NYC Windows Art Give Us Something To Look Forward

Much like seasonal Starbucks cups and all-peppermint-everything, the unveiling of holiday windows in New York are an unimpeachable, ultra-festive tradition. Never mind that, in most cases, the displays are totally unrelated to actual holiday shopping — the spectacle is about creating a festive, ultra-creative, limited-run art installation, basically. (And, of course, it’s about the Instagram opportunity.)

Every year, we see legendary Manhattan luxury retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman join department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdales in decking the windows with more fervor and artistry than any tinsel display you could painstakingly arrange in your living room. There are custom designer gowns, you’ll see commissioned art pieces, and even celebrity cameos — at least in the case of Barneys New York’s 2016 display, which features appearances from Stan, Cartman, Kyle, Kenny, and more South Park characters.

No two windows are the same, based on this year’s showing on Fifth Avenue or when looking back at each retailer’s past spectacles. This storied stretch of New York real estate has been facing some seriously costly damage since the election. The timing of the 2016 holiday windows is fraught with much uncertainly, but these displays bring passersby a glimmer of optimism.

Ahead, check out the most impressive window displays retailers have been cooking up for the holiday season.

Bergdorf Goodman

Where: 754 Fifth Avenue

Theme: Destination Extraordinary

This year, the folks at Bergdorf Goodman want to take shoppers on an adventure around the world — a dream world, that is. David Hoey, the retailer’s senior director of visual presentation, characterizes the department store’s displays as “delirious remakes of the classic dioramas seen in natural history museums.” He cites the work of Henri Rousseau and 12th-century Chinese watercolor mountainscapes as inspiration for the lush, larger-than-life windows, each of which depicts a unique destination — and is each assigned its own designer wardrobe, from Marc Jacobs’ resort and Gucci spring to custom CD Greene and fall Roberto Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana.

Photo: Courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman/Ricky Zehavi.

Bergdorf Goodman

Photo: Courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman.

Bergdorf Goodman

Photo: Courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman.

Bergdorf Goodman

Photo: Courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman.

Bergdorf Goodman

Photo: Courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman.

Barneys New York

Where: 660 Madison Avenue (with a satellite display at its downtown flagship, located at 101 Seventh Avenue)

Theme: Love Peace Joy Project

Barneys New York delivers with its artful windows every holiday season — but this year, the luxury retailer definitely wins on biggest variety. It tapped a series of artists across mediums and categories to interpret a theme of “Love, Peace, and Joy” for the displays of both its Madison and Seventh Avenue flagships; these include Nick Cave (with a one-a-kind sound suit and sculpture display), Rob Pruitt (with a bedroom tableau starring a monster couple), Ebony G. Patterson (with a multimedia video presentation), Studio Job (with a collaged, seven-foot boat facade), and Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park.(Yes, you read that last part right: Stan, Cartman, Kyle, Kenny, and the gang have gone high fashion.)

Photo: Courtesy of Barneys New York.

Barneys New York

Photo: Courtesy of Barneys New York.

Barneys New York

Photo: Courtesy of Barneys New York.

Barneys New York

Photo: Courtesy of Barneys New York.

Henri Bendel

Where: 712 Fifth Avenue (with special displays created for the brand’s 28 other locations)

Theme: From Bendel With Love

You’ve probably seen James Goldcrown’s love walls serve as the backdrop for many #OOTDs. Now, the artist is lending his message (and signature work) to a legendary Fifth Avenue flagship. Henri Bendel commissioned Goldcrown to love-ify both its store window and its interior. “We wanted our store to reflect a message of love and togetherness during the holidays,” explained Pina Ferlisi, Henri Bendel’s creative director. “We thought James’ mural would serve as the perfect reminder to spread the love this season.” This is one holiday display you won’t have to travel to New York to experience: The brand will reproduce the hallmark love mural at its 28 other locations across the U.S.

Photo: Courtesy of Henri Bendel.

Henri Bendel

Photo: Courtesy of Henri Bendel.

Henri Bendel

Photo: Courtesy of Henri Bendel.

Henri Bendel

Photo: Courtesy of Henri Bendel.

Lord & Taylor

Where: 424 Fifth Avenue

Theme: Enchanted Forest

Anyone walking down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue between 38th and 39th streets will be instantly struck with all of the holiday feels: Lord & Taylor is bringing our winter wonderland dreams to life, from ice-skating bunnies to snowshoe-clad geese making their way through a forest. This year’s display is the product of a team of 75, working over 5,000 hours to create five animated scenes, building on a tradition that’s been ongoing for the retailer since 1937.

Photo: Courtesy of Lord & Taylor.

Lord & Taylor

Photo: Courtesy of Lord & Taylor.

Lord & Taylor

Photo: Courtesy of Lord & Taylor.

Lord & Taylor

Photo: Courtesy of Lord & Taylor.

Lord & Taylor

Photo: Courtesy of Lord & Taylor.

Lord & Taylor

Photo: Courtesy of Lord & Taylor.

Parsons School of Design x Swarovski

Where: 550 Madison Avenue

Theme: Swarovski challenge for Parsons MFA candidates

Every year, MFA candidates in the Parsons School of Design’s fashion program are granted access to countless Swarovski crystals in order to integrate the Austrian house’s signature sparklers into their garments. This year, though, students had the added incentive of the possibility of putting their work on display in midtown Manhattan. Six students nabbed the honor, and their final pieces will hold court on Madison Avenue until January 4, 2017. “It’s quite a thrill for our students, and we cannot thank the new owners of 550 Madison Avenue enough for giving them this extraordinary opportunity,” Burak Cakmak, dean of Parsons, said.

Photo: Courtesy of Swarovski.

Parsons School of Design x Swarovski

Photo: Courtesy of Parsons.

Parsons School of Design x Swarovski

Photo: Courtesy of Swarovski.

Parsons School of Design x Swarovski

Photo: Courtesy of Parsons.

Click HERE to read more from Refinery29.


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