Bride and groom in the Vinçon window display

Wedding gift lists, Vinçon window displays in 1977

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Bride and groom in the Vinçon window display

As part of the Window Display Design Workshop given by Xavier Olivé at EINA, the students in the 1976-1977 academic year designed and put together the four window displays of the iconic Vinçon store on Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia. Fernando Amat, the owner, loaned the window displays on the condition that they were used for wedding gift lists with products from the store.

Vinçon window display

This was a controversial topic at EINA, where everything was questioned, especially in a post-hippie era where free love was the star and the Glam movement was just taking hold in Catalonia. EINA’s proposal was to take on the commission with a large dose of irony and a touch of kitsch.

EVinçon’s bride and groom customers were the “trendy liberals” and “hipsters” of the era. Young couples married by the church to please the wishes of parents who set them up in their own flat. An age when divorce didn’t exist, and neither did civil marriage, and much less civil partnerships and any thought of the possibility of gay partnerships being legalised.

Close-up of the bride and groom with sunglasses and split in two

An attempt was made to camouflage the bride and groom with dark sunglasses superimposed on the photographs, as though they were travelling incognito. The enlargements of the black and white photographs, taken from family albums of real weddings, were prepared life-size and split in two, insinuating a possible separation or divorce. The bride’s bouquet was made of plastic flowers. The veil and train emerged from the bride’s head to cover part of the items on display.

Gifts in the Vinçon window display

The items were displayed wrapped like a gift in white silk paper, which was half-ripped to reveal just a glimpse of the selected electrical appliances, crockery, cutlery or glassware.

Half-wrapped gifts in the Vinçon window display

The floors of the window displays were filled with rice to wish good luck and fertility to the bride and groom.

Rice on the floor of the window display

After a few years, Ramón Pujol, a student of EINA, became in charge for many years of the design of the windows display at Vinçon itself. One of the students who practiced in the workshop was Josep Aregall who, from the 1985-1986 academic year, would go on to teach the Window Dispaly Design course. This workshop was held in parallel to others dedicated to scenography, led by Isidre Prunés and Andreu Rabal, and to ephemeral montages, by Dani Freixes and Pep Anglí.

Close-up of the window display

Although it still exists in a number of decoration stores and department stores, and even on digital platforms such as Amazon, the wedding gift list concept has evolved and is no longer as common as it was years ago. The experience of the Window Display Design Workshop led by Xavier Olivé consisted of a proposal that sought to showcase the wedding gift list concept, beyond brands, models and signature designs, the true stars of the meticulous selection of the Amat brothers for the Vinçon store.

 

Text: Xavier Olivé and Rubén Alcaraz