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Trends showcase: Christmas windows 2014

Christmas may start earlier every year, but at least that gives VM experts the chance to make an even greater effort. And the 2014 season has seen a mix of tradition, whimsy, spectacle and colour that should have weakened even the most hardened of hearts.

The classic approach

Fortnum & Mason, established in 1707, almost defines tradition. Its approach of focusing on category, as opposed to lifestyle, in its windows is a defiantly traditional way of celebrating the season. But it also gives a masterclass in the use of classic VM skills to create Christmas spectacle.

Austin Reed, meanwhile, has emphasised the gift giving season with glitz and enormous piles of wrapped presents. No doubt as to what is on offer inside its stores at Christmas.

Simplicity

Cath Kidston’s retro chic makes it a popular high street chain. For Christmas 2014 the brand has given a modern twist to traditional home decorations; paper chains and seasonal cutouts made from card and wood give an informal sense of celebration that stands out from the neighbours.

Tiffany & Co has also opted for a simple and restrained celebration. Its windows tell the stories of couples buying romantic gifts for one another at a special time of year. The windows are inclusive too: it’s rare to see a gay couple included in the window display of a jeweller.

Texture

Texture is second nature to textiles brands, so it is no surprise to see it on display so prominently in Christmas windows from John Smedley and Brora. Every shopper must know the pleasure of fresh Christmas knitwear, made real here for all to see.

Storytelling

Expectations are always high when Selfridges unveils its Christmas windows. This year’s offering, using Hollywood style production values, did not disappoint. Window shoppers are taken through an enchanted forest complete with spiders, giant jewels, unicorns, golden geese, Samsung phones, Russian Vodka and Paddington Bear.

Harrods opted for fantasy windows too. The store’s Land of Make Believe installation follows Peter Pumpernickel, a determined mouse, and his Christmas challenges. That would be enough for most, but Harrods offer an extra surprise: ‘secret’ windows that offer additional elements to the story are only visible to the very tall – or to small people sitting on the shoulder of their parents.

Penguins

And of course, there is John Lewis. The brand’s Christmas ads are a relatively new tradition, but they have been so successful that they are keenly awaited. For many young shoppers a trip to the local high street to see its penguins may have been the shopping highlight of the season.

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