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Professional facelift for charity shop window
Published 01/03/14

A COSTUME designer and style coach has redesigned a Henley charity shop window.

Geri Spencer, of Badgers Walk, Shiplake, offered to create two themes for the Helen and Douglas House store in Duke Street over a fortnight.

This week she paid homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s using items from the shop such as a candelabra and Tiffany boxes and her own picture of Audrey Hepburn.

She said: “The shop often has some very beautiful evening wear but typically charity shops don’t put it all in the window because they are trying to sell lots of different things.

“I thought this would be an interesting experiment to focus on one thing. It gives the impression that something else is going on inside and that was my idea.

“Windows are the eye candy of every type of shop, generating traffic through the door and giving stock maximum desirability.

“I love Audrey Hepburn and the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s is glamorous and romantic so a lot of women should respond to it and they are the majority of the shop’s customers.”

Mrs Spencer, who is originally from Australia, has worked as a costume designer in film and the theatre and now runs her own image coaching company, called StyleHug, to help men and women to dress confidently and get value out of their clothes.

She said: “It’s about attitude and imagination. This is why I’m a huge fan of charity shops. They provide so many possibilities for very little outlay and at the same time are helping people in need and providing a valuable recycling service for what otherwise becomes landfill.

“When I was working on costume design, charity shops were always my first port of call. They are precious treasure troves for designers, filled with clothes from different eras in authentic styles.”

Her best-ever charity buy was a coat which she found at the shop. “It was handmade but tailored very beautifully,” said Mrs Spencer. “I used it in a show off the West End called Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi. It was perfect — I didn’t have to do anything to it.”

Shop manager Jean Hugill said: “We have had 10 people come in and ask if they could buy the Audrey Hepburn picture and that was just on Monday.

“A lot of people came in to say that they thought that we had changed hands but it is really nice to see something a bit different.”

From Monday, the display will become The Orient and will include a vintage Chinese poster belonging to Mrs Spencer which will be available to buy.

Published 01/03/14

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