Window-dressing: history and theories

29 novembre, 2008 alle 5:21 pm | Pubblicato su HISTORY AN TENDENCES OF WINDOW-DRESSING | Lascia un commento

 Today I would like to write something about the history of the Window- dressing. Surfing on the web I found a lot of informations, in particular I’ve understood that this particular field has been object of different, in particular social and psychological, theories, allover the XX century. 

Let’s take a look:

 In 1900 is published the first novel about window-dressing, Frank Baum, creator of Mago di Oz, was its author: he encourages window-dressers to learn techniques of lights and colours and to study the effects they have on senses and perceptions; he projects spectacular shop windows in which products disappear letting the scene to the scenography.

Émile Zola is particularly attracted by new forms of spectacularisation of goods which are used in the big cities.

Window place in August Macke paintings becomes an irreal space represented through the rules of the intersecation of different dimentions of cubism and futurism  

At the beginning of the twenties, , windows dresser and writer of tecniques of exibition, makes a theory about “the power of suggestion through the object”: french style consists in isolating an object or the same kind of objects to obtain a “dramathic” effect (the  isolated product will product a silent but at the same time sure suggestion).The power of suggestion through the object is the most important new of nineties window-dressing.

Dadaism and Surrealism work on the secret life of things, letting them become amazing and seductive.

 Today windows displays, important instruments for advertisement, tend to be clear and simple: less things decorated and shown with elegance. The target is spectacularisation of goods , finalised to sell.

Actually this disipline in its evolution has become a scenography of the showing places. Today a shop window attracts people’s attention through a sort of dialog, through atmospheres with symbolic inspiration which animate the place. The use of scenography in windows displays represents the possibility to eliminate the “sense of static”, to evoke the movement which let people think to a situation of pleasure, or to let the mind of the designer free to create his interpretation of the situation.

Even if Windows displays are created through their author’s sensibility, they “live” through the lenguage of love and simpathy, where the ability of comunicating is obtained rievoking things which belong to daily reality. In fact the READY-MADE, definition elaborated by MARCEL DUCHAMP, make the difference in a window display: the thing which is used every day, selected by an artist, is not estethically modified, and its importance is determined by a mental process.It’s not a thing selected for its estethic features. From this interpretation  Duchamp  contributed to identify a methaphore to the modern trade.

There is a radical change in the act of buying: the sell becomes a sort divertissement, buyers become spectators of an activity, shopping, which reguards pleasure and evasion sphere instead of economic rationality.

Indifference is the most eficient therapy against the danger of being overwhelmed by the modern city: only assuming a blasé behaviour, man can defend himself from the nevrothic ansiety which threat his wellfare.

In the modern city the ostacles mix themselves with seductions. One of the most important theme in the rapresentation of the city is “the réverie”, ithe dream of the person who contemplates windows displays, the revelation of the unconscious world.


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