Several records were broken in December as A.R.E., the Association for Retail Environments, hosted the annual Retail Design Collective, Dec. 8 -10. The 2011 event involved more showrooms than ever, greater traffic (including a strong international contingent) and a record-breaking crowd at the 14th PAVE Gala.
The show headquarters at 7 W New York hosted 18 of the 36 showrooms as well as conference sessions and networking events. During VMSD’s session on visual merchandising trends, New York editor Eric Feigenbaum and panelists Lauren Shaw of Louis Vuitton, Tom Davidson of Food Emporium and Paul Olszewski of Macy’s Herald Square discussed the role of visual merchandising as the communicator of the brand and the use of technology, handcrafted props and color to help in that effort. “
Our job is to captivate our clients and envelope them in a sense of what our brand is,” said Shaw. Olszewski added, “It’s more important than ever to define who we are.”
Many showrooms displayed new materials, finishes and product lines to help retailers in their quest for something new and fresh. Brass and black chrome finishes were popular in fixturing, reflecting a desire for a warmer materials palette. Textures could be seen everywhere, whether displayed on mannequins or in visual props. Vintage looks, including the mixing of metals and woods, also showed a renewed popularity in many of the showrooms.
During the PAVE Gala, held on December 8, Leonard Barszap, studio design manager at d-ash design (New York), received the 2010 Rising Star Award. VMSD also presented its eighth annual Excellence in New York Visual Merchandising and Design awards to retailers Aeropostale and Ralph Lauren.
Next year’s show is scheduled for December 7-9.