Tag Archives: merchandising

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


Lanvin St. Honore

18 Feb

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Simply perfect, always leave it to the French.  Lanvin’s early Spring windows are stunning, simple, chic and I’m jealous. this is exactly my favorite type of display. The COLORS are luscious, After having done display for years I understand the use of packaging. I cant tell you how many times I’ve resorted to bags or boxes. It’s always been the Display mans last choice [due to lack of budget or concept] Budget was not a concern for Lanvin and look what a great set of window they produced.

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Fashion names star in Apple Mac’s 30-years ad

6 Feb

Mac celebrates 30 years with a creative approach, designers endorse the infinite possibilities of the tool in thier art. 3D printing is changing everything.  Thanks to Fashion and Mash

fashion and mash


Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen is one of several fashion creatives to star in a new ad from Apple, a spot filmed using a series of iPhones over the course of just one day.

1.24.12, as it’s called (for the day it was shot), is a celebration of 30 years of the Macintosh. When the Mac was introduced, it promised to put technology in the hands of the people, Apple says, launching “a generation of innovators who continue to change the world”.

Van Herpen is seen in her Amsterdam studio working on one of her elaborate creations at about 43 seconds in. While many fashion designers work on a Mac these days, she is one of a few who also turns her ideas into reality using a 3D printer.

“Iris van Herpen initially saw the computer as a strictly two-dimensional environment. For someone who often begins the creative…

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The Dollar is the New Quarter

3 Feb

snow day 3

Yesterday it was 48 degrees the snow from previous storm was gone, not so this morning its coming down thick and wet. For a brief moment my thoughts had turned to Spring but now it seems  winter is here to stay. Time for the bread and milk run again. off I went to the “Stop and Go” our local 24/7 junk food resource. OK, bread, half and half,  a can of coffee and a few packets of ramen noodles, that’s all I need to survive the latest assault. Waiting in line I noticed the cashier unpacking new product. Upon closer inspection I saw it was a local favorite Zitner’s chocolate covered Easter eggs. It’s 20 degrees snow is falling and its Easter? I am fully aware that in my profession pushing the next season is simply a matter of course, but REALLY Easter Eggs? I’m not ready for this, even though their butter creams with dark chocolate are heaven.

I asked for a few when she told me that will be 3.67 I was shocked, these used to be 35 cents a piece, now they are 1.19. Oh man! To add insult to injury they shrunk to half the size, [just like everything has of late, even Oreos] I’m just not meant for this world anymore. I hate sounding like my father in the 60’s complaining that his Chevy new was 2.500. “My first used Oldsmobile sold for 100 bucks” he would exclaim. I can’t even imagine his reaction if he knew that  Chevy loaded would be 26.000 today. A price which sounds reasonable to me. Cars are not candy Easter eggs, they don’t shrink with increasing materials costs [just pay more for options you don’t need] To prove my point look at the photo with a quarter next to the egg. Proof positive that a dollar is the new quarter.

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Henry Callahan..The Height of Display

20 Jan

When I reflect upon my career I guess I’ve been a lucky guy. I’ve been able to support myself freelance during most of it, except during the last recession which struck the worst blow to retail I have ever experienced. Which, I might add is still lingering on. Retail is just not the same since. The advent of the internet hasn’t helped brick and mortar either. There will always be a “high-end” customer that delights in personal service,but they have become an endangered species. There are simply not enough of them to support the huge amount of retailers yearning for their dollar. The local retailer has had a hard time remaining competitive in the face of the invasion of the “big box” merchants. All in all the last eight years have been bleak.

To combat the malaise in the retail sector lets look back to the Golden Era of retail, the post war years when their was a “chicken in every pot and a car in every driveway. Every boomer remembers tagging along with mom as she dragged us through the great department stores that once where a fixture in every town and city center. Those days of doormen,excellent service and sparkling merchandise,made a lasting impression on me that shaped my future and are still the measure by which I judge my own work.

During my post Art school days I was fortunate to have met Henry Callahan the master of classic display .Mr. Callahan, who was born in Oakland, Calif., grew up in Philadelphia, where as a teen-ager he became a display apprentice to Strawbridge & Clothier’s department store. He later became head of window display at Lord & Taylor in New York City and display head for Schenley, the liquor concern.

In 1957, he joined Saks Fifth Avenue, where he became a vice president and the corporate director of visual merchandise. He retired in 1977. His favorite windows, he once told an interviewer, were of Southern belles napping in hammocks and wearing lace pastel-colored dresses. A hidden mechanism made their chests gently rise and fall as they slept.

I met Henry through a common friend who had tagged me as a perfect display man [before I knew it myself] Henry was retired and living in a snug town house on the very fashionable Delancey Street in Philadelphia. I remember well sitting in his front parlor as he poured tea from a beautiful Limoges pot and spoke to me about his days at Saks as he turned the pages of his scrap books [many scrapbooks] his words still stick in my mind, “You must wear many hats” he said “you must be an artist first and then a painter, a carpenter, a tailor, an architect, and a janitor” Henry had no fantasies about a life in retail, “You have to love what you do or do something else” Henry was kind and introduced me to a number of contacts that launched my career. His words still come to me when I feel I had chosen the wrong path, that I should have chosen a more secure profession and work 9 to 5 for 30 years and retire with a pension. Too late for that now…and I still believe you have to love what you do… Thanks Henry, you were right.

