Anna Balandina: New Year shop window fairy like a Christmas tree

Anna Balandina: New Year shop window fairy like a Christmas tree On the holidays’ eve, Anna Balandina, our permanent expert in visual merchandising and store design, the founder of VM Guru Agency (, speaks about her impressions of the New Year's shop windows.

- What events of the departing year have been the most significant for your Agency?

– This year has been a good one for VM Guru. We have carried out more than 50 trainings: both for groups and individually tailored for different brands. We have created two brands from scratch: Promenade (footwear) and Oscar (a multi brand for men’s clothes)! All the shops have shown excellent sales results. We are proud of the job that we have done! Although we, of course, feel some fever in the industry, we feel global changes are coming in the consumer sphere and in the sphere of training and consulting. We are preparing a long expected online program in VM (basic course).

- What’s new in the New Year shop windows styles? What themes in the shop windows’ decorating are the most popular this year?

– There are a lot of brilliant shop window concepts among the world brands. Of course, American and British stores present unforgettable shop windows and they are trend-setters possessing powerful budgets for decoration.

Bergdorf Goodman, NYC, prepared a sweet fairy tale in their shop windows: gingerbread houses, sweet Christmas trees, huge candies in glistening wrappers, and other luxuries… Sweet Shop Windows is a new trend in the shop window dressing; we’ll see new concepts in this trend further in the coming year.

Anna Balandina: New Year shop window fairy like a Christmas tree
Anna Balandina: New Year shop window fairy like a Christmas tree

Everyone, children and adults, is expecting a fairy tale to happen on New Year’s Eve. Therefore, for buyers of fashion goods of any segment this time of year is the time of a fabulous New Year miracle. Winter shop windows attract customers as magnets making them feel a compulsion to go inside the shop.

The New Year fantasy, fairy scenes and all kinds of nicely performed fairy tale quotations have always been and will always remain the most popular themes of shop window dressing.

We have been publishing the photos of the most beautiful Christmas shop windows and decorated stores on our corporate Instagram @vm_guru all through this December; we also publish my recommendations on the holiday shop window dressing. You are welcome to join us!

- How have the Russian brands been decorated for the New Year holidays?

– I have visited several shopping malls to check this. There has been a small number of shop windows that impressed me.

And, yes, there’s a holiday mood in the shopping centers, in GUM, Atrium, and Metropolis, although it is by the merit of the shopping centers themselves and not of the brands.

As for the brands, they spare very modest budget for decoration. In this case I support them. Firstly, a very interesting design concept can be made even with a small budget if it is made by a professional with care for details. Secondly, it is not enough to concentrate only on shop windows trying to make up nice stories on the eve of holidays. The brand should go out of boutique and that is the kind of the shop window concept to be chosen! This slogan belongs to Jacques Seguela, a French marketing guru, and it was put into the basis of Louis Vuitton’s marketing strategy.

What does it mean? Any format can work: art installations inside and outside the shops, selfie-zones and pop-up zones, corners and art performances. Then both WOW-effect and attention to the brand will be guaranteed making it outstanding among other shops.

Out of all New Year shop windows which I have seen in our shopping centers, I remembered Jo Malone and Longchamp. Jo Malone created a pop-up corner with a selfie-zone. Longchamp had only one actress (promo-girl) with a white poodle but it was a real movie performance! Such an action works better than any WOW-shop window.

- How to make up an attractive New Year shop window? Would you share some advice on the holiday shop window decoration?

– This is a very important and frequently asked question. Of course, it is impossible to tell everything in one article. I’ll give only the most important rules:


It will be much better to get prepared for decoration of New Year shop windows a season in advance: to make a profound design, approve the concept, and make or buy decorative elements at the best price. We hope you work this way!


There is a common mistake: designers make up mannequins, podiums, and lower part of the window, and they forget about the upper third part or even the upper half of the shop window. The whole square of the shop window should be the scene for decoration; customers see the whole picture.


Lighting is a crucial element of shop window perception! If a window is badly illuminated, it will not attract customers. Lighting should be made up separately for each installation. Light should softly illuminate your object from two sides.


Do not put mannequins on one line; make up attractive scenes - dimensional installations. The dynamics and posture of mannequins are important.


All the details and nuances are important in the decoration: these are the factors that form the style! When you design the image for the mannequins, add accessories from your collections; and purchase stage properties if you do not have such accessories (like inexpensive shoes of the same design with no logo, bijouterie for your collection, a panty hose).


Remember to match mannequins within the group and make them accord with each other in style, color and color shades.