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VM choice: the bunnies of Burlington at Maison Michel

For many brands, using taxidermy rabbits in window displays would be the kiss of death, an invitation for customers to protest at the slaughter of animals for visual merchandising.

An obviously vintage animal or bird in a glass case seems not to provoke the same response as it is clearly recycled. Here Maison Michel, the French millinery store in London’s Burlington Arcade, seems to be absolved from comment with the taxidermy rabbit in the centre of its classic window.

Perhaps the store location in this lovely glass-covered arcade, with its sophisticated customer, helps in this respect. It may be a different story on a typical high street.

With summer approaching and punting, picnics, and Henley on the social calendar, a straw boater is a must-have.

Rather cutely the white rabbit, redolent of the anthropomorphized character in Alice in Wonderland, clutches a straw hat with a red grosgrain hat band. In the background is a glass cabinet containing two Playboy bunny-style rabbit-eared fascinators, with the ‘ears’ made of lace-covered straw. This is an interesting transposition of elements, with the fascinators under the glass instead of the rabbit.

Meanwhile, perched on the edge of a Michel hat-box a smaller black and white Dutch rabbit, a classic English breed, snuggles up to the foot of a mannequin head topped with a broad-brimmed straw.

The spectacle of the rabbit holding the hat also references the classic magical trick of a rabbit being pulled from a hat; the rabbit here has just the perfect attentive expression.

The whole display suggests a touch of humour: no bad thing for any brand.

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