Forging French doors

This week I had the most exciting time meeting and getting to know one of Canada’s foremost window dressers, Philip Minaker. Having created hundreds of major storefront windows during more than 25 years as a style director for many iconic Canadian and international retailers in Toronto and his home town of Winnipeg, Philip is a fascinating individual unlike any other.

His boundless creativity and problem-solving know-how are only surpassed by his sweet and fun personality. Philip is a fashion force and he’s put on countless runway shows and deconstructed trends working for various styling and retail roles at The Bay, BCBG, Lipton’s, Eaton’s, Mondi, Parachute, and the list goes on and on.

He is known for his stunning sales-boosting windows and his ‘let me show you’ philosophy about sharing his fashion knowledge. His windows are known to increase sales; a job well done, then. Look for his work coming up at Toronto’s downtown Josephson’s in the next few weeks- he told me that he’s currently fabricating the set pieces for the fall windows.

Beyond having a keen eye for styling, trends and balance, Philip is an incredibly talented artist and he creates much of what you see in his displays. Today’s French doors featured below are an example of his incredibly simple take on getting what you need: make it yourself.

When I met Philip on the weekend during his first of two moving sales, he invited me in his home where he has these gorgeous antique French doors behind a bed (those aren’t for sale, though, sorry! but just DIY for these and drop in on Philip’s second sale for other very cool stuff).

These gorgeous French doors are not real; they’re two large format prints of doors that are glued to large pieces of foam. The antique look is truly outstanding and the quality of the print here is just right, working in favour of achieving that natural aged look that the doors have.

The best part about all this is that they weigh nothing! They’re made of foam! You know, the inch-and-a-half rectangle sheets of white foam from the craft store. So simple. Philip told me that he cut the print and foam in the curved shape at the top and he has another piece that creates an archway to really bring it all together. I think they are spectacular just like this.

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Images courtesy of me via Philip Minaker

You’ll want to be there for Philip’s second moving sale in a few weeks, September 13-16: he is parting with some of his window dressing treasures including props, decorative urns, industrial art, art hangings and artist canvasses, art that he has created, beautiful vintage mannequins, and so much more.

You’ll love meeting Philip- just drop in to say hi and check out all the fascinating pieces of his career that he’s selling to new good homes, and meanwhile take a look at his moving sale ad on Kijiji– lots more pics there to see what he’s got on the floor (including Herman Miller La Fonda chairs…).

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3 Comments on “Forging French doors”

  1. Richard Hathaway says:

    Philip Is an artist of the highest caliber always forward in his design vision and executing the work impeccably at all times. Rarely do we encounter this kind of brilliance, integrity, and finesse. Always approachable, always witty, Philip expresses his love and passion for design and demonstrates professionalism and innovation all with an easy elegance which reflects his mastery of, and experience in, his field. Bravo.

    • Johanne says:

      Richard, thank you for your comment. I am just beginning to get to know Philip and I couldn’t agree with you more about his character and the art and cheer that he brings to his work environment. Thanks for this.
      -Johanne

  2. Renee says:

    Genius idea for doors! I’m just getting starting in the window display field and I’d love to meet Philip! Definitely going to try to check out his sale!


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