The art of window display has a venerable history dating back to the first department stores in the mid-19th century. A shop window must make an immediate connection, drawing in customers and signifying the goods that await within.
A good shop window will attract the eye with design elements like colour, texture, lighting and line. And then there are the window displays that leave you slack-jawed.
Odd, old-school or plain wacky, the following shop windows always repay a second glance.
It's hard not to gape at the displays in Untitled Cafe & Art Supplies' windows. Above the items for sale is a a perfect arch of suspended paintbrushes. This is best appreciated at night when downlights lend the creation an extraordinary drama.
Beneath it are pencils, paints and other ordinary artists' supplies. But the owners like to display their skeleton as well. The reclining figure under the brush arch is, to say the least, memorable.
Hattam's Menswear in Elsternwick is a venerable old drapery that stocks up-to-the-minute outfits. Shirts are uniformly striped or checked and trousers include everything from Levi's to Hard Yakka. They've even got a cash railway - a system of wires and pulleys that transported money around shops before modern cash registers. It's in working order and staff are happy to demonstrate.
I don't know about you, but every so often, I get the urge to dress up as a Super Mario Brother. Or Marie Antoinette. Or Darth Vader, Alice in Wonderland, a ballerina, a gangster, a rabbit or a pirate. And The Fancy Dress Party Place stocks all those outfits, plus around 1000 more.
The windows are changed to reflect the seasons (Halloween, Easter, Christmas) and popular movies and stage shows (The Great Gatsby, King Kong).
The giant penguins belong in a category of their own. They're a bit like overweight onesies and, I'm told, are very hot to wear. But they make eye-catching shop mannequins.
Love the paint brushes, Love, Love. Love the skeleton! Another suggestion for memorable shop windows, and exterior for that matter, is Rose Chong's costumiers in Gertrude St. Fitzroy, this leopard print clad store beckons you in with a promise of fantasy and fun and delivers completely.
An old-fashioned shop window can be found at Dartnell's Pharmacy in Surrey Hills. It's an out of this century / world museum of antique bottles and weird and WOW dispensary stuff. You must take a look.