Happy New Year, to start this year off HMVM meets one of the Artists featured in Selfridges current window scheme ‘Bright Old Things’ See how Roger Miles prepares to unveil his window concept in celebration of the 70’s music scene.

HM: Selfridges Bright Young Things annual window campaign, in your opinion what made Selfridges change the focus from emerging graduates to more established designers/ artists? And how do you feel about being referred to an ‘old thing’?

RM: I think Selfridges were looking for extreme career change's, coming from being an accountant to artist it’s an interesting starting point to explore. They have picked up on an emerging trend happening within the industry and in general, due to people living longer many people decide instead of complete retirement to take up a new skill. I myself studied as a chartered accountant in 1975 for 30 years then ‘5 years ago I thought, in the words of Neil Young, I won’t retire but I might retread’ so decided to go to art school.” It was very noticeable the number of mature students on my degree course, It also follows on from the fashion/ advertising trends that are looking at mature models to feature in their campaigns. Any title that has bright in is ok with me!

HM: How have you developed/adapted your skills to project manage a window scheme or altered the concept of your design being mindful it’s viewed in a retail space?

I presented 2 options, firstly to up-cycle the current Christmas windows using the props to recreate something new in the space – taking inspiration from my 2 month artist-in-residence at my local recycling and re-use centre. My second option which has been selected for the window was to recreate my final degree show installation, resonate/generate taking elements from the mobile library and capsulate and creating an edited version of this.

HM: Has the window restricted your artwork in anyway? What challenges have you had to overcome during the process?

RM: I have faced a few challenges along the way, based on the success of the piece in my final degree show, where I was able to interact with the visitors to the mobile library, engaged in conversation and play music for people to appreciate. This is something that needed re-thinking, as I was unable to play music in the window which was the main feature of the piece originally. Also I think the scale of the project and all the different layers involved I don’t think I ever thought about previously. I will be producing Cyanotype prints for the back wall and the quantity needed is 140 which was an unexpected quantity. All the artists have been asked to produce a window, a piece for the atrium space (which I am making a scaled down model of the mobile library) and also producing limited prints/photographs to sell in store.

HM: What does your window concept represent?

RM: ‘My window is a memorial to a 70’s record store selling my perfect selection of vinyl records of the 70s – a safe haven from the turmoil outside – everyone with heads full of music” the original installation at my degree show was a showcase of my experiences and the poignant effect of this time. The piece also raises many questions about how much progress we have made as a society during the past 50 years.
I actually worked in Selfridge’s bedspread department for 4 weeks during the Christmas of 1975, it’s a seems only fitting to come full circle and be invited back to the doors of Selfridges almost 40 years on as an artist. The Weston family dedicates themselves to the arts and invests heavily, which is great to see as it’s for non-commercial gain.

HM: Have you had to compromise any creativity when working with the Selfridges team? Have they had much influence in the design stage or are you very much left to your own creative vision?

RM: Selfridges have been very supportive of my vision and what I want to achieve during the project and have been there giving the best advice to help balance the window and advise on fashion elements. There was no pressure to include product placement which I was a little surprised about that looking at it from commercial point of view.

HM: Did you seek any advice before thinking of your concept, to be appropriate in a retail environment

RM: I knew from my previous experience that the concept would work and even with adapted elements it was still a positive experience that would involve the viewer. My wife Amanda has been very supportive and given me lots of words of retail wisdom from her background in display/visual merchandising industry. I have been thinking of many ways to enhance the retail experience that’s linked to my window one being selling the 70’s vinyl’s – I believe there is a growth in vinyl sells in retail (reference Urban Outfitters) so it seems to me they are missing a trick here for additional point of sales.

HM: After this experience do you think a relationship between mature artists and retailers is something which should be explored more, if so in what way?

RM: There is defiantly a trend in art at the moment for immersive and interactive art pieces. Performance art is more key, and I believe this can really play into the hands of a retailer to get the customers in-store and more importantly to stay in-store rather than choosing to shop online, so immersive and performance art can provide this experience.

HM: What are your future projects for the New Year?

RM: I have a 2 month residency (March/April) with Proportion London; this will be during the time their Walthamstow factory is closing down as the company is moving to new premesis. I will be partly documenting the closing of the factory through the methods of photography, print and film. Then also taking any other inspiration from the old mannequin parts and machinery remaining in the factory. I am also looking for a residency somewhere else in the world, to take inspiration from somewhere different - ideally in California or Tokyo.

HM: Is this sort of exposure a platform you can use to develop your presence as an artist?

RM: I hope so, this form of showcase is always great to be a part of, it will be tricky to judge people’s reaction with it being transformed into a window space, but maybe I will be able to interact with people in the atrium space in-store.

HM: Do younger artists get more exposure or is the creative industry an industry that doesn't have a 'use by date'?

RM: I think the focus is just about mature artists as it is young at the moment. On my degree course there was a higher percentage of mature artist than young, it feels like there is no ‘used by date’ in the art world no matter what your age you can always carry on being innovative. The fashion world I guess is more focus on youth, but also having said that in recent years mature models have lead big advertising campaigns with huge success and appreciation.

