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VM Basics: Store exteriors part 1

Victoria's Secret

It is a basic tenet of Visual Merchandising that the discipline includes three elements: the inside of the store; the outside of the store; and the windows. Generally, we spend a lot of time and effort thinking about the windows and the store interior, but not so much on the outside of the store. Some brands with stores inside shopping malls don’t get to do interesting things with the façades of their stores due to mall constraints. Retailers with High Street premises have more freedom, as with Victoria’s Secret’s recent lush, bow-wrapped vegetation in Bond Street. With white-painted branches around the windows, all enrobed with a velvety-pink ribbon, this has maximum impact from across the road.

Victoria's Secret

The image is actually a mesh, but its structure gives the appearance of velvet from a distance. Nice.

La Procure

Staying with gentle decoration, which we might define as embellishing rather than smothering, the exterior, a nice example might be the Christmas decoration of this Left Bank book store combining twigs, Christmas tree fairy lights, and Christmas tree baubles to frame the windows creating a pretty, tasteful result.

Dior Paris

We might define this kind of exterior display as enhancing the features of the building, rather than concealing them as rather more dramatic displays can do. The Paris flagship for Dior in Avenue Montaigne demonstrates this with sparkly, lilac fairy-lights neatly twisted around the elegant railings.

Kohatu and  Petros

Fine jewellery store Kohatu & Petros, in London’s Chiltern Street, employs a simple, autumnal maple leave strand around the upper edge of the window. The asymmetrical placement with its trailing leading edge gives it a livelier feel than making the leaves closely follow the frame of the glass. The leaf colour ties in nicely with the asymmetrically-placed pumpkin and straw in the window too.

Gerard Mulot

Let’s end with a pretty Parisian classic: the restaurant Gerard Mulot on the Left Bank in Paris often uses its exterior to attract attention. Using the same elements as the book store above a much cooler, icier mood is created with the additional use of blue lights. Tres chic, n-est pas?