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VM choice: Kate Spade spring windows

U.S. brand Kate Spade is to be much admired for the excellent display of its iconic, colourful merchandise. Making all those bright colours look good and not a mess is a real skill.

The current windows in the Covent Garden and Sloane Square stores look sharp, featuring a spring-green striped dress from the Spring/Summer collection with classic spring-green props.

Dressed in green and white, two mannequins carry green plastic toy watering-cans, rather as they might a handbag. Their heads are a mass of curling ivy.

The caption of the glass: ‘Plant Great ideas,’ reminds us all of spring-time as being a time of growth, development, and new beginnings, and not only related to gardening.

Above and below the graphic is a jointed wooden glove display hand, suspended from the ceiling of the open-backed window. The hand elegantly holds the handle of a white or green tote-bag filled with trailing fronds of faux ivy. Using the display hand, its nails painted, in this way is a novel idea. Too often we see them reversed: ‘amputated at the wrist’ wooden hands displaying gloves, scarves, or sometimes jewellery. How refreshing to see them doing something.

To underline the green theme, a watering can is suspended high up as though it is about to water the inside of the bag. The touch of humour evoked in this playful treatment of the merchandise is refreshing too. Too often VM can be rather serious.

The side window gives a view into the store, which is painted a flattering and spring-like pale green. Combined with the crisp white shelves, this gives enough colour to bind the interior together but allows for the bright colours for which the brand is best known. A single mannequin wearing a dress from the Spring/Summer range, and a pair of summer sandals displayed on a plinth, are the only items in the window.

The Sloane Square store, with its Arts & Crafts white-painted window frames, retains corner windows with lovely curved glass. Here this part open-backed window features one mannequin again with a ball of ivy for a head, a moss garden-ornament duck, and a cane frog. While the duck is lovely and demonstrates how nicely many garden ornaments can be used as props for VM windows and in-store, it might have been even sweeter had the duck worn the collar and lead held by the mannequin, thus visually linking both elements together. The cane frog is a touch doubtful: it introduces another colour, and another medium in to a very edited display, and I wondered if it is there as a form of feng shui as is often seen in store windows throughout Asia? Feng shui, literally wind water, and originally a form of planning control and architectural design, now appeals to superstitious retailers and their employees, making the use of certain powerful/deflecting/wealth enhancing items imperative in Asian stores and sometimes requiring amendment to layout.

A last window displays another duck, this time in a mirrored position, and the mannequin holds a small green clutch purse taking the place of the green watering cans seen elsewhere.

Overall these windows have a bright spring-like feel with refreshing stripes, which attracts attention, showcases the S/S range, and resonate the tropes of the Kate Spade brand. Add the touch of gentle humour in the playful treatment of the merchandise, and this must be the VM Choice of the week.  What’s not to love?