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VM Choice: Burberry Christmas Windows

Burberry has combined all the elements of a wonderful Christmas window in London’s Regent Street this year. Reminiscent of Christmas ballet The Nutcracker with its toy soldiers, Burberry’s windows are full of toy customers wearing Burberry and exchanging Burberry gifts amid a deluxe Art Deco setting.

This season’s Burberry advertisement, featuring Beckham minor weaving between dancers in a stylised central London, provides inspiration for the peach-tinted, slowly-turning, pyramid-tiered, wedding-cake hexagons filling the main windows.

Each ledge holds a selection of very cute wooden peg doll-inspired figures. The twirling Fred Astaire-style male dancers of the advertisement are here represented by formally-dressed peg-dolls with top hats and evening dress, interspersed with handbags, encircling a blush-pink, ball gowned doll at the very top. The tiered blush-pink dress, almost Victorian in silhouette and a little similar to the famous ‘Oyster dress,’ features in the ad too.

A headless male mannequin in the foreground of the main window, and a female one in the real blush-pink ball gown, take centre stage between revolving mirrored tiers, an array of small accessories and occasional peg-doll figures. A golden-mirrored backdrop adds to the visual complexity as the rotating towers endlessly reflect both merchandise and dolls.

As is usual with VM, it is the close-up details that charm: the sweetest couple, painted in Burberry raincoat beige and with miniature check scarves, extend their arms to each other as he presents a stack of beige-wrapped boxes, each tied with a narrow ribbon. Between their feet is a ‘My Burberry’ perfume bottle. This is a deft way in which to suggest gift inspiration without using words, yet comprehensible in any language. There is a larger version of the same tableau in the difficult curving corner window adjacent to the door, and I would have loved to see a giant perfume bottle between their feet.

With space for an even higher-tiered, peach-mirrored plinth, the side windows are simpler than the main ones, but the figures are even more engaging. Peach-tinted mirrors were incredibly fashionable in the 1930s, the first decade of the fashionable suntan, and installed in top hotels to flatter guests’ complexions. Here the larger top-hatted peg-dolls, each mounted on an acrylic base plate like a mannequin, sport white-painted spats: very chic, and totally correct formal dress for the period.

Things in the next window are a touch more casual: two larger figures, perhaps 50cm high, wear ties with their white shirts and bowler hats. Although the bowler is rarely seen today it was standard business dress until 30 or 40 years ago, but instead of carrying a rolled-up umbrella or copy of the FT these carry Burberry scarves.

Just to convince us Burberry is not stuck in the distant past, the adjacent window features a punk with a red Mohican hairstyle clutching gift wrapped scarves, followed by a policeman complete with blue uniform and black hat.

A further side window features a series of clear shelves forming a pyramid of small peg-dolls and handbags, with gift-bearing Burberry-dressed figures at either end. The business-dressed peg-dolls carry boxes, interspersed with an occasional policeman and, at the very top, two more punks.

Last up, the bottom row of figures on this side window revolve individually, each on a turning circle of gold. Very charming, very lovely, and a ‘must see.’ Sadly, the windows of the Bond St store, although featuring the same theme, don’t sport turning pyramids or figures. Rush to Regent St. now: this is one you cannot miss.

 

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