Emma Davidge. Louis Vuitton’s C H A M E L E O N
Louis Vuitton New Bond Street Maison windows have upped the ante in retail visual design, display and imagination.
There are heaps of press on the store ,on architect the renowned Peter Marino, the celebrity gala opening, and recently the viral video explosion of super talented Bille Achilleos. Searching the web I do find that Chameleon does get mentions in blogs on its latest endeavour.
Me included, as I did a piece on Chameleon in beginning of the year when I had the privilege to have a quick glance at the initial drawings and got to blog about the first window installations. I did find one interview on owner of Chameleon done by Retail Store Windows blog page back in September 2010, but how come nothing else?
The woman seems to like being low-key and let others take the limelight which is admirable, but I want to give her well-earned rays too. Not just because she is my friend, but because I think it is about high bloody time you all knew, (again) who is the mega brain is behind Chameleon Visual Ltd and how she does it.
Well it is the delightful EMMA DAVIDGE
Bingo! We could chat for England!
Emma has my kind of humour and a heart that I adore. She hails from the East end, quick-witted, speaks her mind, intuitive, and big softy too. But what impressed me the most about her was her style of working…Fast, sharp and no messing. As a business woman myself I LOVE people like that!
When it comes to her business and first love Chameleon, the woman does not suffer fools gladly.
Based in South West London Chameleon Visual Ltd is and has worked with prestigious clients such as Christian Louboutin, Theo Fennell, Diane Von Furstenburg, Taka Naka and Asprey to name a view. Over 20 years in the game, Chameleon also does events, exhibitions and parties
Lets put it this way, Emma Davidge has an empire going on in her head
Everyone that she knows has a serious ‘6 degrees of separation’ going on. Emma is not the kind of woman who would just throw her hat at every job offered, she chooses and sometimes pitches for what she knows she can manage and what she knows she will enjoy doing. If not, Emma would not be able to resource, execute, time manage and deliver the high quality her clients have commissioned her for.
To meet up with Emma can be mission impossible. (‘cheese on bread’ is my phrase when I am frustrated). She is either in a meeting, in a car, on a train to Paris or in the air flying to New York! Needless to say we have not meet on a social level for ages due to the above or I’m busy or when we do have some free time to ourselves, we are just too damn lazy. So we call, email or FB each other mostly.
But finally I caught up with her and got some quick fire replies to my nosy questions…
Describe Emma Davidge in 5 words.
Obsessive, creative, perfectionist, geeky, childish
What path brought you to window visual merchandising?
I became obsessed with mannequins at a very young age (you know, those weekend trips to the shops with Mum & Dad) my Mum would go in the shop with my sister, and I’d stand outside with my Dad. My nose would be glued to the glass making up stories in my head about the adventures the mannequins would go on... I guess the rest is history!
What is the most valuable tool in your field of work?
I’d have to say it’s a combination of 3 things:
The client, the idea and the team I surround myself with.
Without those 3 things my job doesn’t exist
Name 3 bug bears about Window/visual Merchandising?
A brilliant idea that’s badly executed
Badly styled mannequins
Dirty, poorly lit windows
(I could go on forever, but I’ll stop at my top 3)
If you could choose 3 highlight moments doing the LV windows what would they be?
Watching the general publics reaction when the blinds go up
Having windows go live in London, Paris & New York at the same time
Having the opportunity to put my dream team together
How long did the concepts take?
From concept to installation it normally takes approximately 3 months to produce a window scheme for a maison store (as examples: Bond Street/5th Avenue/Champs Élysée)
But often I get 8 to 9 months to produce and develop an idea, especially if it’s a new store opening. It all depends on the project.
What do you love most about your work?
What would you like next for Chameleon and you?
To open a bigger studio and take on more staff (it’s a high priority on my list)
To pass on the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired over the years to the next generation of window dressers so the industry stays alive with talent
To just keep doing what I’m doing
So now you know.
Thanks for you time biscuit!