Faye McLeod has a fail-safe way to measure the success of the displays she designs for Louis Vuitton’s store windows: The more the glass has to be cleaned, the better. Take, for example, Yayoi Kusama’s displays from 2012, which involved tentacles, hundreds of polka dots, and life-size statues of the artist herself. People were pressing their faces up against the glass so often it had to be cleared of nose and hand prints four times a day. The crowds outside the New York, Paris, and Shanghai stores lasted for the entire summer.
Since 2009, McLeod and Ansel Thompson, her design partner, have filled the storefronts with everything from hot-air balloons to roller coasters, golden dinosaur skeletons to stuffed ostriches, not to mention sails designed by Frank Gehry. “I always thought windows were freeze-frame theater,” McLeod tells Vanessa Friedman in the introduction of Louis Vuitton Windows, an $845 tome just published by Assouline. Click through the slideshow for a look inside at displays stretching from Paris and London to Fifth Avenue.