Our fearlessly stylish brand image is all the more dependent upon the magnificent store windows created by visual display. The team manages to put up a fairy tale in our windows each and every time and tell a story that is playful end enticing. And not only that: they also ensure that our stores are equally eye-catching from the inside. But there’s more to visual display than having a good eye. Here’s 10 things you didn’t know…
1. Visual display covers more ground than you’d think – literally and figuratively! We have a management and operational team of 10 based in our Head Office, and our very own in-house production team of 8 based in our Alperton studio. On top of that each store also has its own display team that liaises with us, as we give instructions from the top down. We oversee all internal and external display - from store windows to shop floor signage – there’s nothing visual that escapes our eye.
2. Translating an idea into an actual window scheme is an extensive process. We first get our ideas on mood boards - which usually come from fashion shows, magazines and old photographs rather than digital imagery. We then turn those ideas into sketches and 3D drawings. Following that we send the drawings through to Alperton, who build our window props separately. Once Alperton has designed these elements they are transported on a van to the store and installed by the team on site. This means we’re always imagining and never actually get to see what the scheme looks like until all is put together in the final window.
3. People love seeing us put store windows together. They are amazed at seeing the whole design slowly come together. When we are building they’ll take lots of photos of us building it.
4. The mannequins in our store windows are all but neutral background objects – we put a lot of thought into them. In each window we use different and personalised mannequins. We come up with bespoke looks for our mannequins and then we send them off to a specialist company that gives them the hair, make up and body colours we requested. We completely designed and personalised the mannequins on the newly launched first floor in our Knightsbridge store ourselves.
5. It may all seem glamorous, but people don’t realise that you need to be quite physically fit for this job as well. There’s a lot of lifting and carrying involved, so it can be physically demanding.
6. The timeline for rolling out a window scheme can be long. We’ll start thinking about Christmas schemes as early as in April! It also takes about an entire week to install the actual window scheme because the spaces are giant!
7. Visual display may demand a good eye, but you actually also need to be number-savy! A lot of time is spent working things out with numbers and doing budgets.
8. The "first floor dolls campaign", for which press has sent personalised mini dolls to celebrities and influencers wearing looks from the Knightsbridge first floor, actually came from us! We designed such a personalised doll for a Buying Director, and marketing liked the idea so much that they decided to take it on for the new first floor campaign. This means we’re the ones in charge of designing all their dolls!
9. Our schemes travel from store to store, whereby we adapt and personalise them for each store. They are born in London and can travel for 2 years around the business before they usually “die down” in Dublin, as this location is most far away.
10. Doing window display at Harvey Nichols is especially fun because we don’t have a corporate structure that restricts us in what we can do like many other department stores. We can be playful and different and change things up completely. Working in window display for our business means there is always the excitement of coming up with something new and unexpected. You’re always on to the next best thing!