The importance of window displays in 2023

L'importanza del window display

Dear Readers, finally we return to a topic we haven’t dealt with for long time:

Windows Displays and Retail Design

In recent years, due to the uncontainable digitalization and the increase in costs, even the windows display have undergone profound changes giving less and less space to creativity in favor of simplicity communication.

Yamamay investments for window displays

However, there are still retail companies that invest in the windows display of their stores, with choreography and installations worthy of the best theatres.

We were therefore curious to take a tour of the main shopping centers in Italy to see how the big brands approached spring 2023 as creativity and themes to carry out.

The economic crisis, in addition to digitization, has certainly led to reduction investments for window displays, however, cases of “low budget” window displays that have managed to reach a good compromise between costs and benefits are not uncommon.

Our job bring us around Italy and we have the opportunity to see what happens on the shopping streets and shopping malls; so, we would like to share what we observed and noticed.

Pandora store front

The shopping experience on the road, especially in the main high-level shopping streets, continues to be of great importance. But the visual impact of window display communication is perhaps more similar to advertising marketing rather than a window display. Everything that can arouse interest, strike, create any kind of reaction, is put on window display as a sort of competition with ad hoc mannequins and props.

So, from what we can see, investments in this sector and for a high target continue to be substantial, also to maintain a brand image in line with this market segment.

Developing a window display campaign with a storytelling, that reflects the brand identity, that strikes the customer, and that uses exclusive and high-level decorative elements continues to be a seasonal focus for luxury brands and beyond.

So we can say that even in 2023, with the spring season start, the window displays on the streets have blossomed too!

To also have an authoritative opinion on the matter we exchanged a few words with Omar Pallante, owner of Arte Vetrina Project, which for years has been the undisputed leader of the Italian and foreign market with regard to creativity and window dressing. We asked him a few questions:

What are the companies that today still believe in a structured and high-image store window display project?

The whole market continues its investments to Window Display and Pop Up, from fast fashion to commercial products, from high end to luxury.

Obviously with very different times, budgets and results depending on the capabilities, organizations and individual companies resources .

In the last 5/10 years great strides have been made by associating more integrated communication projects through window displays, adv, visual merchandising and online presence. But also through new technologies involving the new super hi-tech generations. In this way, excellent strategies have been created to convey one’s brand and make it increasingly recognizable and desired.

In my opinion, these are the brands that have invested and developed some of the best projects in recent years are: Valentino – Gucci – Louis Vuitton – Moncler – Dior – Zegna – Off White – Hermes – Tiffany – Kenzo – Balenciaga.

How does your work develop, from design to on-site implementation?

Usually a brand seeks our studio to develop an annual project for Window Displays and Pop-Up for its network of stores and DepStores; in this case the Style Office provides us with a brief and informs us about what the brand wants to communicate. Or we are asked to develop Installations or Pop Ups within Department stores (which are our best clients), showrooms, or ad hoc locations for events that generally take place during the various fashion weeks. Received the brief the next steps are research, design, artworks development, production, installation as well as clearly the on-site Art Direction.

Arte Vetrina Project for Harmont & Blaine
Arte Vetrina Project for Harmont & Blaine

What trends for 2023 Window Displays?

I believe that for those who do this job there shouldn’t be too binding trends to follow, just to make each project unique and coherent with the message of the single brand with which we relate; surely many companies have discovered that the “showcase container” can be a excellent place where you can communicate messages, slogans, projects, contests and where you can test the relationship with your users and capture more and more attention. Certainly we are trying to increasingly reduce the environmental impact designing in an “intelligent” way.

Arte Vetrina Project for Woolrich
Arte Vetrina Project for Woolrich

How do you see the future of window dressing in Italy and in the world?

If at the birth of e-commerce and in the following years the market strongly feared that the physical store could disappear together with the windows displays and everything that revolves around them, I believe that today we can say that the two realities are both necessary and complementary.

What has changed over the years is not the window display market but how companies have become increasingly structured, organized and autonomous in managing shop windows and shop interiors, and turn to external companies only for creativity and production.

Arte Vetrina Project for Corneliani
Arte Vetrina Project for Corneliani

We thank Omar Pallante for his testimony and let’s proceed with our analysis of the window display world by going to see what happens instead in shopping centers in a retail environment with an average target.

Anyone works in retail knows that entering a shopping center is already a choice: that is, the customer has already decided to visit the shopping center because he is stimulated by various aspects, ranging from interest in one or more brands… to simple walk. But even in the latter case, the customer has selected that specific mall, so the stores have different strategies they can implement in order to capture attention.

We noticed how in several cases the fast fashion chains decide not to have classic windows but prefer to show what the customer can find inside the store, removing any communication filter with the end customer.

This strategy certainly stems from several reasons, including that of limiting the costs of managing the window display. As you all know, in fact, the management of the image in the windows display of the big brands certainly cannot be managed by the store staff, but it is a structured work monitored and followed by a specific department, which deals not only with creativity and materials, but also to train specific personnel to be sent to network stores to set up the windows display.

This leads us to a further reflection: a better managing budget must go hand in hand with greater awareness of environmental sustainability.

Pandora shop window

All the companies that today ask us for a retail design project require the use of eco-sustainable and recyclable materials. Added to this is also the request for a greater durability of the props, so that they can be reused by reducing production and logistics costs, but above all to have a lower impact on the environment.

Our analysis reveals the importance that the window display still has today. The power of attraction of a fun, surprising, dynamic and highly visible windows display has also entered the world of post-millennials, who interact with them through social media helping to spread the brands and increasing their impact not only digitally but also physically.

By Paolo Zanardi and Simona Fiore – XT retail

by AN shopfitting magazine no.174 ©