Notes for the season

The art of fashion

The purpose of any window display is to give a 3D snapshot, for people rushing by, of what the shop has in stock, to give a glimpse of the season’s trends, and of course, in the case of Brown Thomas, to delight.

Creative director of Brown Thomas, John Redmond, along with his team in Dublin painstakingly plot and plan every window for each of the stores. Our own team here in Galway, headed by Niamh Costelloe, then roll them out. The visual teams will be as handy with a hammer as they are with a paint brush. They will build many of the sets you see, dress the mannequins (including hair and make up ) and create the natural flow of adjacencies for the labels throughout the store. And they can style a fashion show like no one’s business. To be a window dresser or a visual merchandiser is tricky business. It cannot be taught in a theoretical way. A window dresser must possess the hardest of all combinations — artistic and practical. He or she must have good taste, have a natural eye for balance and colour, and a thorough knowledge of stock. The window dresser is an artist, but the hardest working of all artists. Window dressers set the tone of the entire shop — they display your dreams and suggests a lifestyle, and that is what gets people excited, and it is often what inspires people to buy.

This month, Brown Thomas created windows that “blur the boundaries between fashion, design, and art itself”. Brown Thomas Dublin has partnered with the IMMA to honour its 20-year anniversary with the artists in the windows. Brown Thomas Galway partnered with Kenny’s Art Gallery to showcase some of the most exciting artists in the country today, among them Leah Beggs, Michael Gemmell, Dean Kelly, Padraic Reany, Marja van Kampen, Michael Flaherty, John Behan, and Katarzyna Gajewska. Their work mingles in good company among dresses designed by Mink Pink, Karen Millen, Coast, and Irish designers Quin and Donnelly.

The idea was to showcase how fashion and art complement each other. It is a natural union; both represent fields of creation, innovation, and often controversy, as anything that comes from a personal taste or viewpoint often will.

It is the wish of our creative director and each member of his visual team in every Brown Thomas store in Ireland that you, the public, who might not normally get the opportunity to view these works of art, would appreciate them day or night, as you pass by over the next month.

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