Thursday, February 24, 2011


I was caught in another of those frustrating click and browse loops the other day when I found these pictures hiding on my hard drive. I wanted to share these inspiring works of art. Retail store windows, works of art? Well yes, kind of. Bergdorf's Christmas windows are everything you'd expect from a high end, obscenely materialistic, style-forward NYC establishment. A little garish. A bit overwhelming. A spectacle. Read the PR release that accompanies each year's offering and you almost have to laugh at the convoluted narrative that serves as the artist's statement. However to use a tired old phrase: the proof is in the pudding.

One may be skeptical of the oh so cerebral collective inspiration proffered by the windows' team of designers but the finished products do come through! Each vignette presents a richly appointed and fantastical environment, usually inhabited by a spectacular fashion centerpiece, lusciously extravagant materials and a serious amount of highly detailed often handmade props. The couture of choice provides the jumping off point for the main color or material story. From there it's definitely designer gone wild! Handmade paper props - fancifully scaled reptiles, majestically maned lions, delicately feathered birds, all made of intricately formed papers - have been a repeating motif. Jewel-like materials, with reflective, faceted, beveled or pearlized finishes are used as the armor on a crocodile. Lush braided wool, bullion fringe and silky rope are twisted and knotted into a stallion's grand tack.

But my favorite over the years has been the gorgeous gingerbread window. A charming winter white dress with contrasting undercut detailing adorns a seated figure. She is surrounded by a baker's dream: every manner of white-frosted gingerbread-colored confection populates her world. There is a table covered in lace and laden with treats. A large glass breakfront, sporting a gingerbread version of Moroccan pearl inlay, is full of cakes large and small, on stands and plates. The foreground features a stunning Victorian-style gingerbread dollhouse. Another model, the wallcovering and additional furniture carry the theme while offering a bit of contrast with more of the spicy tan color. I love this display. If you are in the area between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day make sure to stop by and see this New York treasure. Leave enough time to browse the killer jewelry department as well! (Bergdorf Goodman, 57th Street and Fifth Avenue).

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