Silk & stirling board
Luxury brands feeling the pinch?


Whilst visiting Royal Windsor Horse Show recently I was walking through the trade stands of food outlets, mixed retailers and some big retail brands. It is a great cross-section of british country(ish) life and you get some interesting juxtapositions with the likes of Daks, Pimms, Land Rover and Joules cheek by jowl with local organic food producers, fish & chip vans, posh sausages, cheap sweet stalls, and portrait sellers.

The stand that really stood out from the crowd was the Hermes stand. The French luxury-goods brand always have the same pitch - near the entrance and exit, and their retail space is always beautifully presented; a characteristic mix of luxury silks, premium saddlery, leather goods and exquisite tailoring. 

But this year the stand was very different. There were exposed spotlights, units on castors and stencilled graphics. Hermes had gone for the austere look this year and it worked. The simple wooden stirling board, the material commonly used to cover large broken windows or hide building sites, gave the stand a richness in texture and had the feel of trading and export crates. The distinctive Hermes orange was picked out with simple panache by having fine orange rope suspending shelving, units and lighting. The lights were simple spotlights - conjuring ideas of functionality with a nod to fashion show glamour. Beautiful ties and garments were hung from the wall by huge galvansied steel crocodile clips - this was beauty being lifted up and shown off to the world by the beast.

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