Would it really be Christmas without some frivolously festive window displays? Beyond spreading Christmas cheer, they make a difference too: 24 percent of all holiday purchases are influenced by the store windows (NPD Group, 2017). From the weird and wonderful to the futuristic, tech-focussed and fabulous, here are our top ten festive windows from around the world this Christmas.
Times may change, but Christmas is the same at Selfridges
We’ll start with the first windows to be unveiled this year, on the controversially early date of October 17th, no less! Not only the first, Selfridges’ Christmas windows are among the most famous, attracting Londoners and tourists alike to marvel at their festive splendour. The heritage retailer has taken a bold decision this year to create a series of ultra-modern, white and silver windows titled ‘Future Fantasy: A Christmas for Modern Times.’ Each window is a contemporary twist on a traditional fairytale: the Cinderella window is captioned ‘Then she said, you shall go to the rave!’. Many of the baubles displayed are reused from previous displays, a nod to Selfridges’ continued push towards sustainability. Selfridges’ underlying message is that in these times when change can be rapid and unpredictable, Christmas remains the same.
Image courtesy of Selfridges
Bergdorf Goodman continues its GoodTimes campaign
New York, US
Arguably the most outlandish and eye-catching of the lot, Bergdorf Goodman’s windows are packed to the brim with scenes of revelry that explode with colour, product and sculpture. Continuing with the theme of Bergdorf GoodTimes, the different scenes depict interpretations of nostalgic games, recalling the Christmas tradition of coming together and playing games with friends and family over the festive season. A glittering red and green chess game is in action, as well as a game of musical chairs, an emerald green garden card game and a psychedelic pinball machine.
Image courtesy of Ricky Zehavi/ Bergdorf Goodman
Galeries Lafayette puts on a spectacle
Here is another famous department store that has taken a slightly different approach to the Christmas theme. Galeries Lafayette’s eleven windows follow the theme of a Christmas beehive and depict worker bees busily preparing for Christmas by baking and decorating, while the Queen Bee sits resplendent in the centre. The theme continues inside the store where a giant Christmas tree, decorated with enormous baubles and supersized winter flowers, is suspended from Lafayette’s stained-glass dome. Atop the tree sits Queen Bee and the dome is dotted with more ginormous, glittering worker bees. Every 30 minutes the tree comes to life and buzzes with activity – it’s not a spectacle to miss.
Image courtesy of World Travel Magazine
Heritage and history at Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason’s windows follow a similar theme of Christmas productivity. Kittens in red tail coats patter away, manning pipes, gold wheels and traditional machinery to prepare everything for a festive feast. The buzz of activity is conveyed through the moving displays as the feline helpers fill Champagne and port bottles, run mince pie assembly lines and wrap presents. The jewel-tone, feline theme takes inspiration from artists Edward Bawden’s first illustrations of the furry helpers for Fortnum’s 1958 Christmas campaign.
Image courtesy of Fortnum & Mason
Get involved with Macy’s data-driven display
New York, US
Macy’s has been using tech to track how many people interact with their windows. Last year, an average of 10,000 people walked past the windows per hour. With this in mind, Macy’s has created an interactive window display with a selfie moment which means viewers can feature in the iconic window they’re gazing at. The story follows Santa Girl whose aspiration is to be more like Santa Claus. Children and adults alike can deliver presents with Santa or interact with different characters and settings, such as scratching the nose of Willow the dog, poking out from the window.
Image courtesy of Macy’s
Shop with ease using PayPal’s shoppable windows
New York, US
PayPal is taking the interactive window concept one step further with its shoppable festive windows. With online retailers and legacy stores making it hard for small businesses to thrive, PayPal has decided to champion five small businesses making a big impact in the world in its windows this year. QR codes on the windows allow passers-by to shop the products straight from the displays on their mobile devices, catering to the convenience shopper this Christmas.
Image courtesy of Paypal
Interactive placemaking experiences at Hudson Yards
New York, US
Continuing the modern, interactive theme is Hudson Yards with its large-scale light display named Lyra. Though not technically a window display, we thought this one deserved a mention, nonetheless. The installation is inspired by the constellation of the same name and is designed by artist Christopher Schardt. The interactive experience involves a series of star-shaped sculptures each made of 12,000 individually controlled LED lights that are synchronised to a classical soundtrack. The stars are suspended like a giant carpet that visitors can walk under and gaze up at as though gazing at a starry night’s sky.
Image courtesy of Hudson Yards
Harrods provides a brand platform
Each animal that features in Harrods’ Christmas windows was chosen by a different luxury brand to reflect its heritage and product aesthetic, linking the outside of the store to the luxuries awaiting customers inside. The store gave its brands complete creative licence. This explains the less-than-traditional choice of a zebra carrying a stack of Carolina Herrera fragrances, alongside the more festive brown bears and snow leopards in other windows.
Image courtesy of Harrods
Saks Fifth Avenue x Frozen 2 brand collab
New York, US
Saks is providing a brand platform for Disney’s Frozen 2 by creating a story that follows Elsa on her journey to power using the spirits of the natural world. The whole storefront is dripping with Christmas lights, creating an effect of iridescent snow and icicles that complements the Frozen theme. Saks has released an exclusive range of Frozen-inspired products and has created an immersive experience within the flagship. Customers are taken on Elsa’s journey through the enchanted forest, meeting the spirits of nature and becoming acquainted with her magical forest friends. Saks is donating $5 from the sale of each ticket to NY Presbyterian Phyllis and David Komansky Children’s Hospital, in-keeping with the children-focussed Christmas theme.
Image courtesy of David X Prutting/BFA.com
The highly instagrammable Ivy Chelsea Garden
Speaking of enchanted forests, this Chelsea restaurant has created Narnia on its storefront. The wintry display features the Snow Queen’s Throne that customers can sit in, real frosted foliage spilling onto the pavement and a snow-coated façade. The restaurant is serving a range of Narnia-themed cocktails throughout the festive season, from the ‘Narnia Negroni’ to the Turkish delight-infused ‘Eastern Promise’. As if the wintry wonderland wasn’t enough to tempt people through the doorway into Narnia, customers can even meet Mr Tumnus himself on selected nights.
Image courtesy of Secret London
Liberty brings brand stories to life
Liberty is another department store drawing inspiration from animals for its Christmas windows. Legend has it that the wood carvings of animals in Liberty’s panelling and pillars come alive on Christmas eve when the customers have finished their shopping and gone home for the night. Inspired by this legend, the team behind the displays have created a magical realm in which the animals have come alive and brought with them magical seeds that have sprouted into a giant, blue and pink velvet bonsai tree. The glittering tree, suspended in the store’s atrium, is called ‘The Tree of Liberty’ and is inspired by the jewel colours of the Liberty Christmas print.
Image courtesy of Liberty/ Metro.com
The push and pull of online continues to shape the retail landscape. Yet, in times of rapid change and political uncertainty, one thing that remains the same is the magic of a Christmas window display, whose full effect can only be experienced in person. The best Christmas windows build an emotional connection with customers, transforming onlookers into participants, via an interactive moments and seamless product connections.