We're lucky here at Rare Device to have Lexi Martinez to keep us constantly inspired with her beautiful, quirky, unique designs. Whether she's crafting cactus piñatas or sketching spooky girls for Halloween, people are constantly popping into the store to ask about the work she's done for the store. This year, for Rare Device's Divisadero and Noe Valley shops, she created two lovely holiday window displays.
I asked her a few questions about how she came up with her designs and about creating window concepts generally; our conversation is below, including many beautiful photos.
Ellie Williams: What's your first step in beginning to design a window concept?
Lexi Martinez: I like to get a lot of feedback from the store owner. It's important to know how much freedom I have in the design as well as knowing the time-frame, budget, and how much space is actually allotted for the display. But I love collaborating, and seeing if there are any ideas already buzzing around that I can help bring to life.
EW: What were some of your thoughts and inspirations behind the Rare Device holiday windows this season?
LM: The idea for the Noe Valley holiday window happened rather organically. I wanted to play up the clean white interior to make a dreamy, snowy display. The sleeping fawn surrounded by falling snow puffs was my first idea, and I'm glad Giselle was as into it as I was! I think the Noe Valley store is in the right neighborhood for hand-crafted installations (and I can get away with being a bit sweeter there!)
The Divisadero window was more of a challenge. Those windows are SO big! (Especially when I tend to do window displays with lots of hand-crafted details.) I knew the product merchandising would be front and center, so I came up with ideas focusing around vignettes. In the end, I was inspired by all the gorgeous illustrated cards and stationery we carry, and decided on hand drawing winter themed doodles like presents, hot coco, mittens, and mistletoe all over the windows.
EW: What materials were used for each display?
LM: The fawn was made primarily of paper. A cardboard base, LOTS of watercolor paper cut up into fringe, glitter (which is still all over my studio), and paint. I also drew some snowflakes on this window and included "snow" fluff to both displays for a cohesive look.
I drew all over the Divisadero windows with a water-based Sharpie paint marker. I was really surprised by how many people asked what I used! So far all you inquirers, I got mine at Michaels. Happy doodling!
EW: Can you tell us about some of your early ideas for the designs?
LM: My very first ideas for Divisadero were purely decorative. I was thinking along the lines of bunting, pinecones, cotton balls, etc. But I really love making things, so I'm glad I didn't go the store-bought and pre-assembled route. I then started playing around with the ideas of vignettes. I had this idea of cutting out large, abstract snow flakes to frame the windows, but I honestly wasn't sure how to make that happen.
After I settled on the winter-themed drawings, I sketched several mock-ups so I'd have something to work off of on the day of. I was on the fence about wanting to just draw lots of little cozy houses and pine trees, but I went for the scattering of winter items instead. (The houses and pine trees did get a special spot on the side panels of each window though!)
EW: What's your favorite part of window design?
LM: As much as I love painting and drawing, I really enjoy making things. I enjoy crafting by hand, and window installation is such a good outlet for exploring different mediums and ideas. There's SO much you can do with a window display. Holiday windows are fun because there's such a broad range of themes to work from. I actually made four holiday windows displays this season, and I really enjoyed the challenge of making four unique installations that all reflect my handmade quality!