Sunday, December 22, 2013

New York City's Annual Christmas Window Display Extravaganza

If you haven't been to see New York's Christmas windows, there's still time. I'll start off with Bergdorf's since they are always a treat. I work a block away, and even put off taking a sneak peek at these beauties until I had my camera in tow. Never disappointing, this year's theme was "Holidays on Ice" translating a few notable days on the calendar throughout the year into visual theatrics.
My favorite was the spectacular Halloween corner window featuring a custom made feather dress by Naeem Khan and entirely Alice in Wonderland in scale. The mannequin's stretched limbs popped through the windows of a replica of the original mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt which stood on that very corner from 1883 to 1928. 
April Fool's Day - inverted here for ease of viewing

In a stark contrast to the Gothic pageantry, Valentine's Day brought sweet pink treats; the 4th of July, a regal and stylish parade marshal; and April Fool's Day defied gravity in a fully upside down window. Lesser-celebrated Arbor Day showed us an underground cross-section revealing tree roots and all. 
The larger-than-life diamond wrap-around snake necklace sparkles at Bulgari
Tiffany's voyeuristic city vignettes displayed their baubles dangling like Christmas decorations. An enormous outside building wrap gave us a glimpse of silhouetted families enjoying the season mimicking the smaller shadowy and glowing windows within the windows - all offset with that little blue box, strategically placed, of course.
Gucci's mid-century modern star bursts
Bendel's salutes illustrator, Al Hirschfeld with three-dimensional celebrity caricatures
Midtown decadence at The Peninsula
Anthropologie in Rockefeller Center never disappoints either. Known for clever installations using common objects throughout the year, this Christmas season, passersby were lured by spools of thread and 1970s string art that were transformed into a Russian Fairy-tale Forest. Gigantic colorful Matryoshka dolls, sleeping wolves and bears all nestled among the latest on the clothing racks. The mammoth tree in Rockefeller Center was brought to us by the residents of Sandy Hook in CT in a memorial to last year's December tragedy.

Oh, Barneys.....Huh? Why would you take a chance on subjecting an unsuspecting public to a seizure? For sure, this store is off on some sort of bizarre tangent. I didn't really get anything suggesting "holiday" or "Christmas" out of the flashing and radiating Star Wars-style windows (or large metallic angular entryway either).
And in the corner ring....some pom-pom bedecked elf (?) who will take photos with anyone willing to wait in line and venture into a side door. The photos are then digitally posted on a screen just outside on the street for all to see. I'm not sure who she's supposed to be exactly, but the whole setup appears to be Barney's answer to "an outer-space convertible too".
Not to be outdone, Grand Central Terminal has its own modern light show that silently changes in a grid formation in the rear windows of the main terminal. It's not particularly Christmas-y in theme, but can certainly help grumpy commuters lessen their stress-levels nonetheless.
Finally, there's Saks with its friendly snow yeti as the star of its windows and a short video display on the side of the building. 


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