It’s that time of year again (whether we like to admit it or not) when you start to notice the Christmas street lights turning on, Christmas ads on television begin to play, and in this case, shop window displays be unveiled in an enormous ode to all things Christmassy.
Fortnum & Mason – arguably one of the most quintessentially British stores along with Harrods and Selfridges (which garner loads of attention for their annual shop window displays) – this year has undergone a magical makeover by Welsh illustrator Chervelle Fryer. She was picked to be the store's Christmas aesthetic leader with her speciality in delightful animal characters.
Chervelle Fryer worked alongside London design company Otherway (which works collaboratively with Fortnum & Mason) and her agency Jelly London to take over the Fortnum & Mason window displays with a delightful cast of 3D characters carved from her illustrative imagination.
The characters blend with a range of classic Christmas products, all wrapped into the timely theme of ‘Together We’re Merrier’. Chervelle's use of heavy textures and organic themes make an appearance throughout her truly merry Christmas scenes.
A catalogue will feature Chervelle’s work in a wraparound dust sleeve featuring the full illustration, with characters scattered throughout. Golden foiled typography for the display was created by Alison Carmichael (seen here) who’s recently helped with the rebranding of Madame Tussauds and UKTV.
Chervelle designed the illustrations for the brochure and set the tone for the stylisation of the characters in the window displays. The full 8-panel frieze was interlocked and illustrated by Chervelle, but Otherway pulled out elements for the brochure details and the window displays, which it also constructed.
Chervelle's own characters are her representation of Edward Bawden’s original creations. The stag with antlers, the grand fire, the dining cats, and pelicans, for example, are pulled from Bawden’s work with her own touch. These characters are mixed with classic Christmas icons such as a Christmas tree, food, decorations and merriment.
Chervelle created two tester illustrations before being handed the brief.
"The style is my own style and is more on the childlike and playful side of the work I like to do," says Chervelle.
"I really enjoy pulling and pushing shapes of characters, and forcing out their personality, I like the idea that you can imagine a story about a character without a script. Along the way Otherway helped with input and contributions on how best to push it to the max."
'Together We’re Merrier' seems an apt slogan following political and social division throughout 2016 and 2017, but Chervelle says it’s a message we should always be reminded of each Christmas.
"Christmas is a time of year when you forget your grudges, your sorrows and your pride. You let loose, you celebrate together and rekindle those ties you had with one another and everyone should be involved,”"she says. "Together we're Merrier, we should put our differences aside and we should make the most of it."
Here you can see Chervelle's illustrations for the Fortnum & Mason brochure, including Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason either side of the clock, and a advent calendar in the shape of a building.
To create the brochure illustrations, Chervelle began with a basic colour thumb of trying to find a balance with the colours. She then roughly sketched and blocked in shapes, colours and textures, not spending too much time on anything, yet keeping momentum to keep consistency.
“Eau De Nil (pale greenish colour) needed to be a constant in all scenes, but it was hard trying to find a harmony between other colours as the colour palette was quite small,” she says.
“I then began with the rocket (seen here) as a warm-up for the beginning of the project since it was the right amount of bonkers. It then moved onto the Champagne, then the Tree and kept flowing into the next scene. My main aim was to keep interlocking the scenes so they flowed smoothly but could still hold their own stories of togetherness.”
It was a constant looping process of sending an image to Otherway, Jelly London (her agency) and making adjustments and changes.
See what other reminders of Christmas you can spot in Chervelle’s work, including champagne, presents at the base of the tree, singing, food hampers and candles.