Tag Archives: Business

Milton Glaser teams up with Mad Men

10 Mar

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If you are not familiar with  Milton Glaser now is the time to catch up. Mr. Glaser was extremely prominent in advertising graphics during the 60’s and 70’s The champion of “instant recognition” his bold statements have become iconic.

2-milton glaser logos - Google Search - Google Chrome 3102014 105102 AMHis minimal approach created some of the most familiar logos in the world of advertising, many of which are still in use and as fresh today as they were decades ago.1-milton glaser - Google Search - Google Chrome 3102014 104939 AMThere is no mistaking the psychedelic influence of the late 60’s, hence the new partnership with the creative crew who are responsible for the production of  Mad Men The series became extremely popular due its depiction of the goings on in a high powered advertising agency. A cross-generational success due to the number of Baby boomers who remember it well and the 30 somethings who still can’t believe that smoking , drinking  and fraternizing was common place during work once upon a time. I really miss those days of press type, hand done layouts and cocktails for lunch.

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Time and fashion move on, as it must for Mad Men as well. It will be interesting to watch the Sterling agency move forward into the past. The question is. How far can they go? Will they push into the 70’s? and what happens when they are asked to take on the publicity for big shoulders of “Dynasty” in the 80’s.

The New York Times Article, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/arts/design/mad-men-enlists-the-graphics-guru-milton-glaser.html

Milton Glaser….http://www.miltonglaser.com/

Mad Men…http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men


Times they are Really Changing

25 Feb

1-Nate Berkus And Boyfriend Star In Banana Republic's First Same-Sex Ads - Google Chrome 2252014 62548 PM


Banana Republic has launched a same sex campaign using real couples, Nate Berkus and his fiance Jeremiah Brent and are they ever cute.

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3-Nate Berkus And Boyfriend Star In Banana Republic's First Same-Sex Ads - Google Chrome 2252014 62642 PM

Other retailers are “coming out” as well….take a look at Buzzfeed.. http://www.buzzfeed.com/juliegerstein/nate-berkus-boyfriend-banana-republic-ads

Mannequins…..An Imitation of Life

12 Dec

Mannequins……My friends and enemies, I’ve been schlepping mannequins around for longer than I care to relate. Any display person will tell you that its a love hate relationship that one builds with our silent partners. If you have been working with the same “family’ for any length of time a dialogue develops between you and them.

I am the father of a group of  Rootsteins that have obediently portrayed my role assignments in a formal wear window  for 25 years. They have suffered every humiliation to fit into the latest tableau. I will illustrate:


The Lucky guy who got the girl


Still the lucky guy but she also had a fling with his Best-man.DSCN0751

who works as a waiter/chef [which is why she dumped him]


She discovers the man she married is a beast.


Despite his beastly intentions he takes her on a Caribbean cruise.


Which leaves our Best-man to seek a suitable girlfriend.


So…Its back to the restaurant where he meets Joan Collins preparing for Christmas.


Joan is not interested.


Joan leaves to attend a Christmas Fete but forgets her wig.


and our poor Best-man shaves his head to make Joan feel comfortable in public.


But Joan has found a new prospect and hes a sharp dresser..no kitchens with this guy.


Our beastly groom got dumped in Bermuda and is back where he started from.

I hope you enjoyed my little tableau drawn from previous windows. now read a interesting article to give you a bit a back round on our partners in crime and window dressing.


Mr.Repurposed, Alex Calderwood Dies at 47

17 Nov
Alex Calderwood founder of the Ace Hotels has died of undisclosed causes. He was an early proponent of the repurposed look that has become widely accepted in restaurants, retail stores, and home decor. His Ace hotels boasted in room turntables, Industrial fixtures and other “cheap chic” before the more widely accepted and cross generational term “repurposed” came along. Calderwood was right on time with his concept, the recession changed everything. calderwood was offering an alternative to the drop dead chic of hotels like the “W” chain. Appealing to a broader clientele, those with money who want to appear edgy and those who are really “edgy” but without the funds. A brilliant move.
Follow the money, the post recession retail scene has divided retail into two camps. The “haves” and the “have nots” On the right we have the designer brand driven retail stores popping up everywhere the likes of Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Coach, Henri Bendel, Restoration Hardware and Anthropologie are in every A class suburban mall. Some like Anthropolgie are disguising products made in China as “vintage” throw backs to exploit the trend in order serve a clientele that would never step foot in a second hand shop and need the security of spending too much for brand recognition. Ace Hotels transcended the cost of being “hip” he referred to them as Art projects.
On the left we have hundreds of dollar stores and the owner operated consignment and “vintage” shops. Twenty years ago vintage was called “thrift” and only the more Bohemian boomers (like myself) scoured them for cheap mid century. Repurposed has become the new chic, one can claim that recycling is due to a social conciousness, but behind it all is the diminished buying power of the middle class customer.[the thirty somethings with children] We are also are in the midst of a generation shift, todays millennials working for a minimum wage have no choice, but to shop H&M, Old Navy, Target or the last resort, Walmart.
The road to success can be a dangerous ride, for some the trip is short.

