are willing to go in their efforts to recreate the imaginings of Lewis Caroll.

Starting with the Kalk Bay, Cape Town store: Mythology. Here we have an intricate window layered with handcrafted and painted wooden cut-outs, where in-store merchandise is used to fill in the story through metaphor and symbolism. A cut-out white rabbit rushes by in the background, while the caterpillar puffs away in the corner and even a flamingo croquet stick leans in the opposite corner. Clever details include candle rabbits inside tea cups on top of a hatbox shaped cushion and the red queen of hearts in a glass bell jar. This window epitomises the power of the use of imagination and metaphor to transform a small window into a wonderland. The Mythology team achieve all this while still remaining true to the old-world seaside village style of Kalk Bay.

A completely over the top, New York style treatment can be found in the recent Bergdorf Goodman “A Compendium of Curiosities” window scheme. Directed by David Hoey, these windows feature the finest attention to detail imaginable. Each window presents hundreds of visual elements each adding to a sumptuous visual feast. The scheme features five windows with individual themes. The Victorian mansion window shows Alice meeting the Cheshire cat while the white rabbit emerges from a door hidden below the finely detailed miniature mansion. The “Drink me” or “Stair case” window features a multitude of large and small wooden stair cases surrounding a full size Alice with miniature Alices in each tiny room. Paper is the central theme of the “Library” window. Everything is wrapped with or made from paper with an enormous typewriter providing one of the focal points. The piece of paper emerging from the typewriter includes the line “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast.” which could serve as a motto for the entire series of windows. The “Games” room is a decadent velvety red and black, almost boudoir like, scene. The window arrangement is unusual because the scene is viewed from above which gives a very different feel to the display. Last, but definitely no the least, is the “Mirror” room where everything including the Pamela Rowland gown worn by Alice is made from mirrors. A looking glass spectacular where everything is glamour and sparkle. The images in the following gallery are from the official store slideshow of the windows. Some very high resolution images can be found in this flickr photo set and some lovely detail shots are here

From New York to Paris, Le Printemps, the Parisian department store presents a simpler, less complicated Alice. The backdrops are magnificent black and white scenes taken directly from the Disney Alice in Wonderland production directed by Tim Burton. On a clean white floor each of the windows has an all white, single large format visual prop referenced from the stories by Lewis Caroll. A mannequin, with a rabbit’s head, is positioned next to or on top of each of the props. The elegant simplicity of this scheme contrasts with the New York style Bergdorf Goodman’s opulent window display. Each Le Printemps window contains a garment designed by a different designer commissioned to create their own unique interpretation of Alice. Each of the mannequins is styled in the most flamboyant and eye-catching way. Magnificent! More on the designers who collaborated on the displays can be found here. The images in the following gallery are from the French blog Le Journal des Vitrines.

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