Landor exhibit brings retail back to its roots

Leading brand development and strategy firm Landor has something new in the shop windows of their Shillitos department storefront space. Walking down Race Street, one encounters mannequins dressed in lavish colors, materials and textures, each manifesting a different brand the company represents. These artful displays are an homage to an incredibly talented fashion designer and illustrator: Anne Wainscott.

Anne Wainscott was Cincinnati’s fashion guru for nearly five decades. As a fashion illustrator, she set the pace of the local trends for the Cincinnati Enquirer, as well as, department stores like Shillito’s. Fashion illustrating was essential to the newspaper medium before the use of photography gained popularity. Wainscott is an artist whose attention to detail and linework is exquisite. She created thousands of drawings showcasing the latest and greatest in fashion looks for every trend setter in the Tri-State, and her work was featured not only in the Enquirer, but the Times Star, Post and other trade journals. The creative team at Landor recognized the beauty of Anne’s work and had the unique opportunity to reunite a former fashionista’s work in the very space it was created.

“Inspired By Anne” is Landor’s newest exhibit concept that encompasses the lobby space of their Shillitos Place office, inviting the public to come and experience the work of Anne Wainscott. Mary Zalla, managing director of Landor’s Cincinnati and Chicago offices, was initially inspired by one of Anne’s works while visiting a friend in the Covington area. After learning that the artist of the piece was local, Zalla was determined to connect her team to Ms. Wainscott, knowing it would inspire and jumpstart a new wave of creative thinking at Landor.

“At Landor, creativity is the engine and inspiration is the fuel that keeps us going,” Zalla explained.  “The entire Landor team jumped in and really became inspired through creating this exhibit. We pulled our various brand teams, and had them choose one of Anne’s works to get inspired by, and then put it into context through the lens of their brand.”

Accompanied by Steve McGowan, Mara McCormick and the rest of the crew, Zalla strove to create an exhibit for the public that would showcase Wainscott’s work through the lens of Wainscott’s passions. Through learning about the artist, a garden party theme was decided, inspired by Anne’s love of pink, flowers, garden, gilding, black and white floors, and linework. The result is a transformed lobby space with horticultured mannequins, living walls, and a soft, beautiful background to the work of Anne Wainscott.

“We really took an ‘Anthropologie’ store style approach to designing the interior, by implementing as many handcrafted details as possible,” McGowan explained. “All of the various disciplines at Landor got involved: graphic, environments and new media all invested in this endeavor.”

The entire concept was conceived and executed in less than six weeks, in order to coincide with the first-ever Cincinnati Fashion Week. The opening reception on April 21 was a tremendous hit, and Anne herself, at age 93, was the belle of the ball.  Passersby can stop, admire and be challenged by the various displays in the storefront windows, but all are invited to come into the space and have a look around.

“This exhibit is absolutely open to the public and has been well received by the community. We wanted to reconnect our retail heritage, inspire our employees, engage the community, and project our brand,” Zalla said. “I think all of these things have been accomplished with Anne’s work.”

Inspired By Anne runs through the end of July. A new concept will be unveiled August 1st, but until then, guests are encouraged to stop in and explore during Landor’s office (map) hours, which are 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday. For those not able to make it down during the work day, there will be one more evening event before the end of the exhibit, connecting the fashion theme to the non-profit Dress for Success. More details to come at a later date.