‘Taking Flight’ – Creating Easter Window Displays @ Browns

Rebecca Abell, who we featured on TYC last year, has recently completed her first big commission for iconic fashion store Browns. She worked on designing and illustrating seven backdrops for their Easter window displays, and here she tells us all about it.

I was very excited and nervous to have recently been approached by Browns, one of London’s most valued shopping landmarks, to work with their VM team on creating some exciting new window displays for their South Molton Street and Sloane Street stores. The displays were for the Easter period and ideas were centered around the theme of ‘taking flight.’

After various sketches, ideas and discussions it was decided that we should avoid the stereotypical ‘cute’ nature of easter but bring only a flavour instead. As birds were the main element, and generally do come across as being ‘cute’, I needed to step aside from my usual soft pencil approach to drawing and use a darker tone to my work to achieve the Creative Director’s desired aesthetic.

I worked on designing and illustrating the backdrops for seven windows altogether, ensuring each studied drawing and curated sketch incorporated the themes, patterns and colours of the season.

Consideration also had to be made to the fashion that was intended to be displayed as it was crucial that the colours and compositions in the backdrops played well with the clothing. We needed to be certain that the designs would not overpower the display and distract attention from the mannequins.

Each design was drawn out with my humble pencil and then scanned into Photoshop for a touch-up. Elements of colour, scanned in fabrics and newspaper cuttings were then added in by the Graphic Designer, Eleni Lazana, and a final composition was concluded.

The final designs were scaled up, printed on Foamex and then installed in the windows. To bring more depth to the display, I painted feathers and birds directly on to the glass with ink and acrylic paints. Painting the windows was a huge challenge, not only because I was uncomfortable with the medium and scale of the work but because I was exposed to the public on the most popular high street in London! – I didn’t have the privacy of my home studio with my confined A4 sheet of sketching paper and my pencil!

I am very pleased (and a little overwhelmed) with the results – I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and look forward to the next one!

See the windows for yourself at Browns‘ flagship store (24-27 South Molton Street, London, W1K 5RD) or at their Sloane Street store (6C Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9LE).

View Rebecca’s blog and website, and Tweet her: @rebeccaabell.

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