A Christmas Window Theory

With just one week to go until the big day comes around once again, I am revisiting a piece of writing from last year and asking, what themes – if any – have you noticed adorning 2016’s Christmas windows?
In the year that Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity turns 100, we have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, conducted a fly-by past Jupiter, observed the strongest evidence of water on Mars, and revamped our Integrated Space Plan for the first time since 1997. Yesterday, Tim Peake became the first Brit to blast off to serve a mission on the International Space Station – and we got to watch it all live.
We have seen an explosion of general interest in our cosmos during recent years – with the array of lunar and solar eclipse activity, humanity’s proposed colonisation of Mars, and BBC TV’s Stargazing Live programmes launching Prof. Brian Cox onto prime-time television. Additionally, recent feature films including The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game, have highlighted the work of some of our greatest theoreticians by transporting their stories into mainstream popular culture.
Ok, so I (personally) still don’t know what String Theory is, or fully understand General Relativity, but the wonders of our universe fascinate me. For the ‘right-brained’ creative types amongst us, it helps that the associated imagery is beautiful, of course.
It is not surprising, then, that so many of our iconic retail stores have taken space and time as inspiration for their 2015 Christmas campaigns – most of which will have been 12 months in the planning and therefore highly influenced by this year’s cultural steers, as well as taking in to account 2016 trend forecasting. (And, I’m sure, it has nothing at all to do with the much-anticipated launch of the Star Wars movie tomorrow…)
From astrological signs, to planetary systems and time mechanics; from starry skies, to the man in the moon – the celestial wonders of these store windows truly are a sight to behold.
Here is a selection of my favourites (although they are certainly best seen in the flesh):
Two of Selfridges’ astrology-themed Christmas window displays in this year’s “Journey to the Stars” campaign.
John Lewis Oxford Street’s window display which corresponds with their heart-warming “Man in the Moon” Christmas TV ad for this year.
Harvey Nichols’ positively Space Age Christmas windows are a kaleidoscopic mix of celestial disco and mythological-sized head sculptures.
Even Harrods is getting in on the stars and moon action (although their overarching inspiration this year is taken from fairytales).
Bond Street nods to its watchmaking heritage with ‘exploded’ clockwork pieces that, hung together, resemble a solar system orrery (model) and almost literally suspend time in space.
And… just, because. Here are a couple more examples from across The Channel:
Inside Galeries Lafayette, Paris.
One of Printemps’ Christmas windows, Paris.

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