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VM Choice: Smythson of Bond Street

If Visual Merchandising (VM) should surprise and delight us, then stationery and small leather-goods retailer Smythson has definitely done both with its current History of Travel window in its Bond Street store. Featuring a classic aircraft made from multi-colour Smythson products, the extra delight – apart from seeing how beautifully the plane is crafted – is that the propeller actually turns.

Not only does this chime nicely with the WW1 coverage around at the moment, but it enthralls and delights the child in all of us whilst promoting the Smythson Panama diary range. It also enshrines the two major tropes of great VM: using colour and movement to catch customer’s attention.

The plane was created by artist and set designer Billie Achilleos, who has also worked for Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and John Lewis, and was inspired by the classic images of travel: cars, boats, and planes that we see on old travel posters. See the Smythson blog (http://blog.smythson.com) for more ‘how it was constructed’ images.

Sneaking in the Smythson’s social stationery, the plane is tailed by a suspended vapour-trail of blue envelopes, which is also echoed in the cloud/vapour trail of blue envelopes in the opposite window.

The other window in Smythson’s classic store-front shows the product range in its signature bright- colour range against the crisp white full-height window. A series of plinths displays the small leather goods to the fore, and the larger tote bags hung towards the back, making best use of the space. Notice how placing the merchandise on plinths makes it look special? Placing merchandise on the floor of a window never works: it never looks special enough.