The Christmas tree originated in Germany, probably in the 1500’s, elevating Germany’s influence on the Holiday season to a leading position. With so much history to draw from, it is not surprising that Christmas ornaments and trims in Hamburg, Germany lean heavily toward the traditional side.
In the street markets that dot the city center, the Christmas season is celebrated in typically German fare that ranges from tasty treats, mulled wine and punch to clear glass orbs and wooden ornaments. Clusters of stands with an old world flavor keep the personality of the various Weinachtsmaerkte as charming as we assume Holiday markets were in the distant past. This has allure for both tourists and locals.
The mood continues into some of the city’s shops and stores, especially when it comes to color. While standard Red and Green has little visibility in Hamburg, Red and White is a major story that is showing up a lot. Red takes the lead in this combination, with White acting as only an accent. A variation on the theme is Red plus Gold metallic. This combination is far more important to Hamburg than it was to less-traditional Paris. Again, the color to watch is Red.
Blue, White and Silver, a color combination given secondary positioning in the Christmas mix seen at retail in Paris, had a much more prominent role in Hamburg. And Orange, considered by many people to be an older story for the Holidays, was still embraced here either alone or combined with equally dated Brown.
Brown went from a retro feeling (Brown plus Orange always has a hard time shaking off references to the 1970’s) to one that is rich when it combined with Moss Green in a Fairies theme. This theme appeared at Alsterhaus, a department store In Hamburg, but was familiar from Frankfurt and the Christmas World trade fair that took place in the early weeks of 2005.
Even though more established colors and trends have the most exposure in Hamburg, newer color and design trends have also surfaced. They did so in both visual displays and décor products for the Season.
One of the most dramatic visual displays was found at Marlies Moller on classy Neuer Wall street. Here Black artificial trees appear on the street and in windows along the street. These dramatic trees are a perfect trend-match for the Black ornaments on display at the Habitat store here and in Paris. Whether accented with Teal and touches of dark Purple as at Habitat, or touched with strings of White lights (as at Marlies Moller), Black is a trend with potential for Christmas.
White is Black’s counter-trend. It has not peaked in this city (just as it had not yet peaked at retail in Paris). One of the best White looks: tabletop trees made of White feathers shown by Kaufhof as part of a larger Snow and Ice theme.
By the way, Kaufhof also had a clever product that has potential in the U.S. It is a clear vinyl box that has a few of several kinds of ornaments plus a garland. All of these items are the same color, with the idea that you can take this home and decorate your tree in a single color theme. While the one-color direction may not work in the States, borrowing the bed-in-a-bag concept—an easy way to take home everything you need for the tree in a single package—makes sense.
Tomorrow I move on to London. I hope to see more small shops and department stores. And I am indulging myself by going to the theatre before I leave for Minneapolis—twice.