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VM choice: Kurt Geiger channels Grace Kelly for an iconic window

Susan Stewart, Professor of English at Temple University, observes in her book ‘On Longing: narratives of the miniature, the gigantic, the souvenir, the collection,’ that everyday objects are narrated to realise versions of the world. Kurt Geiger’s current window in London’s St Christopher’s Place would seem to be a perfect example of Stewart’s thinking.

The store’s two windows are each filled by the brand’s own giant version of the iconic Kelly bag. This was made famous by Grace Kelly (1929 - 1982), actress and later wife of Prince Ranier III of Monaco(1923 -2005), as she used her Hermes’ bag to conceal her growing pregnancy from paparazzi. The bag was a prop purchased by costume designer Edith Head (1897-1981) for the Hitchcock movie ‘To Catch a Thief’ (1955) - the last Kelly starred in before retiring following her marriage - was much loved by Kelly, who was allowed to retain it. Of course the bag, worn by a Hollywood celebrity from a wealthy Philadelphia family married to a European monarch, instantly became a desirable fashion choice, and has remained so to date.

Many brands have since made their own version of the Kelly bag, as the Hermes’ handbag shape became known, and Kurt Geiger has produced its version in red crocodile embossed leather. There are of course differences to the original but the trapezium shape, with a top-placed handle and a strap, although differently configured, are sufficient to recall Kelly’s original. The prop version echoes the merchandise with the brand name on the metal strap and neat edge stitching. As a gigantic prop, just as Stewart proposes, it proclaims the continuing importance of this fashion classic.

The second window shows variations on a monochromatic theme, with accessorised red snakeskin ankle boots and two other red handbags. The monochromatic colour palette is nicely enhanced by the variety of textures, making this the more successful of the two windows.

On the other side of the giant bag is the actual merchandise, accessorised with a red/tan knee high boot and a crocodile-embossed ankle boot. Kurt Geiger has perfectly encapsulated Stewart’s thinking and created an iconic window.