No sooner had we packed away our vintage boudoir after last weekend’s Wedding Show at Magna, than we were getting it all out again to dress one of the empty shop windows in the city centre Sheffield Showcase project. All the windows have to be ‘themed’ and provide a showcase for local businesses and designers to display their creative talents. Organised by The Source at Meadowhall in association with Sheffield City Council, the project includes working alongside Visual Merchandising students and the two girls from the group who helped me to put the window together were an inspiration to work with.
We decided to make the window look like a lady’s bedroom, featuring a central dressing table, a clothes and dressing area and a living room area. We then created a story around the main female character. “She has just come home from a late night party, wearing her party dress; she throws down her feather boa and handbag on the settee and goes over to her dressing table, which shows evidence of her ‘getting-ready’ routine earlier that evening”.
Richard Smith from Rich Smith Illustration introduced me to the project and his vintage style caricatures feature prominently in this vintage boudoir window (see below).
Styling and display is a huge part of what I love doing. I like starting with a theme or colour scheme, gathering inspirational ideas and researching and sourcing the props and items to build the ‘set’; so creating a window display is not much different to me from decorating a wedding venue or designing a dessert bar. For this project, I already had lots of the right coloured vintage items in my hire collection. Then I found the wonderful chandelier wallpaper from Wallpaper Direct.
As I would when theming a wedding or event, I pulled together the right suppliers and businesses to produce the final look. For this theme, I sourced items and products from ten different local businesses and suppliers, some of whom had also been involved in the Ultimate Brides Wedding Show the weekend before (full list of suppliers below).
The key is knowing how to put together a collection of beautiful things, recognising when it’s working - and when it’s not working! - to create not only the right visual effect but the right experiential effect too. When we were working in the window, a lady saw what we were doing and commented, ‘That takes me back!’ The display seemed to connect with her own past, making her feel warm and nostalgic. ‘You’ve brought some happiness into my day!’ she said, as she walked away to continue her shopping.
If you’re able to go and see it, let me know what you think. It’s on Pinstone St, Sheffield (walk down from the Peace Gardens towards the top of the Moor and the shop is on the right). It’s very pink, and it’s there for 3 more weeks only!
Window Theming and Design: Hansley Beard
Candy Jar Design: Hansley Beard
Hire of Decorative and Vintage Items: Hansley Beard
Vintage Boudoir Sign: The Happily Ever After Project
Caricatures: Rich Smith Illustration
Vintage Hats: Tricia Cox Millinery
Bridal Lingerie: All She Needs
Jewellery, Cameo Brooches, Soaps & Umbrella: Valentine & Whicker
Vintage Dress, Cape, Jewellery and Handbag: Tasty Vintage, Sheffield Antiques Centre
Central Dressing Table Mirror: Mirror Mad
Perfumes & Beauty Club: Debenhams, Sheffield
Dress on main model: Alice Takes a Trip
Rose Petals: Nature’s Larder
All Photos by CandM-Photography