Christmas windows 2021 – Design Week


As the holiday season is in full swing, Design Week takes a look at some of the UK’s flagship store windows.

Harvey nichols

Last year Harvey Nichols shouted a collective “Bah, humbug” over Christmas. With this year’s windows, the department store’s offering is designed to “spread joy and happiness”.

Bright colors are the star of the show this year – a stark contrast to last year’s monochrome affair. Modern stained glass panels form the backdrop to several of the windows. These backlit signs are joined by numerous sparkling fairy lights and hand painted balls that surround the store.

According to Harvey Nichols, each window has a color theme that’s designed to evoke a different emotion. The yellow window was developed to “create a feeling of energy and excitement”, while orange aims to attract attention with a “joyful and uplifting effect” and blue to project a feeling of calm.


Liberty London takes its ‘send joy’ theme very literally this year, with a set of window displays that are ‘an ode to the Royal Mail of yesteryear’. According to Hannah Perse-Cottle, chief designer of Liberty, many of the visuals are inspired by old images of Royal Mail depots where parcels and letters can be seen stacked in huge piles during the holiday season.

The series of scenes tells a story that begins with a “magic” letterbox that throws letters into the air. Other scenes are also filled with letters and envelopes – some 33,000 personalized envelopes have been used throughout, Perse-Cottle says – as well as many freebies.

The set itself, which is completely plastic-free, was handcrafted in east London by expert carpenters and stage artists, she says. Each scene is finished in a festive, cool-toned red and lilac color palette, which Perse-Cottle says is “truly Liberty.”

Fortnum & Mason

The Piccadilly-based department store has considered itself the ‘Christmas house’ for the past 314 years, with its front windows as its front door. This year’s theme for the windows is “animal dreams” and the store front is adorned with all manner of creatures in a festive setting.

Designed in-house, the department store claims the offering is full of detailed craftsmanship. Among the festivities, dancing robins, magpies adorned with jewels, skier hedgehogs and a sailboat owl. Food and drink are recurring themes – the hills the hedgehogs sit on are actually meringues, while the river the owl floats on is tea.

Just around the corner from the store’s Duke Street entrance is another theatrical display, this time featuring ‘breathtaking golden wickerwork’ each showcasing the product offerings found in the store’s famous baskets.


In 2021, Harrods challenges passers-by to “witness a show” with their display cases centered on a traditional feast table. The lavish scenes range from an all-green giant crab to a diamond-encrusted bottle of wine and tottering towers of macarons.

Although the displays are static, each window contains a QR code which, when scanned, shows videos where the sets come to life. Additionally, four more QR codes can be found on the storefront, and when scanned, they allow customers to use filters and festive animations.

In addition, the Hans Crescent entrance to the store was adorned with a 15-meter Chanel No.5 bottle installation. It is related to the Finding No.5 in-store scavenger hunt.


Still among the first to start the festivities, Selfridges began installing their Christmas decorations in October. In a similar move to Fortnum, this year’s showcase theme for the department store is “Christmas of Dreams.” The store describes the approach as “theatrical, nostalgic and dreamy”.

Beneath the windows is the visual language of “Hollywood’s golden age,” says Selfridges. Musical references, draped curtains and scalloped frames are all featured. Some windows also have moving parts.

The majority of the windows were designed in-house, but Selfridges also collaborated with a number of artists and designers across the screens. Several fashion designers were commissioned to exhibit unique pieces as part of the sets, while London set designer Paulina Piipponen was given creative control of three entire windows. His three paintings combine texture, color and tactile elements to create “captivating scenes” based on traditional Christmas themes.

What has been your favorite party showcase so far this year? Let us know in the comments below…

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