Jun 10 2015

Ever wonder where the unique window designs at UB come from? Well, their individual journeys starting out as “grand visions” and becoming “creative realities” is my expertise.

“So this month we’re thinking hippie-bohemian-summer of love…with a rope swing…Can you do that?”

Not surprisingly, the June window vision started as the above vague, yet potentially groovy concept. Starting with inspirational images that set the sought after mood, I brainstormed different ways to incorporate the spirit of a “carefree world traveler enjoying summertime fun” into the mannequin props, display alcoves, and window setting.


Next steps involved plotting out the general scale and setting for the physical spaces I had to work with- the window, catwalk, and three alcoves. My rough sketches took shape to include a laid back picnic scene and harmonious instrument playing. The three alcoves would be set up as vignettes for vintage and bohemian props that I’d accumulate over the next few weeks. And because the creative process is an organic one, these plans inevitably evolved as I gathered my materials.


As installation day dawned, I had gathered over a dozen props from my house and the back room of the store where potential display pieces hide, awaiting new life. From my bag of tricks the first to be assembled was the rope swing. I created this sweet seat from a spare plank from my garage, garlands from the craft store, and sisal rope from our previous nautical store window. After much tedious sawing through very thick ropes and adjusting knot heights to hold the swing level, it turned out just right.


The rest of the picnic scene came together through many trial arrangements of blankets, instruments, baskets, backgammon, checkers, and glass lanterns. It turned out that the most “bohemian” look we could achieve was grouping together as many funky pieces as possible in organized chaos.

Of course this summer of love scene would not be complete without the addition of iconic hippie headbands. After raiding the craft store supply of braiding material, crochet ribbon, beads, feathers, and faux blooms, I assembled unique headpieces for each of our six lovely ladies. Here, one of the unique challenges of dressing mannequins cropped up yet again. Each mannequin has a different size and shaped head, not to mention the plastic hairstyles that inhibit any intuitive application of headpieces. Even with these creative stumbling blocks, I think each headband ended up capturing the boho-chic spirit. The long locks I styled for the three main girls added the perfect punch to finish off their hippie vibe.


Finally, the assembly of the alcove vignettes and corresponding outfits was left to conquer. Thankfully, minimal nailing and hanging from ladder-top was required. These alcoves challenged my knowledge of vintage book-stacking, banjo and harmonica display, and deer skull incorporation to the max. Though design school did not prepare me for these out of the box approaches, I believe the results speak for themselves as a groovy success.


Overall, this window was one of my favorites to craft and style. Thanks to the surprising number of vintage and bohemian pieces in my house, it is also one of the most personal! “Choose Love” reflects the eclectic and retro character of UB with a fun nod to the carefree summer months. Hopefully it draws you in to check out the fabulous styles inside and leaves you with a groovy spring in your step!

- Molly McKee, Undeniable Stylist & Merchandiser




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