How Window Displays become Story Tellers: London

Lisa Le PeurianHi! I’m Lisa and I’m Guest Blogging for Scarlet Opus. I moved to London in January, where I’ve been inspired by the culture, fashion, design, and fast pace of life, but most of all by the shopping! A trip down Oxford Street is now a daily (very expensive) route to work for me… so come along and have a look at the shopping temptations I face…

Walking down Oxford Street through the hustle & bustle of people – tourists, workers and street performers – with the noise of the buses, traffic and jibber-jabber of voices, there is nowhere to escape, nowhere to hide, nowhere to find peace and quiet other than the silent stillness of a shop window. I’m drawn in by the tranquility of the untouchable beauty juxtaposed against the heavily crowded streets of London.

oxford st

During a days shopping on Oxford street you pass many window displays but at the height of luxury in the West End, no one does it quite as well as Selfridges & Co, with its gilded gold, Art Deco surrounding, and ornate columns beautifully framing the windows below.

selfridgesSelfridges London East Corner by Andrew Meredith

‘Bug’s Diner’ is definitely my favorite window at Selfridges this season, with pastel colours, neon signs, jukebox and bugs!? This strange and fun mix of classic 50s, brought together with large plastic bugs, is very disconcerting in a diner setting but is interesting and eye-catching, and adds an intriguing shock factor. The full swing skirts, matching twin sets and pastel rinse wigs really create a strong retro vibe. The mono colour blocks on the mannequins work well against the checkerboard tile effect background and chrome finishes:


Alongside the diner window is the ‘Meet the Mixologist‘ window.  It’s part of the “Meet the Makers” promotion that Selfridges are hosting this season, enabling you to go along and meet the different personalities behind the making of the products, bars and restaurants that are within Selfridges. There are “live demonstrations, tours and tastings”. The ‘Meet the Mixologist’ window includes diffused pastel backdrops and neon lighting, with rotating ombres of liquor bottles screaming summer city party time:

mix-for-WEBIn complete contrast to these flirty and fun pastel tones and vibrant electric lights is the ‘Meet the Bakers‘ window display. The use of muted tones, bare wood and deep mint green bring a real feeling of comfort and authenticity, with freshly baked bread displayed in the window. Evocative touches are created by the left behind remnants of a customer – an umbrella, newspaper, coat, coffee cup and half eaten roll, reminding us of the simpler things in life:


Meet the Distillery‘ is the story behind the making of gin, which is of course a big part of the summer party scene.  But this window is presented in a stripped back style – a gentlemen’s library, among which the distillery equipment is displayed in the middle along with the home comforts of an armchair, book cases and dog bed (which actually represents Darcy the Labrador’s bed, who belongs to the founders of Cambridge Distillery, Will Lowe and his wife Lucy). It’s a very personal scene that tells a story behind the product you’re buying into, and it’s very comforting and draws you in.

Gin-for-WEBAnother department store that has taken a look at “The Makers” is Harrods.  Their windows are currently dressed to show unfinished garments and accessories, showing the pattern work and construction which tells the story behind how and where the pieces are made:

undressed-for-WEBSome of the ‘Maker’ themed Harrods windows have a big focus on handbags, and there are also handbags that are showcased with graffiti scrawled across them and the mannequins:


This graffiti theme is seen in lower end retail shops such as Topshop too, where splashes of colour decorate the surrounding surfaces of the window display. This look actually reminds me of Holi fest – the festival of colour, which was lots of fun this summer in London, throwing coloured chalk at one another!


Our thanks to Lisa Le Peurian for sharing her store window story finds with us.

If you’re attending TISE East at Miami Beach and you’re interested in learning more about creating store window displays based around storytelling and trend themes, then join Phil & Victoria on their exciting 2 part Workshop on October 20th More details here HERE

Whatever happened to Zak?

Cast your mind back a couple of years and if you’ve been reading our blog since around 2012/13 you might recall a Work Placement student at Scarlet Opus called Zak who wrote a whole bunch of posts and helped to create our Autumn/Winter 2014/15 & trend boards.

zak and vAlthough Zak left us last summer to return to University to complete her degree, we’ve kept in touch and kept a keen eye on her development during her final year until last month Zak finally finished her degree and showcased her final collection.  And today we’re proud to share that collection with you!

