Ever since the first glazed shop front graced City Streets in Haarlem, Holland in 1695, the premise of the window display has been to entice (1). Before the introduction of the shopfront, retailers were open to the bustling noise and chaos of the streets and market halls. The separation that was introduced between the rest of the world and the interior of the shop was a powerful tool when regarding consumerism. To segregate a shop from the streets is to create a private, personal experience of the retailer without distraction (1).

Due to the closed off nature of these stores, glass windows became essential in drawing, enticing and tempting the customer to venture inside. Window displays of intrigue, wonder and beauty became essential to the sale of fashion within the industry and by the 1960’s; these displays became more like overt advertising installations (2).  Desire sells. The idea of the window is to employ whatever techniques or subject matter necessary to conjure the feeling within the consumer. A person has to want and covert the clothing enough that they will go out of their way ie. Enter the store to have it. ‘Once in, the customer may see other things she (or he) wants, and no matter how much she (or he) purchases under these conditions the credit of the sale will belong to the window.’- Frank L. Baum, 1900 (2).

Retailers within the fashion industry compete to have the most memorable/ successful windows. This raises the awareness of the brands competing for the consumer. Louis Vuitton window displays are known for their unique artistic vision and have commissioned many artists over the time to assist them in their store installations (3). Just one example of a successful Louis Vuitton window display was the Spring/Summer shoes accessory 2011 collection. The retailer worked with Chameleon Visual, a London based, creative agency that installed large artificial ostriches and eggs to encapsulate the notion of rebirth, a common spring theme (3).

Louis Vuitton window display for 2011 Spring/Summer collection, 5th Ave. New York

Louis Vuitton window display for 2011 Spring/Summer collection, 5th Ave. New York

The animal drew the eye of window shoppers, who were not expecting to see a giant warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate animal in the middle of 5th Avenue in New York City, let alone carrying a handbag (4). The ambitious and clever idea raised public awareness for the already thriving Louis Vuitton and set the benchmark for other luxury Brands to follow suit.

  1. Coleman, P 2006, Shopping Environments: Evolution, Planning and Design, Architectural Press, Oxford, viewed 22 September 2014, <http://books.google.com.au/books?id=mtJZaNYLxE8C&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=glazed+shop+front+holland&source=bl&ots=Od3oyBavse&sig=afsmBnz-HcQdI9tLBl0oCZJHAuE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=WpwfVOumGoT58QXqm4KgDg&ved=0CEcQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=glazed%20shop%20front%20holland&f=false&gt;
  2. De Chatel, F, Hunt, R 2004, Retailisation:The Here, There and Everywhere of Retail, Routledge, viewed 22 September 2014, < http://books.google.com.au/books?id=tpAtQB_TRxIC&pg=PA47&lpg=PA47&dq=The+credit+of+sale+belongs+to+the+window+Frank+Baum&source=bl&ots=JUlh5Jzb1p&sig=9-6KYcisI79xqOQfuRlHn5Hk2Tw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fcMfVMOsMsnc8AWppYLQDA&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=The%20credit%20of%20sale%20belongs%20to%20the%20window%20Frank%20Baum&f=false&gt;
  3. Nelson, A 2011, Louis Vuitton’s Ostriches Grace 5th , KNSTRCT, Viewed 22 September 2014, < http://www.knstrct.com/art-blog/2011/05/09/3703&gt;
  4. Louis Vuitton: Ostrich 5th Ave New York, 2011, Chameleon Visual LTD., viewed 22 September 2014, <http://chameleonvisual.co.uk/louis-vuitton-ostrich-5th-ave-new-york/&gt;