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Window Wonderland

From eschewing predictable holiday motifs to weaving attention-grabbing narratives, 2019’s holiday windows were a gift for the senses.




THEMES AND TRENDS were varied for 2019’s holiday windows – a dash of whimsy, a sprinkle of wonder and a pinch of interactivity with a small dose of neon and LEDs for good measure.

Something Joanna Roopchand, Visual Merchandising Manager, Coach (New York), identified as an emerging trend are “modern takes” on traditional themes. “This can include moving elements, the use of non-traditional materials or digital/interactive integration. While modern, the overall concept still creates a feeling of warmth, excitement and childhood nostalgia that you want customers to feel during the holidays,” she says.

The theme of Coach’s holiday windows was “Nostalgic Holiday,” which was a challenge, Roopchand explains, to create displays with new product that felt retro but not dated. “We had to do a lot of research on late ’70s/early ’80s movies, department stores and how families used to decorate their homes for the holidays,” she says.

Other window themes were bordering on whimsy and escapism. Take El Palacio de Hierro’s (Mexico City) storied displays, which aimed to produce a sense of magic and wonder in 2019.

“The most recurrent theme is ‘fantasy’ as a general idea,” says Lourdes Méndez, Director of Visual Presentation, El Palacio de Hierro, about the trends she observed in 2019’s windows. “People are really looking to distract their minds from the day-to-day chaos and tragic events that we see in the world today, so retailers tapped into that insight to present a more hopeful and fantastic representation of the holidays.”

Reflecting that idea, El Palacio’s windows centered on a “magic trend” this year, Méndez says. Designers created a beauty fairy, fashion fairy and toy fairy, characters modeled after the retailer’s holiday advertising campaign that focused on three fairies creating magic presents inside Palacio stores.

In the end, the themes and elements don’t matter as much as how they’re executed to win customer attention and increase foot traffic in store. “My nieces loved the Macy’s dog window. Scratching his nose and seeing him move, they were so amazed,” says Roopchand. “That’s what a window should do – stop you in your tracks.”


Carly Hagedon is the Editor-in-Chief of VMSD magazine. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where she studied Journalism—Magazine Writing and American history. She also currently serves as a board member for the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).



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