Now for a beautiful collection of Mr Callahan’s work, impeccable, timeless and without equal.

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American Apparel …Just Plain Vulgar

18 Jan

I don’t even want to post the photos of the latest window display that American Apparel installed at their Houston Street Shop. I even hate to write this and give them the satisfaction of the publicity. Female mannequin anatomically correct right down [literally] to pubic hair is just plain vulgar.

I’ve been a visual merchandiser my entire life and in my younger days crossed a few line into bad taste but never anything as taboo as this. I am anything but prudish, and consider myself “modern” in the choices I make into display themes. The only consolation is that it’s just a window display and will soon disappear [none to soon for me]

The breasts I can deal with but the rest is just beyond my imagining.

The breasts I can deal with but the rest is just beyond my imagining.

Here’s the link….which I hesitate to post...http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/style/American-Apparel-mannequins-go-all-natural-Pubic-hair-shocks.html

Jack and Jackie..Icons of Camelot

16 Jan

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Retailers never miss an opportunity to capitalize on celebrity. The Kennedy White House was without a doubt a gold mind of possibilities. The 60’s was a breath of fresh air across the nation. After decades of old unattractive presidents and first ladies [Mamie Eisenhower] we had a young beautiful couple as leaders of the free world. John F. was a Harvard grad,Pulitzer prize winner and a war hero, the son of an ex Diplomat to England. Raised in Massachusetts his family summered on Cape Cod and played touch football on the lawn,very American and a very eligible bachelor. Jacqueline Bouvier attended Vassar College, (freshman and sophomore years, college)  University of Grenoble and Sorbonne, Paris, France (junior year abroad program through Smith College), George Washington University, Washington, D.C. (senior year, college), B.A. French literature. A very well turned out young woman.

They married in 1953 and founded the Camelot dynasty, Jack the youngest American president cut a dashing hat less figure and Jackie became the epitome of restrained good taste in all things. Every woman in America wanted to emulate the First Lady who adored all things French including her favorite designer Oleg Cassini. The Cassini’s appointment by Jacqueline Kennedy as her exclusive couturier in 1961 dubbed him her “Secretary of Style” and provided him a position of prestige. “We are on the threshold of a new American elegance thanks to Mrs. Kennedy’s beauty, naturalness, understatement, exposure and symbolism,” Cassini said when his selection as the couturier to shape the entire look of the First lady was announced.

It should come as no surprise that enterprising display manufacturers would grab the chance to produce the Jack and Jackie mannequin couple.

Jackie at a fitting

Jackie at a fitting

Not quite Chanel

Not quite Chanel

Jackie moved a lot of Chanel knock-offs

Jackie moved a lot of Chanel knock-offs

JFK and Jackie on 7th ave.

JFK and Jackie on 7th ave.

On the retail campaign trail

On the retail campaign trail

Everyone Loved the Kennedys

Everyone Loved the Kennedy’s

Gone but not forgotten

Gone but not forgotten


A Parisienne Christmas

8 Dec


The Shopping Bag Hangs Itself

3 Dec
Clever novelty

Clever novelty

This is a clever idea, Origami hits your closet.  Imagine Joan Crawford’s frustration when trying to beat her child with a paper hanger. This is not a solution for “Closet Snobs” like me, its taken years for me to achieve a set of matching hangers, which I derive a great deal of pleasure from. I know it sounds stupid but it’s just one of those small rewards that advanced age provides us. Twice a year when I change the seasonal selection in my closets I edit hangars and replace those that offend me. I’m proud of my selection of wooden hangers [some of which are from vintage hotels]  A career in retail has made me hyper aware of the “perceived value” a hanger bestows upon a garment. One does not hang your best pieces on cheap hangers, I practice what I preach…..”NO WIRE HANGERS” [or paper shopping bags for me] The bag hanger idea is perfect only for a younger set with a limited wardrobe. The “green” aspects are noble, I respect that, a perfect novelty for Old Navy or H&M to enhance their sustainable image. Disposable garments deserve disposable hangers for efficient recycling.

check it out….http://gizmodo.com/a-paper-shopping-bag-that-transforms-into-a-hanger-back-1472792848#!

Shop Local

30 Nov
It’s not that I dislike the big box retailers, I readily admit that I adore stores like Ikea and Target, it’s just that I am very committed to small owner operated shops. My entire career is due to local retailers. In this Christmas display I let it rip, for two reasons, Number 1, I have been doing Ernesto Custom Tailors for 20 years and have a part in their success, Number 2, they are located in my old hood. South Street Philadelphia.
I have a soft spot for South Street, it played a large part in my life. In the 70’s it was in decline, an all but completely abandoned neighborhood facing destruction to make way for a cross town expressway. That is until the “art” crowd in due to cheap rents. South Street was the first example of what happens when the creative set takes over. Those years saw a wonderful mix of residents and a sense of community, that made the hood prosper again. It’s been 30 years and the street has seen many changes, both good and bad, but it’s still there and I had something to do with the fact.
Ernesto pre-dates the decline, they are the original residents. This year I decided to take a stand with a statement window, for them and South Street and me.


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