Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Christmas (window) shopping

I'm not a big fan of the consumer orgy that Christmas has become in the US (see this article on the pepper spraying shopper on Black Friday). It is not quite that bad in the UK, but even so I was grateful when I stopped by the Oxford Street John Lewis a couple of weekends ago, that I was only there for a couple of balls of yarn and didn't have to fight the Christmas shopping crowds already amassing in the middle of November.

Of course, ever since I started knitting I have increasingly been sucked into Christmas knitting, which engenders its own kind of panic and mania. But this year I was smart and started my Christmas knitting back in January. And more importantly, I limit my Christmas gift knitting to the immediate family we spend Christmas with - we alternate between the US and UK each year - and I only give one knitted gift per person, supplementing with fun little stocking stuffers. This way I don't spend a fortunate on unnecessary items no one wants or needs, and I can avoid the frantic Christmas shopping crush.

Christmas isn't about shopping and presents after all - it's actually about the decorations and lights (and food of course. Ok, and family too). I really enjoy Christmas decorations - though here too the US goes massively, and the UK goes slightly overboard. I prefer Christmas in France, where the decorating tends to be more low key and tasteful.

Except when it comes to the Paris Grandes Magasins window displays, as we discovered this past week. Of course Christmas window displays are a tradition for department stores in a lot of countries, but I don't know if anywhere else does it with such flair, and well, disregard for Christmas shibboleths. Galleries Lafayette's 'Christmas' theme was Rock 'n Mode*. No Christmas trees (apart from an enormous one inside that was covered with neon stars and guitars), no santa, no snowmen, no reindeer, none of that usual Christmas junk. Instead, the windows were filled with little dancing rockstar puppets. It was brilliant.

Rockin' Christmas tree
Off to the gig
Gettting ready at the hairdressers

Costume time - check out the rockin' knitter!
The band is rockin'!

The windows at Printemps were all designed by Chanel, alternating traditional product placement window displays with puppets dancing in different cityscapes.The best was naturally the one set in Paris, but I was pleased to see that Beverly Hills was not neglected.

Karl Lagerfeld naturally dominates the Paris display

Bringing some much needed romance back to air travel

We'll try to get to London before Christmas and to New York before New Years to enjoy more big city Christmas lights. But somehow I don't think they will manage to top Paris.

* For more information about the Rockin' Mode displays you can visit the designer's blog: the Kouklitas. Also check out this youtube video, which prominantly features the rockin' knitter starting at 2.30.