London has a global reputation for being a first class retail destination and at Christmastime the city turns even more magical with retailers, department stores and shopping areas embracing the festive season with lights, holiday windows and decorations to lure the shoppers in.
FashionUnited has been on a tour of London to find the most Christmassy spots, from Selfridges “Rocks Christmas” theme with Rock Santa to Harvey Nichols' windows celebrating the new Mary Poppins Returns movie, while Harrods famous Knightsbridge store has been turned into an emporium of wonder and magic.
It isn’t just the department stores, Victoria Beckham has transformed her Dover Street flagship store with a 16 foot tall Christmas tree, while Stella McCartney’s new Old Bond Street location has been adorned with lights, and Ralph Lauren is having a teddy bear’s Christmas.
Selfridges Rocks Christmas
Luxury department store Selfridges has gone for a high energy rock ’n’ roll theme for its 2018 Christmas theme, centred around the idea of “freedom, exuberance, living for today, and having a rocking time to the accompaniment of a great soundtrack,” which includes showing a very different side of Santa, as Father Christmas has been given a rock and roll twist.
With more than 200 Christmas trees, 85,000 Christmas baubles, 12,000 paper decorations, and over 15,000 metres of LED lights, Christmas at Selfridges is a big operation that takes a team of over 500 people to make its stores all festive, including more than 100 people to put the windows together, which each give a glimpse into the backstage frivolity of Santa on tour.
Windows feature Rock Santa performing against stages made up of glittering backdrops and neon lights, rocking with Mrs Claus against a giant cascading and spiralling piano, as well as showcasing bespoke suits designed by Dilara Findikoglu, Gieves and Hawkes, Walter Van Beirendonck, J Brand, Halpern and Shrimps.
Harrods Emporium of Wonder and Magic
Harrods has filled its famous Brompton Road windows with a series of tableaux of familiar festive rituals from unwrapping gifts and the Queen’s speech, to a Christmas feast and a party, including a very instagrammable Dolce and Gabbana leftover fridge, unwrapping gifts with Bottega Veneta, and dressing up for the party with Elie Saab.
While outside stands an eight-metre Christmas tree on Hans Crescent has been adorned with more than 100 oversized gourmet delights, including cranberries, candy canes and brussel sprouts.
Alex Wells-Greco, creative visual director at Harrods, said: “As experts of the exceptional and makers of magic, it is our job to take our customers on a journey, whisking away their imagination. Luxury is a story, rich in meaning, emotions and moments, and I feel that Fantastica truly touches the pinnacle of sensory storytelling.
“From the windows, our stage to the outside world, to magical moments to surprise our guests within our four walls, we want the Harrods customer to be taken on a limitless journey this Christmas.”
Harvey Nichols Goes for Glamour
There is a celebratory festive feel to the Harvey Nichols Christmas windows at its Knightsbridge store in London, with a giant Champagne bottle filling the first two windows pouring hues of gold and silver along the remaining windows, as a way to “entice and capture the attention of customers”, stated the department store.
Each of the windows features an eye-catching lime green backdrop brimming with twinkling lights and 3D bubbles to showcase the store’s finest gifts from fashion, beauty, food and wine, as well as special collaboration with the new Mary Poppins Returns movie, featuring four original costumes designed by Academy Award-winning designer Sandy Powell and worn by the film’s cast, which includes Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep.
“Our 2018 Christmas windows are all about the exciting festivities that take place during the season; celebrations, parties and catching up with friends,” said Janet Wardley, head of visual display at Harvey Nichols in a statement. “This inspired us to create a luxurious display of dazzling metallic colours, lights and shapes, filled with hero gifting ideas – helping our customer get into the Christmas spirit!”
Victoria Beckham: When Harry Met Victoria
British designer Victoria Beckham, who celebrated her 10th anniversary this year, has dressed up her Dover Street flagship store with pink and green decor in a unique holiday partnership with Harry’s Bar of the Birley Clubs. At the centre of the festive display is a 16 foot tall Christmas tree, as well as over 12,000 baubles filling the ceiling and window, in an installation created by florist Jane Wadham.
Commenting on the takeover, Victoria Beckham said in a statement: “I wanted to have fun this season, and really play with my store space. It has been so important to me, since opening in 2014, that I use the environment to experiment and partner with others – whether this is by bringing in installations, displaying works of art that I admire or by creating something really special for my customer to enjoy – like we have done with Harry’s this festive season.”
Best of the Bond Street Christmas displays in London
While the jewellers on Bond Street have gone for their usual charm, lights, wreaths and garlands, two retailers really stood out, Ralph Lauren and Stella McCartney. The American designer has gone for a teddy bear Christmas, dressing up very dapper teddy bears in key pieces from its holiday collection for a charming take on the festive season. While British designer Stella McCartney has kept up the tradition of lighting up her flagship store with an illuminating displays that spans across the front of the building facade.
Images: courtesy of Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Victoria Beckham, and by Danielle Wightman-Stone