Stylists styling stylists at Mary Portas & House of Fraser!
On Tuesday night I managed to get on the guest list of a fab event organised by ASIP London where the lovely and very chic Melanie Rickey (fashion editor at Grazia, The Guardian to name a few) gave a talk to stylists and image consultants on the creation of the Mary Portas collection in House of Fraser.
Mel with Pippa and Jennifer of ASIP
Mel said doing up your top button on your shirt will make your look instantly modern….
Melanie took us through a rail of samples from the collection telling us how and why the garments had been inspired and more importantly for whom they were targeted.
Her killer line that received lots of oohs and aahs, was when she told us about the “Mary Cocktail”….as we were sipping our Waitrose champagne, it seemed to tie in very well! The “Mary Cocktail” has the three key ingredients she, Mary and team use when putting together collections. 1 part chic, 1 part edge and 1 part decorate. We should all use this mantra when getting dressed in the morning so we can all succeed in looking as Mel said: modern, chic and current and that is exactly what the Mary Portas range is.
Also the goal of the range is to fit and to flatter the wearer – for example some of their dresses are designed with the inner lining one size smaller which is a really clever idea. I should know as I bought a red dress last summer and it was very flattering, and now I know why it was soooo figure hugging!!!
I loved hearing about inspiration for the designs and a shirt (below) was inspired by some Greek ceramic tiles found on a distant Greek island when Mary and Mel were holidaying – how cool is that! That is why you should always have your camera at hand to shoot anything that inspires you – that may at the time seem totally irrelevant to your field or sector (see our post on Retail Safaris) but that photograph will come back to haunt you as you prepare your shop windows or develop a new product range.
After Mel had finished her entertaining, informative and inspirational talk we then went on to browse the range and in turn to meet all the lovely staff who I had got to know in my sitting room as I watched the TV programme. What an amazing bunch of uber professionals! Amanda, Mark, Connie, Katie, Drew, Becky and John you all rock!
x 2 Amandas in this shot! With Mark and John
(PS check out my newly bought cobalt blue top seconds before the shot! It went so well with the pink jeans – that will soon be out of fashion according to Mel as 501s make a huge comeback, so team them up with something good whilst they are still just about in!)
Now these guys really know how to make a customer feel special and looked after with their most excellent customer service skills. I bet even if you were to buy a £2 lip balm they’d make your shopping experience as good if you were to buy the full range from knickers through to party dress!!
Now to a few shots we took as we enjoyed our evening …..
Orange is the theme – the colour is everywhere as are the actual fruit! I loved this visual merchandising idea of bringing life, vibrancy and colour to a shop where there is no natural light, and of course from running luxury alpaca knitwear e-store HUMM I really appreciated seeing the yarn as props.
Whilst creating ideas for your shop display, it doesn’t all have to be neon lights and high budgets – take a look at this simple but really effective idea of extending the branding. You will never forget which shop you are in when at Mary Portas House of Fraser. When I am doing face to face surveys to retailers, the first question when in store, is ‘What’s your shop called?’ and so often I turn my head 360 in search of branding or logo to tell me where I am….so imagine if you don’t do internal branding, how is the customer going to remember your shop name if they have thrown away your branded carrier bag?
Close up of the stencil painted board above the changing rooms
Another really cost effective and highly effective prop is the humble apple crate. You can white wash them or leave them as they come – see how great they look here, adding height to the table and making a cool backdrop for the mannequin.
Here is Connie looking amazing in her black version of the ‘no brainer’ yellow dress teaming it up with a red and black tartan long sleeved top:
And finally here are Drew and Mark just wrapping up my final purchase – limited edition Cowshed paraben free shower gel – heavenly. The boys are too good at their job!
What do you think? Have you visited the store? How do you like the visual merchandising ideas there? Please leave your comment!