“Stylistically, Bergdorf’s windows hover in a time warp, We juxtapose the opulent with the madcap, the scholarly with the trippy. We are fascinated with raw materials and often develop these materials to a degree bordering on obsession. Each window was designed independently from the others, but together they constitute a sort of tongue-in-cheek course in art appreciation. ”- David Hoey, Senior Director for Visual Presentation
I was over the moon to learn of this year’s theme for the Holiday Windows at Bergdorf Goodman. Focusing on the nature of inspiration, the windows depict the performance, applied and fine arts focusing on Literature, Architecture, Theater, Painting, Music, Dance, Sculpture and Film. I became obsessed with their windows when I lived in New York, anxiously awaiting every new season to see what artistic brilliance would be cleverly displayed in what I thought was the absolute center of the universe. As Amy Fine Collins said, “[there’s] such mystery when they are wrapped and dismantled to make way for new ones, under the cover of the night. Every few weeks it’s another opening, another show.”
In quintessential Bergdorf fashion, the windows celebrate the institution’s mastery of bold storytelling, dazzling attention to detail and legendary craftsmanship. “We specialize in old-world craftsmanship, often creating permanent objects and props that are re-used for future displays. We frequently use antiques and unusual collections and curiosities as the foundation of individual windows,” Mr. Hoey said in an interview.
Tonight at 6pm, the windows were unveiled to the public alongside the lighting of the Unicef Snowflake. The Wall Street Journal revealed a sneak peak today as seen in the images here. All images are by Ken Hamm via The Wall Street Journal. To read more about last year’s windows “Holidays on Ice” click here.
The fantastical window wonderlands created by Linda Fargo, David Hoey, and their visual team take the spark of an idea and elevate it to the ultimate and sublime. Every vantage point is considered when designing these masterpieces…viewing from across 5th Avenue, passing by in a cab, or walking by as a pedestrian.
The over the top visual delights are the hard work of a talented crew of artisans, collaborators and dreamers. The windows frequently showcase art and photographs from the city’s best talent at The New Museum, Brooklyn Academy of Music, American Visionary Art Museum and the New York City Ballet. Each window build upon the fashion it presents, inviting the viewer into a theatrical fantasy land. “We’re drawn to extremes here,” says Mr. Hoey. “Minimalism is great. Maximalism is too. What we avoid is medium-ism.”
The mind boggling effort and detail to create these windows entails…
- 3,500 Hours to create the windows
- 365 Days spent preparing, brainstorming and creating
- 100 Craftsmen that collaborate in producing props and set
- 48 Days on view (November 17-January 2)
- 34 Windows total, including Fifth Avenue (10), 58th Street (4), 57th Street (9), Men’s Fifth Avenue (4) and Men’s 58th Street (7)
- 30 Staff members needed to install the windows
- 15 Days spent installing the mannequins, props and pieces into the actual Fifth Avenue windows
- 12 Professional artists that assist in creating the windows
- 8 Artistic disciplines re-imagined including Literature, Architecture, Theater, Painting, Music, Dance, Sculpture and Film
- 3 Boroughs in which artisans hand-create the holiday windows props (Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens)
- 1 Singular Artistic Vision
Assouline’s Windows at Bergdorf Goodman makes a perfect Christmas present for any fashionista, native or past New Yorker, or BG aficionado! Featuring photographs from Ricky Zehavi, this limited-edition tome revisits the legendary windows of the Women’s and Men’s Stores — from the labyrinthine Holiday Staircase window (otherwise known as the most complex window in the history of window displays) and a New York City homage to Charles Ebbet’s iconic photograph Lunchtime Atop a Skyscraper to the legendary mannequin with the 15-foot, accessories-obsessed arm. The book can be ordered by clicking here.
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