Christmas is the best time for me when it comes to shop displays. I would run on down to Oxford street in London and gaze at the contemporary yet traditional displays in Selfridges, John Lewis and any other shop along that mile stretch. It was a work of art. Every item of clothing, every snowflake was planned meticulously for months and then unveiled in time for the Christmas period.
In fact I wasn’t aware just how much planning went into it until I watched this video on the Selfridges website. amazing.
One of my favourite books is by art critic John Berger called Ways of seeing. In it he argues that what we see is influenced by ideologies. An oil painting of a confident man surrounded by wealth can be seen as enviable, and this is what modern day advertisements try to do.
“The Spectator-buyer is meant to envy herself as she will become if she buys the products. She is meant to imagine herself transformed by the product into an object of envy for others…”
I would highly recommend reading this book and also watching the four part series over on youtube.
In Cairo it seem that they skip the planning and go straight into dressing the window display then and there. If I walked past these displays it wouldn’t make me want to get my wallet out and spend spend spend, or be the envy of others. What do you think?