Truth in Advertising

26 Oct

A bit of controversy has swirled around the Brits banning Dior’s latest campaign for the “New Look” mascara. I find this humorous on so many levels.

1. Has there ever been truth advertising?

2.The Brits are world-famous for televising the most vulgar shows ever produced, remember Benny Hill ? so why be upset with this.

3. For the most part most women have become skeptical when it comes to cosmetic claims, notice I did say “most women”

4. Dior must be turning over in his grave due to the use of  “New Look” for mascara. In the annals of fashion history his “The New Look” after the war is legendary.

5. If there was a full disclosure mandate in advertising there would be no advertising

6. If there was no advertising there would be no commerce.

7. If there was no commerce we would revert to a “Hunter- Gatherer” society

8. If we reverted the world would be a better place.

9. Maybe the Brits are right after all.

Gotta Try it On

26 Oct


                                                               Doesn’t surprise me…Nothing can replace the real experience.

Gone to the Dogs

30 Sep

Upon occasion a window change can lead to a  new direction or maybe even real “Art”. I think I hit upon something today.Due to the various and endless opinions on what is “Art” and what is not, I will leave it to the viewer to decide [which is where it belongs anyway]Image

It’s Sunday afternoon and have a window change coming up in less than 10 hours, what to do?  much to my surprise I came up with a good attention-getter [I constantly amaze myself that I still have what it takes] The product is Fall suits and jackets in shades of blue, hence my tag is “True Blue” OK.. now what does true blue conger up? The first thing that came to mind are dogs,”Mans best friend” they are certainly true blue. Why not? everyone loves canines, can’t lose. First to Google then to Staples for printing, three hours later and I have a pack of pooches, mounted and cut out, little “standees” like in movie house lobbies.


“Sit.Stay” That’s a good boy

As I was cleaning the spray glue off the poor war-torn hands it occurred to me what a great photo opp they would make if I took them in front of my house and posed them around my planter and sidewalk tree [perfect i thought, every hipster in the hood lets them pee out there, now is my chance, a pee-less pooch or maybe a dog scare crow. Anyway it will be fun,what the hell.


Com’on Maggie do it for Daddy

Much to my surprise the effect was rather good,I spent a long time looking for above head for-shortened photos [easier to cut out who needs all those limbs] It looks like a dog, a strange dog,  but none the less humorous and humor sells.


“Rolf” says stay away from my tree

I was rather proud of my accomplishment so I posted on Face Book my friends all loved it, some even labeled it “Art”


I  think I’m on to something here or is it just another window display, maybe I’m channeling Patti Page. All that remains to be seen, although if the question. “How much is that doggie in the window?” pops up after I install this, I will know I crossed over…”Display as Art” and a new career. WOOF!

Long Time No Write

29 Sep

Its been quite awhile since I’ve  posted. Honestly its due to the fact that I have been busy as hell.  Been a long haul but I think retail is making a comeback [at least here in Philadelphia] I’ve designed and built 6 stores since May and that’s REAL good considering that the previous three years were death. Lynne and I have been knockin out carts and short-term shops in a number of local malls and even a few Food Court take-outs.

Kitchenette was back in early spring, A long hard job, but I loved it. The owner is my longest running client [30 years] and we have built and remodeled countless times. At this point our rapport is right to the point,no bullshit lets just get this job done is our common mantra.

Lots of small items and pegboard

I love Harriet Nelson’s quote

The next was Wayne Sporting Goods, another familiar client, over the years we have remodeled piece by piece their two-story shop on Philadelphia’s mainline. Before and Afters are the best way to illustrate the difference. I haven’t had time to get out there and take finish shots.so these will have to do

A very before shot

After….Cleaned up and spacious

Not thrilled with the cyclone fixtures

After….a huge difference

I’m sure some you know that I have worked for formal wear retailers for a long time. Gallelli’s is an Italian family business. I really respect their old world, three generations in the bis establishment, as local as local gets.

