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Best in Show: “AQUA x Mary Katrantzou Collaboration”

Submitted by: Bloomingdale’s, New York | Photography: Willo Font, New York

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2022 International Visual Competition Best in Show

NOW IN ITS 29th consecutive year, VMSD’s International Visual Competition annually showcases showstopping projects of limited shelf life. And for yet another year in a row, we saw an influx of submissions to the windows, pop-ups/temporary retail and storewide campaign categories. It’s no surprise then, that this year’s Best in Show winner is a jaw-dropping non-holiday window campaign – one that took literal years of planning due to unintentional delays – that mixes digital and physical design elements, resulting in a dynamic display of decadent patterns.

Created specifically for Bloomingdale’s private label, AQUA, and its collaboration with Mary Katrantzou, the winning window series coincided with apparel available in store, an 18-piece collection and four exclusive prints.

ABOVE: Packed with patterns, these non-holiday windows were designed and implemented by Leigh Ann Tischler and her team: Laurent Kurz, Scott Robinson, Todd Mario Voth, G. Felix, Alex Romero and Anthony Negron.

Originally these attention-grabbers were set to debut in 2020, but soon after the Covid pandemic began, everything became delayed. First, the rolls of specially made fabric for the windows were lost in transit and took an epic, yearlong roundtrip in the mail, from places like China to California and back. “The fabric arrived at the store the week we shut down because of Covid in March 2020,” says Leigh Ann Tischler, Director of Windows, Bloomingdale’s. “Once we came back from being furloughed that June, we realized the fabric had arrived but was refused because the store was closed.”

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Adding more roadblocks, the production of the clothing pieces from the collaboration was halted, also due to Covid shutdowns. Finally, in early 2021, the fabric found its way back to the store, and the apparel safely arrived from overseas, allowing the visual team to move forward.

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Beginning with static objects, the team covered furniture and props with the unique prints as well as walls and floors. A video wall toward the back of the windows projected animations with whimsical movement and various animals pulled directly from fabric designs. The windows were also surrounded on the building’s exterior by a digital video frame cycling through the patterns in the collection.

Inside one display, set up like an interior room, a cutout framed the video wall toward the back of the space, mimicking a window; animated parrots derived from a pattern fluttered outside.

“The team had so much fun with it, almost as much as they do with holiday windows,” says Tischler, noting how inspirational – and exciting – the fabric was to work with.

I don’t know how to explain the feeling that I get when the windows are complete and open, and we’re all standing on the sidewalk looking at them,” Tischler says. “It’s just a feeling of pride about how good my team is, they’re just exceptionally talented.”

It’s safe to say that our 2022 judges would agree.

PHOTO GALLERY (6 IMAGES)

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