Connected \\ November 20, 2020
The fine art of window dressing
It never fails to amaze me how downtown Salem transforms itself quicker than a rock star doing a costume change in the middle of a concert. It starts in the spring as a quaint seaside destination, with foot traffic picking up in summer. Then autumn arrives, bringing with it a complete change of color. In an instant, the Halloween craziness happens, overwhelming the city for six weeks.
Then, like a bell has rung, it all settles down in November and becomes a unique destination for holiday shopping. And this should come as no surprise. Show me another city where shoppers can find edgy clothing shops, specialty food and wine emporiums, unique gift stores and a magic wand shop all within a 10- block radius. Not to mention trendy restaurants, entertainment attractions and....one of the largest museums in the US plunked right in the heart of the city.
"Shop in Salem" broadside, designed by Harry Sutton of Salem, 1914. From the Essex County Ephemera Collection, courtesy of the Phillips Library.
Recently, the PEM shop team has stepped outside of the boundaries of our museum store and started to activate some of the shop spaces on Essex Street. One of which is 179 Essex, where the shop team was tasked with rejuvenating the windows for the season and to celebrate the museum's upcoming show Made It: The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion.
The exhibition team also shared that the museum had recently made an acquisition by Carla Fernandez, an artist based in Mexico City. As luck would have it, we were already negotiating with Fernandez in order to bring in some of her clothing line to offer for sale in the PEM shop, so we decided to make that the main feature in the windows at 179 Essex. We were inspired by the Fernandez outfit that PEM acquired into the collection, which will be on view during the show. The work depicts some of Fernandez’s manifesto statements, so we decided to adopt two of her classic statements for the window. One side of the windows will say FASHION IS NOT EPHEMERAL and that is where we plan to show some of the clothes available in the shop. Also, keep an eye out for exclusive manifesto masks that are being created by Fernandez for the PEM shop.
Photography by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.
Photography by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.
The other side will say THE FUTURE IS HANDMADE. Here we plan on featuring the work of local women designers and artists. So far we have Jade Gedeon of We Dream In Colour, Ellen Schiller of Hey Blue Handmade, Alyssa Waters of Art by Alyssa, Kate Luchini of Digs Jewelry, Hetty Friedman textiles and Salem’s youngest entrepreneur, Georgia Wren, of Georgia Made This. And if you don’t see some of your favorites, don’t worry, we will be adding more local designers to the window during the course of the exhibition.
Two of the featured local designers in PEM’s windows on Essex Street, Georgia Wren of Georgia Made This and Alyssa Waters of Art by Alyssa. Courtesy images.
But our intrepid little shop team has not stopped there! In addition to the 179 Windows, the shop has put together the PEM Archive shop at 181 Essex St, which is basically a little bit of outlet shopping in downtown Salem. Here, shoppers can save up to 40 percent and more on great art inspired clothing and housewares. The Archive is open Thursdays through Sundays, 11 to 5.
And don’t forget to check out the PEM shop windows! This year we are featuring items designed by Stephen Brown and his company Glitterville. Brown never fails to bring his own unique color pallet and fresh designs to holiday décor. So we have tossed aside the plain white winter wonderland this year and followed his lead to create a rainbow colored holiday display.