Zak’s print designs were heavily influenced by our ‘Dangerous Apparitions’ trend forecast for 2014 (it’s a trend that Catherine took inspiration from for our dark, seductive Valentine’s Day post this year which included a fab montage showing how to translate the trend for Interiors – check it out if you missed it!).  It was fascinating for us to see Zak’s take on our trend and her translation into a truly sumptuous wallpaper collection.  Below Zak talks us through her designs, the inspiration and intention:

1ABOVE: Initial inspiration board

‘Hidden wonders” is a concept which is based upon what lies beneath the surreal transparency of the wild garden. It has an explosion of colour from my artistic expression of the imagination through dreams, free of conscious control and is linked with the perception of reality. It is a naturalistic approach revealing the unconscious and relating it to the realistic world, as there is ‘more that meets the eye’.


ABOVE: Initial Market board

It has two characteristics – dark seductive surrealism fused with light delicate femininity creating a mysterious mood full of soft, dreamy layers of the natural environment, which intervenes with releasing the imagination.

3ABOVE: Final wallpaper designs

The aim of the project was to create a tranquil, relaxing spa environment, which is stress free and transports the mind to a heavenly haven. It is an ultimate vision for a luxury majestic spa that is designed for the high-end of the market.


ABOVE: Close-up sections of Market board showing design in-situ

The wallpaper and cushions give the appearance of tactile textures and allows one to explore the potential of the luscious natural floral wild garden. The inspiration and creativity forms an escape to a Riviera of bloom and allows the individual to drift into a dream, opening doors to a new reality.


ABOVE: Close-up images of designs on cushions on Market board

78We are pleased to announce that Zak was awarded a 2:1.  Congratulations!!!

As she sets out on her journey into industry we wish her well.

zakYou can contact Zak regarding commissions or employment via:

Trend Seminar at Decor + Design 2014

If you’re one of our avid Australian blog readers or Twitter followers then we’ve got some exciting news for you!  We know attending one of our Trend Seminars would normally involve a lot of travelling for you, and that’s why we’re so thrilled to be able to announce that we’re coming to YOU … well, as far as Melbourne anyway.


As part of the fantastic line-up of international speakers at Decor + Design 2014 our Lead Futurist, Victoria Redshaw, will be presenting a seminar entitled ‘Design & Colour Trends for Interiors 2015 & Beyond’ at 12 o’clock on Thursday 10th July.  During her 50 minute presentation she’ll explore the key design trends for Interiors for 2015 (and beyond) including a brief look at how we forecast design trends at Scarlet Opus.  Victoria will explain the factors driving each trend’s emergence and then discuss in detail their translation into the key colours, patterns, materials, shapes, and styles for interiors & interior products.  And then there’ll be the chance to ask Victoria questions.

This seminar will provide crucial content if you’re a Retailer of interior products, an Interior Designer, a Manufacturer of products for interiors, a Journalist / Blogger or simply passionate about all things decor + design!

We really hope you’ll come along and join us.  To find out more and book your seat click HERE.

London Design Festival: The Bits You Might Have Missed

We’re always keen to share our fab findings and easily overlooked design gems with you.  So when our past intern Gemma Tovey offered to visit some of the smaller shows and exhibitions being held during London Design Festival and guest blog for us, we knew we’d have an interesting and inspiring post to share.  Here’s what Gemma discovered … 

GT headDuring London Design Festival (from the 14th – 22nd September) I took some time out from the major exhibitions to visit some of the smaller shows around the city, on the look out for inspiration and trends for my final year at the University of Huddersfield where I’m studying Surface Design. 

Firstly I visited British European Design Group  – Caribbean Design Diaspora which celebrated the best outstanding creative talent of black artists and designers from 2010 – 2012. It was located in central London next to the Oxo Tower in a very old building. There was quite a nice level with some beautiful hand woven black & white textiles, which I saw again later at 100% Design by African Authentique:

African Authentique

Having been inspired by my recent trip to Malawi I then also visited Platform at Habitat, “Graphic Africa” which showcased 16 designers from around Africa as part of their ‘centre for culture’ project to encourage and inspire other local design businesses and to promote designers talent. This was quite a small exhibition inside one of Habitat’s shops on Kings Road in central London:

Habitat montage 1

Habitat 2

I then went onto Squint, a London based brand which showed a bespoke, handcrafted range of furniture, lights and mirrors, inspired by traditional patchwork updated in bold striking materials and colours. These were shown alongside the quirky work of ceramic artist Myung Nam An:


Whilst on route to my next exhibition near Oxford Street, I also came across a rather interesting window display at Anthropologie “365 – a year in cups” by Gwyneth Leech. The installation consisted of hand drawn and painted cups:

Window Display

Finally I visited CAMAC Design 5th annual student wallpaper competition exhibition which showed a ranged of new wallpaper designs, both 2D and 3D.  Inspiration was drawn from archival resources from both personal archives and those collected through the museums:

CAMAC Montage

Many thanks to Gemma for sharing her design discoveries.