The great British summer arrived today and at Proportion’s Emporia event–an exciting collaboration with Blacks Visual –it was Pimm’s o’clock!

The installation reappraises what physical retail means now and explores new possibilities in VM presentations–beyond window dressing–returning to curated vignettes that draw us in and encourage us to explore, wander and linger. 

“I’m really excited to be working with Blacks, who share our reputation for early trend insight and understanding of how that can be turned into tangible use,” Proportion Creative Director Tanya Reynolds said.


Me with Tanya and eStudio3 Creative Director Darren Turrell

“Why can’t a beautiful wooden hand hold a whisk?” she mused as we walked through a kitchen display. “Or elegant stationary?” she asked as we paused over surfaces adorned with pens, diaries, desk lamps and notebooks (Proportion did VM for Smythson’s new London Bond Street store. Drop in–it’s stunning!)

Exciting and inspiring Visual Merchandising seems forgotten with so much focus on digital, she told me. 

It’s time for inspirational visual merchandising to make retail experiential again, she said.

“It’s vital that retailers create emotive store environments by incorporating story-telling in their strategy to sell a lifestyle and not a product,”​ she explained. 

I couldn’t agree more.  Digital is discovery, and it drives footfall to brick-and-mortar. It’s exciting in store experience that encourages us to explore and enjoy our surroundings

Just look at NYC’s ABC Home and Carpet.  Executive Vice President Art and Design Amy Ilias seasonally transforms the lower Broadway flagship from one evocative and immersive lifestyle to the next.  

Tech may get us in store but it’s VM that sells us the lifestyle. 

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Everything is a lot more instant – I think the word we need to use is accelerate.