Steal This Job

Striking a Pose: Visual Merchandiser

Steal This Job
Christian Chantemargue (above) uses creative flare to design stylish department store windows. (Claire Duggan)
By Danny Freedman
Thursday, February 10, 2005; 5:37 PM


JOB: Visual merchandiser specializing in windows, at the H&M in downtown D.C.

SALARY RANGE: Average pay is about $25,000 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

WHAT HE DOES: Chantemargue is the master puppeteer behind H&Ms storefront window displays. Sure, in conservative D.C., he could lure passersby with "a cute little polo and little slacks," but that wouldnt be any fun. "It needs to be a little bit fashion forward -- thats what were selling." Next up: a "high summer" theme inspired by the colors of Brazil.

WOULD YOU WANT HIS JOB: Windows are redesigned every other week. It takes two days to pick out clothes and accessories for the mannequins, and another two to dress them and do their hair, sculpt them for "attitude" and install posters in the windows. "It is very detail-oriented  there should not be a wrinkle, there should not be a pin on the floor. It should be impeccable."

FOR MORE INFORMATION: : Visual Merchandising Trade Association at and Fashion Windows at

This article orignally appeared in Express on May 10, 2004.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company