Styling vignettes is an important layer in carrying through a design theme. A finishing touch that adds interest and personality, changing out keepsakes and interesting art, objects that fascinate, candles and ceramics, woven pieces and books on a seasonal basis transform the feel of a space through texture and colour.
In the 1980s, I became very interested in shop windows as an art form.
I was in New York with a writer friend for a series of meetings and happened to be staying at the Berkshire on 52nd at Madison. Around the corner from our hotel was a little chocolate shop called Kron. While my friend agonized over which chocolates she wanted, I stood captivated by the shop’s front window. There, rising on bleacher type boards to cover the entire window were row upon row deep purple paper bags with white handles and white and purple oval Kron stickers on their fronts. Exploding upwards from each bag were simple, brilliant, pieces of fuchsia tissue paper. Striking and elegant. Kron won that that year’s window design competition, an annual event in New York that until that day I’d never heard about. It speaks volumes that rows of little paper bags where judged more interesting than a Bloomingdale’s Christmas window. That accidental collision with Kron’s window taught me important lessons in design and considering the show window as a vignette that should not only inform and entice but be visually inspiring.
I still admire well styled shop windows and interior vignettes, creative displays that add rather than outshine items on display.
Powerful and fanciful statements can catch your eye and make you stop, briefly float off into an imaginative world, and sometimes find you with an object in your hand at the till. You don’t want your home or work space to mimic a showroom window or display, but there are lessons to be learned from studying the better ones that cozy up a space, add layers and interest to a space.
I change small vignettes around my home all the time, I don’t even wait for the seasons to change.
Some pieces work so perfectly on the mantle or my desk that they have achieved tenure. Everyone has their own formula for what works and what doesn’t, and while we unconsciously default to our chosen themes, it’s nice to try and shake things up sometimes. If you are a book lover and have a collection of beautiful art books, they deserve to live with you on a coffee or bedside table.