Dear Tell All: I have fond memories of window-shopping at the old Puzzlebox toy store on State Street. Their displays were so playful and eye-catching. Why don't we see as much of that on State Street anymore?
Dear Shopper: It's surprising that more stores don't make better use of their windows. A recent stroll on State Street turned up many forgettable displays, and they did kind of dampen my holiday spirit. A few windows were downright ugly, as if the stores didn't care whether anybody wandered in. Most offered a suitable arrangement of wares. Only a few stores made a serious grab for my eyes, and they were usually the ones that got a piece of my pocketbook, too.
Pop Deluxe is as playful on the outside as it is on the inside. The window features a pyramid of plates on a bed of dreamy cotton that's lit from within. The plates beam out such whimsical messages as "Sweet," "Hugger" and "Wanna," accompanied by images of birds and bunnies. A princess sits in her rightful place on top of the heap.
Bop's windows are painted snowy white, with big circles rubbed in for viewing. It's as if someone had wiped off the "frost" with a woolly mitten. When you peek through the openings, you see a brilliant silvery environment, created with a metal backdrop and long chains of glistening octagonal shapes - an abstract version of snowflakes. Black-and-white textiles appear to float in this wintry landscape, with a yellow bikini thrown in for shock value.
I like the Psychic Gallery's mystical array of talismans; Shangri-La's lush arrangement of fabric, coins, necklaces and pillows; and the Soap Opera's cheery ornaments and rubber duckies. Karen & Co./Sassafras offers a chic tableau of cones, stars, bricks and smartly dressed mannequins.
Community Pharmacy, Paul's Bookstore, Eye Contact, the Peacock, Little Luxuries, Jazzman, the Fanny Garver Gallery and a few others also put effort into their windows. I wish more stores did, for their benefit and ours. Nobody expects State Street to be Chicago's Michigan Avenue or New York's Fifth Avenue. But is it too much to ask that the window displays reflect a bit more of Madison's distinctive personality?
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