David Moliere is the artistic head of window displays at Paris department store Printemps. Here, he talks to Retail Focus about the store’s collaboration with Paris fashion house Dior for its Christmas 2012 window displays and why it’s difficult to follow trends.
RF. How long have you been head of window displays at Printemps?
DM. I have been artistic head of window displays since 2006. I work very closely with Frank Banchet, the artistic director. We are a team of four people.
RF. What do you enjoy the most about your job?
DM. My job is a real passion. It is a pleasure to imagine different universes constantly. Depending on the events of the year, I have to imagine different stories. My work is a way to give our customers and visitors a unique view on fashion, beauty and luxury. This is very pleasant to work on different projects all along the year; we have to surpass ourselves to find the inspiration and to create new themes in order to highlight the world of fashion. Our goal is to offer a unique shopping experience.
RF. Who or what inspires you?
DM. I find inspiration daily: In magazines, newspapers, art, movies, trips… Being an artistic head of window displays means using all your senses. Images, drawing, music and colours are many elements which help me to enhance my inspiration. Furthermore, we collaborate with artists from different fields, such as photographers, sculptors, illustrators, puppeteers… These artistic exchanges are rewarding for the development of the creation.
RF. How often do you change the window displays?
DM. The window displays stay between one month and a half and two months; we change the window displays according to the operation in the store. We have between seven or eight operations in the year to form the pattern of the Printemps’ life. Through the different operations we showcase all fields: fashion, beauty, and home. We have several important moments for the department store, such as ‘La Fête du Printemps’ from 19 March to 11 May; it marks the beginning of the springtime. Nevertheless, one of the major events of the year stays Christmas.
RF. Printemps partnered with Dior for its Christmas 2012 window displays. How did this collaboration come about?
DM. Regarding the Christmas operation, we started to work one year in advance. In December 2011 we already knew what would be the theme of the 2012 Christmas window displays. The first step for my team and I was to create a mood board which was our source of imagination/inspiration; this important tool for the process of creation had been a way for us to find our partnership.
Printemps Department Store had chosen, for its 2012 Christmas, to pay tribute to Paris, in complicity with Christian Dior, one of the most beautiful and emblematic Maison of Parisian Haute Couture. So it was perfectly natural for Dior and Printemps to unite in a unique partnership on this theme of ‘Inspirations Parisiennes’. Dior approved very spontaneously and quickly, and they gave us their idea of Christmas. It was the beginning of our collaboration and we started to work on the project very closely. Then, variations on the themes of ‘Inspirations Parisiennes’ Christmas were elaborated on in the 11 window displays of the Printemps Department Store. This 2012 Christmas was a romantic evocation of the Parisian spirit. It was like a dream in Paris under the snow and through the thousand and one wonders of Dior.
RF. What trends are you noticing in visual merchandising right now?
DM. Nowadays, it’s difficult to reach one trend when the global market can express a lot of trends in the same time.
RF. How can/does design and display help retailers better connect with their customers?
DM. Windows are a media which are in the important customer process; they have to be attractive and original. Windows are more than just a commercial tool. It’s a way to offer a unique shopping experience and to bring dreams. Printemps is very glad of its window displays and loves to offer every two months a new universe. Printemps wants to surprise its customers and its visitors.
It’s important that design and display pass on a message, a coherent image in relation to the communication of the event in the store. Design and display have also to fit with the positioning of the store.
RF. Which other stores do you admire?
DM. Bergdorf Goodman in New York: their team have a real expertise regarding windows, and their spaces of sales are very well organised. Also, Selfridges in London: the department store is very dynamic with an interesting approach of the different architectural spaces and an original way to treat the events. Today, it’s important to bring an original concept in order to make the difference.