The SS “United States” in Philadelphia window displays

Mar 1st, 2012 by admin in Uncategorized

In the past week, friends alerted me to a couple of window displays in Philadelphia stores that featured images of the SS United States.

One was at Ernesto Custom Clothier, a high-end custom tailor in Queen Village. The other was at Robinson Luggage, located prominently at Broad and Walnut Streets.

Robinson Luggage, Broad and Walnut Streets. Photo by Steven Ujifusa.

I tracked down Vori Kriaris, the gentleman who designed the window displays. It turns out that Vori is an avid ocean liner buff and a supporter of the SS United States Conservancy.

“It’s cruise season in retail,” he responded when asked why he chose the transatlantic theme for Ernesto and Robinson. “I’m somewhat disappointed in current cruise ships, but I do have a love for the classic older ships, especially the SS United States. Gibbs was born here. The ship has a Philadelphia connection, and I think that alone is reason enough to do it.”

I then asked him why he finds the SS United States so appealing from a design standpoint. “The streamlined aesthetic!” he said enthusiastically. “The United States was built at a time when a ship could economically maintain a lower profile. Cruise ships of today are nothing more than barges with hotel rooms on top to make them as profitable as possible. Economics dictates the structure of ships. I don’t think we’ll ever see ships like the United States again because they are just too small to make money.”

Thanks Vori for creating such beautiful, evocative displays of the SS United States and the golden age of steamship travel!

Ernesto Custom Clothier, 612 S.5th Street. Photo by William H. Handy II

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