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Caroline Burstein

The creative director of pioneering London designer indie Browns tells Marie Davies how to create a winning window display.

Caroline Burstein

Caroline Burstein

As we enter spring 12, what is topping your agenda over the next few weeks?

At the moment we’re forward planning our Olympic and jubilee windows, which is very exciting, so we are having initial thoughts about that. In the meantime, we’re doing lots of collaborations for our windows; the current focus is L’Wren Scott, who is a very talented womenswear designer and also happens to be the partner of Mick Jagger. We have a trunk show coming up to showcase her designs.

What are the most important aspects to a good display?

What it really depends on is having fabulous clothes and I’m happy to say we have that in abundance. They have to stand out on their own. I have a motto: “Keep it simple, keep it strong.”

When does the planning process start?

We begin at the end of the buy, looking at the designers and trends and put a mood board together. The team will brainstorm based on what has been bought and come up with a variety of concepts. 

What collections are you most excited about seeing in-store for autumn 12?

I loved Valentino, I always love Dries Van Noten, and Ann Demeulemeester has refined what she does very well.

What has been your favourite Browns window?

Last November, Le Cabinet de Curiositie was a very big installation and followed from windows right through into the store. We had artists, designers and photographers create one-off or limited- edition pieces. The big projects where you have to step up are always exciting.

How do you source props?

We have an address book of people which keeps getting bigger. Fortunately, people do make things for us for a credit in the window. There is a lot of young talent out there – artists, illustrators etc – and much more talent than there are places to show it. We are happy to showcase work if we believe in it.

This is a formula that could work for regional boutiques perhaps?

Definitely, as long as there is someone with a strong eye overseeing it so the messages don’t get confused. It’s a great way for smaller stores to get creativity and innovations in windows, working with schools etc; there are all sorts of places to look. Money is tight for everyone and collaborations benefit both parties. 

What is the best piece of advice you would offer someone entering the fashion industry?

Be prepared to work harder than you can ever dream of, and then some more. The glamour is the tiny bit of icing on top of the cake. Hard work makes up the rest of it.


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