I remember what “Window Trimmers” used to do..

After… Bond, James Bond, “Shaken not Stirred”

Before…Need I say anything?

After…Now this is “Formal Wear”

Revzilla Motorsports has kept me busy for the last year. The office expansion was a big step which I helped with and now another move will take them to a completely new office, warehouse and retail store [which you will see in the future] For now a before and after of the employee lounge

A former Mummer clubhouse with a plywood bar

After Retro-Industrial refit

As I said Lynne and I have done a good deal of cart merchandising as well…The before shots are generally so ugly I can’t even record them for retail posterity …The After shots are a different matter. We laugh a lot on these gigs to keep from crying.

No, they don’t expand your biceps..

Energy bracelets…God knows I need one

The next set was my favorite..SPLAT! The latest juvenile must have…They are strange alien animals that when thrown at a suface splat and stick..Needless to say this juvenile [me] loved it..I threw them on every surface I could find, signs,marble,display windows you name it..it stuck..great fun.

Only disappointment is they don’t stick to flesh.

Splat cart…

How could I forget… Layla’s Boutique a chic little shop in a really tough space [all glass] No problem we have a solution for every retail quandary. No befores it was a shoe store,who moved out under the darkness of night. This was a quick job,but Lynne is a wiz at bows and over the top children’s wear. Thank goodness I don’t have to do the bows anymore. Yes Layla is a real child and very cute.

Floor to ceiling fixtures saved the day

Printed valances minimize the “off the shelf'” out riggers.

Layla is adorable.

“That’s all she wrote” Lets all hope for a good Holiday season…and  continuing growth for retail.













“That’s all she wrote” Lets all hope for a good Holiday season…and  continuing health for retail.

Me,Julia Child and Peg Board

15 Jun

I recently finished an installation that nearly finished me. Kitchenette is a 3k sq. ft. retail space for all things cooking. The job left me longing for the days of ladies r.t.w. Soft goods are easy to merchandise,a steamer,a tagging gun and a rolling rack and your done. this is not the case with hard goods that are every imaginable size, shape and use.

This is the second location for the shop,the first just proved to be too small. The one thing I was firm about from the beginning of the design process was the use of commercial gondolas,I learned the hard way that one CANNOT build a cookware shop without pegboard. I know that pegboard is a dirty word in the realm of visual merchandising but take it from me, when faced with hundreds of gadgets there is no alternative, and don’t think grid panels will work either. I did make a concession to wood slat-wall in the end caps for a more upscale look.

Smart display provided the cube shelving units that line the window display areas and although their non-adjust ability can be frustrating at times, a good deal of product does fit and makes for a clean modern look’

The addition of a few vintage appliances gives the look a bit of humor and funk that I am always content with. The faux stack stone is  a reference to 60’s ranch houses that as of late are taking on a charm they did not have 20 years ago. The turquoise and yellow-green are a bow to current fashion that has crept into much of the house ware fabrication as well.

Since the shops opening we have re-merchandised it countless times. The peg board panels are a God send when it comes to display and adaptability. I am constantly reminded of the scene in the film “Julie and Julia” when Julia Child’s husband was drawing outlines around a frying pans hanging from peg board in her kitchen. If it was good enough for Julia it is certainly good enough for me.

Thanks Julia

Here’s the link to more photos   http://www.flickr.com/photos/vori52/sets/72157629876216533/

and here’s the link to Kitchenette online http://www.shopkitchenette.com/

Everything Old

10 Jun

They say that “everything old is new again” So true, recently I have resurrected Fornasetti the Italian designer who was in vogue during the 70’s. I’ve always been attracted to his female in disguise series,which was available in every way imaginable,plates,wallpaper,ties,scarves,you name he did it. I still have a few of [now vintage] ties.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain as a visual merchandiser I am constantly in search of the perfect tag line. My latest window for a custom tailor client proved to be the perfect marriage of image and tagline. The ever-so-slightly crossed eyes of this female portrait are mesmerizing.

I found the response to be more positive than I expected. Those who remembered him were delighted to see it again and those who were not around 30 years ago were impressed with the images. The perfect cross-generational display. It is always gratifying to hit the nail on the head.

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