This year christmas trend report features lots of woodland settings, a nod at traditional seasonal imagery and cute miniatures. Here is HMVM's complete London Christmas trend report.

5 Gold Rings:
Metallic colours are a seasonal favourite with Gold as the stand out for this year, teamed with strong geometric shapes.
(Topman, Penhaligons, Roksanda, Saint Laurent, Nicholas Kirkwood, Isabel Marant, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana)

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Department Stores:
Harvey Nichols
If you go down to the woods today, you’ll be sure of a big surprise… these magical jewelled coloured trees grow up through the window and onto the building, hiding between the trucks are these mythical creatures hand-crafted from pipe cleaners.

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The land of make believe with oversized toys brought to life, each window features mice as a story telling detail which adds a cute narrative to the scheme.

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Enchanted Christmas becomes the latest destination at Selfridges, each window portrays a surreal fairy-tale or children’s story book with a fashionista twist. Especially love the atrium space how they have played with text.

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Drawing on the stores historic past, this years Christmas reveal had a festive nautical concept, with oversized sequins shimmering on the back wall and a full sized mast setting sail in the atrium space, finished off with fabulous prints in true Liberty style.

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John Lewis
It was always going to be hard to top last year’s beautifully crafted animals but this years light hearted, strong seasonal message ties into the ad campaign, Pulling on our heartstrings more with Monty, Mabel and family.

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Found It tag is this seasons message, love the graduating colour tones of the lights and how this has been continued across the whole building. Very contemporary way of highlighting Christmas.

Additional story telling elements in the schemes that are able to feature in multi platform campaigns. Mini wooden dolls at Burberry and miniature mice at Harrods.

Paper creations at Tiffany & Co and Christian Louboutin.

Automated cars in a small-scale city scene at Coach.

Pink Santa miniatures at Theo Fennell.

Seasons Greetings:
Bold lettering from Jigsaw and Karl Largerfield.

Freehand doodles at Mulberry with Bottega Veneta showcasing some product delights in a row of festive mailboxes.

Neon lights at Uniqlo and Armani.

Stand Outs:
Freeze frame at Gucci beautifully tumbling product falls out the gift boxes. An absolutely stunning scheme.

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Hermes pearlescent fairground, looks like oversized ornate decorations, love how the brand always incorporate their brand heritage into each window.

Global treasures at Smythson’s, love how this brand keeps reinventing their product in a fun but luxury way.

Clean, simple and stylish of course VB!

A variety of the seasonal classics its great to see how retails adapt by using different materials, colours and story telling to bring the traditional visuals to life.
Gift wrap it with a bow at Louis Vuitton.

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Express delivery at Hackett while at The Conran Shop festive family scenes.

Up-cycled geometric shaped tree fixturing at Levi's while Moschio opted for a traditional tree with all the product trimmings.

Giant size for grand effect at Dior and JCrew.

Luxury baubles always have a fur trim inside! Love this furry fun sized scheme at Prada.

White Out:
Brilliant white block shapes at Dover Street Market.

Ice age arrived at Joseph, strong structural stalactite and stalagmite encases the window.

Simplistic use of symbols to hint at snow (Margaret Howell, Forever 21)

Pulsating lights at Mc Q.

Plaster library at Gant

Woodland Creatures:
With a lot of retailers choosing to take us to an enchanted forest with rows of tree trunks, other decided to focus on the woodland creatures that could be found in the forest. Woodland elements at Watches of Switzerland, paper animals roam between the trunks, while the product is placed on top and inside the bark, also love the scroll notes attached to the trunks.

Hand-crafted animals at Anthropologie, especially love this robin mid flight, continuing the woodland feel throughout the fixtures and in-store displays.

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Woodland foliage in this specular mannequin Mohawk wig at Temperly.

This weeks post focuses on the recent exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery ‘Inside Rolls Royce’ combining craftsmanship with technology creating a pioneering multi-sensory exhibition.

Walking through the exhibition you are stimulated visually as well as having multiple interactive elements in each room. Your mobile phone/tablet becomes your personal tour guide with information being pushed via I beacon technology as you walk through the space on the specially designed app, challenging the format of how we usually behave in an exhibition space.

All four senses were stimulated

Exciting interactive walls and touch screen formats.

The exhibition also had fun pit stops engaging people to explore the space for longer like the top gear leader board for a car game and the family space where people can enjoy sketching and colouring for all ages.

It was fabulous to see the artisans from Goodwood showcasing the handcrafted bespoke elements for the cars. The fibre optic lights in the ceiling of the Celestial Phantom re-creates the constellations exactly as they were over Goodwood at midnight when the first Phantom was completed off the production line. The detail in each of these crafts demonstrated was absolutely phenomenal.

I went to visit Victoria Beckham newly opened shop this week, after seeing all the media on it I wanted to check it out myself. I was pleasantly surprised as it could have been in danger of being a cold fashion space with no personality, but the angular lines, vanishing infinity points and edgy contemporary textures/materials made the space a beautiful concept store.

Seek a peek HMVM’s Christmas Trend Report is coming soon!

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