Q&A: Harvey Nichols head of display Janet Wardley on the importance of Christmas windows – Retail Design World
Harvey Nichols head of display Janet Wardley explains how the retailer’s new Christmas windows were developed.
How did you establish the theme for this year’s Christmas windows? Was there a particular inspiration?
“We start planning our Christmas windows a year in advance and work cohesively with key stakeholders in the business to ensure the Harvey Nichols Christmas message is transferrable across our platforms.
“This season the campaign was ‘Avoid #GiftFace, Give Harvey Nichols’; from a creative point of view our task was to make the campaign instantly recognisable from the outside in, with a fearlessly stylish twist of course. You will notice that in each of the window displays, an oversized face has been artfully crafted from various sized gift boxes, which intricately links to the campaign #GiftFace, while in store the #GiftFace campaign images and frames are used throughout the visual displays.
“We also look to the catwalks for inspiration. Following the shows and a debrief with the buyers, it was clear the main trend for Autumn/Winter 15 was Studio 54, which we felt worked perfectly for the festive season. The windows echo this trend with the use of glitter balls, sequins and the vibrant colour scheme.”
Do you feel a pressure every year to meet your customer’s expectations?
“The Harvey Nichols windows are world renowned, so yes there is a certain amount of pressure there. Although the schemes aren’t traditional and often challenge Christmas ideals, that’s part of our brand. Harvey Nichols is a trailblazer, we are daring and happy to exhibit our sense of humour. The important factor with Christmas windows is to ensure the displays resonate with our customers and tourists alike.”
In terms of the overall trading year, how important are the Christmas windows? Does having an international customer base mean that other calendar events play an equally big role?
“Our Christmas windows pull in tourists from far and wide. They are the first thing they see, so they’re hugely important for attracting business. Customers need to feel like they are immersed in the Harvey Nichols Christmas experience, from the minute they see the windows to walking through the door and departments. The Christmas theme is carried throughout all aspects of the Harvey Nichols brand, whether customers are shopping with us in-store or online. It’s also the only time of year that the window scheme is replicated in our regional stores at the same time as our Knightsbridge flagship.
“The windows are designed and crafted by the Harvey Nichols in-house visual display team. Everything from the drawings, props and build is completed by my team. The final build takes about a month to install across all our sites, but is a year in the planning.”
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