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VM choice: Marc Jacobs VM at Harrods

In a classic brand extension move, the new Marc Jacobs beauty range is being given an enormous promotion at Harrods. The oversized VM props of the key elements in the range, created by Harlequin Design, include everything a colossal customer could possibly need for the perfect make-over.

Filling the front windows at the West end of the store is a giant Dali-style pair of lips composed entirely from glossy lipsticks. To the right, on the black and white stripy floor, is an almost rocket-scaled lipstick, paired elsewhere with a king-sized lip-liner and an enormous eyeliner.

The concept, by Chameleon, features a monumental mascara filling a low plinth in front of two theatre-style make-up stations, both arrayed with the cosmetics range. The brush is particularly compelling as mascara is the key component in contemporary make-up looks. Compare the huge scale of the brush with the electrical socket to the right side of the image to comprehend the massive scale.

Slightly echoing Selfridges’ poured frozen liquid windows from 2015, the black nail polish pouring its prodigious contents is luscious and compelling, almost a fascinating ‘worse nightmare’ scenario. It is all too easy to imagine the top coming off a nail polish bottle and the subsequent sticky mess, amplified here by the gargantuan scale.

A black eye-shadow palette fills the store window. It holds a colour selection from classic powder blue through pearly white to girly pink, with a neatly set mirror in the lid enabling passersby a perfect view of themselves. This is a smart piece of VM as it is a conventional retailing truth that customers like to check their own reflections, and will slow down in order to do so. Installing a mirror visible from outside the store encourages people to slow down and to see more of the Marc Jacobs’ collection.

A further mirror, again ringed by flattering light - no shadows – is paired with a quote from Marc Jacobs. Reflecting contemporary practice, Jacobs observes he was never interested in Miss Manners’ comments. Today, lipstick is no longer discreetly reapplied in the ladies’ cloakroom, but at the table, on the train, and in other public areas. The nicety that this was once considered bad manners, refers to the idea that this action and others concerning personal appearance were customarily performed in private. And therefore to complete them in public was to slight any onlookers, as though to suggest they were absent, or not worthy of notice. Miss Manners’ well-known U.S. etiquette column, written by journalist Judith Martin, is syndicated to more than two hundred newspapers and online.

Miss Manners might not approve of applying lipstick at the table, nor of dogs with head-phones – this one is based on Neville Jacobs, Marc Jacobs’ French bulldog - but she would surely approve of this quality VM installation.

Photos: Melvyn Vincent