WILDDESIGN Picks Shanghai’s Best Chinese New Year Window Displays

The Chinese New Year holiday, also known as Spring Festival, is by a wide margin the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, and is sometimes referred to as “Chinese Christmas” because of the critical place it holds in the country’s business and cultural calendar.

WILDDESIGN show window collection during CNY

It’s also a really interesting time for the design community, as we get the chance to observe a fascinating set of new design principles at work to celebrate the New Year holiday. Some of the best manifestations of this are the shop windows you’ll find around big cities like Shanghai. Here at WILDDESIGN we took some photos of our favorite window designs and voted on which ones we liked best, here are the results!


5th Place: Louis Vuitton on West Nanjing Rd.

Abstract and bright, this shop window may not have even been designed specifically for Chinese New Year, but the color combination of pure red and radiant yellow work to successfully create a cheerful New Year’s-type atmosphere. It’s an interesting choice for such a high-end retailer, as luxury brands here in China tend to go for tried-and-true design styles in their retail locations. That creative choice is part of why this Louis Vuitton display won 5th place in our competition.

4th_15_Hackett_Nanjing westroad

4th Place: Hackett on West Nanjing Rd. (in MeiLongZhen shopping mall)

A great approach that’s fresh and modern while still giving off strong classic and traditional vibes. The coloring is interesting, with red being used in strong proportion to the overall design; this has a few different functions, including lending the window a cheerful emotional tone, accentuating the details of the clothing itself, and echoing the coloring cues of the logo.

We were also impressed by the font, which uses a hand-drawn Chinese character style to really drive home the overall vintage, classic feel of the window display. Chinese New Year is an interesting holiday from a design perspective in part because there are so many traditional themes to play with, helping this Hackett window display place 4th in the WILDDESIGN competition.

3rd_4_H&M_Nanjing westroad

3rd H&M on West Nanjing Rd.

Are you noticing a theme here? West Nanjing Rd. is one of Shanghai’s hottest fashion and design locales. H&M fits right in, as they’re known for their “fast fashion” and ever-trendy design. Their window design demonstrates a strong and unique understanding of Chinese New Year, with passionate and fancy yet simplified themes that intricately match their overall fashion style.  Even if you don’t enter the store itself, you’re bound to remember this powerful window display – which is precisely the effect it was designed to have.

This shop window is good because it utilizes reds and golds, which are traditionally Chinese festive and celebratory colors. In addition, there are a total of 6 horses, a lucky number in China,” says WILDDESIGN’s product designer Joseph.

2nd praise live's jeans on Nanjingroad

2nd Levi’s Jeans on West Nanjing Rd.

With so many compelling, elaborate and adventurous display windows, who would expect that it’d be a simple yet strong design the blows your mind? This minimalist show window from the famous jeans brand Levi’s on West Nanjing Road was one of our favorites, showcasing a simple horse-based design for, you guessed it, the Year of the Horse.

As our graphic designer Jennifer says: “I like it because of the simple photographic approach. Clear, emotional, and easy to understand. Make you feel like you as a person can become as striking as the horse.”


1st Place: TOD’S on Huaihai Rd. (inside iapm shopping mall)

Combining traditional patterns with their classic elegant brand image, the Italian shoe and leather products brand Tod’s took the top spot in our competition with another horse-based design that utilizes negative space in an clever, unique way. We know a thing or two about shoes, and this design won over just about everyone in the office.

“I like the smart way they use a single design element, the white contour line, to create the whole display. This line leads the viewer from the decorative image to the high-end products themselves in a joyful way” describes Muhan, a designer here at WILDDESIGN Shanghai.

Finally, we also ask the youngest Chinese designer, Xiaodong Ma(24), what the most important elements of a premium Chinese style-show window are, from the perspective of younger Chinese generations “Red, Chinese zodiac and the patterns that brings luck are 3 most important features” he report, “and of course nice-looking products and a security guard who stops you from taking photos!”

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Muhan: 8 years living and working in Germany and recently come to Shanghai. From a product designer became a blogger, I am always trying to catch up, explore and learn from the fast- changing world.

Originally written by Muhan Zhang, 13. February 2014. Last updated 15. May 2023


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