Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oh How I Love to Shop!! Doesn't Everyone??

I love shopping. I love the thrill of finding something new and fresh and taking it home to make it mine. Ask any shopaholic and they'll tell you the acquisition of something new is exciting. New shoes, new bag, new flatware, new glassware, new sheets, a darling new collar for's all the same, acquiring something new and fabulous, and hopefully needed.

There's a second part of the equation, one that is oh so subliminal, and it is just as important because it totally drives our purchases. It's definitely part of what makes shopping fun--I mean you can shop without buying, it is after all called window shopping-- it's the visual display and the potential thrill of new objects that really pulls us in. Merchandising is an art and it is important.

It's also a talent. Remember Jingle Balls? It was the episode of Will & Grace when Jack somehow got recruited by the snarky Barney’s manager played by Parker Posey to do the holiday display window. With his infinite immodesty Jack thought he could do the window himself and had to be rescued by his Interior Designer friend Grace. Naturally, Grace’s window was perfect, Jack got to take credit, and Will & Grace end up kissing at the end of the show.

As art does imitate life, there are real people out there who live for this kind of work—to inspire us to shop! My friend and colleague Brenda Houston is one of these designers and she specializes in visual merchandising. Brenda has worked around the world, is an award-winning designer, and her specialty is conveying brand identity.

Check out her work at Baby Guess. It’s so cute it makes me want to have a baby! I mean, I’ll take one of everything in that store!
Brenda’s range is broad, she also does the famously beautiful and high-end jewelry retailer Bailey Banks & Biddle. I love the symmetry she’s created with the architectural elements.
These are shots from her work Princess Cruise lines. These spaces just scream exotic locales and luxury!
And, look at the gorgeous taupe she’s chosen for David Yurman. The look is so clean and sleek!
And of course, she does Barneys too (watch out Jack!)!
Study her work, you’ll see the spaces stamped with her signature, but convey the personality of her clients. Learn more about Brenda and her talent at

I might not think about it when I shop, but the whole experience is absolutely sensory overload, and for me, pure escapism!