It’s that time of the year again… the air is crisp, the leaves are falling and everyone seems to be getting into the holiday spirit. The hustle and bustle of New York City is greater than ever and no matter where you turn, you can see an array of holiday lights, trees being trimmed and shopping bags in just about everyone’s hand. I love this time of the year; the city that never sleeps is brighter than ever and there is something about the holiday season that makes it even more magical than usual.
I love walking around the city and looking at the beautiful and extravagant window displays; there’s nothing quite like it! It reminds me of a time when people didn’t rely on the Internet and took the time to walk around and view holiday displays in order to see what was being featured and sold at each department store…what a concept! Hence the term “window shopping” which actually originated in the late 1800’s during the industrial revolution. Store owners would make large glass windows in order to display their goods for people to view as they walked by their store. Customers would enjoy the windows throughout the year but the holiday season was the best time to build elaborate displays in order to lure in customers. Each year, window displays become more and more ornate, some of which even depict scenes from movies and books! Although every department store in the city has incredible displays, I decided to take a stroll through the city and show you some of my personal favorites!
If you think about it, holiday window displays are somewhat like Broadway productions; the planning starts over a year in advance and includes auditions, storyboards and custom-commissioned pieces. So much time and effort goes into making displays, its no wonder people from all over the world come to view them and make it a part of their holiday tradition.
My first stop on the holiday window tour…The Enchanted Forest at Lord & Taylor. This is such a beautiful display that depicts a storybook theme of animals enjoying the most wonderful time of the year in wintery backdrops. There is a mix of animated digital technology as well as traditional scenes that is sure to keep everyone entertained.
The store has five windows, all of which bring out the whimsical side of the holiday season and include over 34 hand-sculpted animals, twinkling lights and holiday music. This display is sure to put anyone in the holiday spirit, even the Grinch! 😉
Next stop, I found “Love” at Henri Bendel. This year, the department store decided to focus on storytelling rather than merchandise. James Goldcrown designed the “Love Wall”, which is a four-story display featuring hearts overlaying the iconic Bendel façade.
The centerpiece of the holiday display is a two-story tree that is decorated in elaborate, over the top ornaments (all of which are available to purchase in a much smaller version). I love this display because it’s the perfect combination of traditional art mixed with modern street art. Henri Bendel’s creative director, Pina Ferlisi, wanted the display to tell a story and send a clear message of love and togetherness. They definitely succeeded in doing so!
Moving on to Barneys! This year, the department store decided to name their windows the “Love Peace Joy Project”. If you’ve had the chance to see their holiday window displays in the past, you’ll definitely notice a difference. Unlike previous years, Barney’s 2016 display features some unlikely characters… Cartman, Kyle, Kenny and many other characters from South Park! How fun!! Right?!
I love the fact that Barneys added some humor to their display, thanks to the collaboration of various artists such as Nick Cave, Rob Pruitt, Ebony G. Patterson and of course, Trey Parker and Matt Stone from South Park.
My favorite aspect of the display is that the theme “Love Peace Joy Project” offers the absolute perfect backdrop to take pictures and post on social media with the hashtag, #LovePeaceJoyProject. For each imaged shared, Barneys New York Foundation will donate $5 to STYLEFUND and The Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation. There is nothing like giving back during the holidays!
I saved my personal favorite for last…the Destination Extraordinary at Bergdorf Goodman. This year, Bergdorf’s decided to take shoppers on an adventure to a dream world, with each window depicting a unique destination. Each window is assigned its own designer wardrobe such as Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli just to name a few. In my opinion, the display is the perfect combination of fantasy, fashion and holiday spirit. Without making fashion the center of attention, it is still highly incorporated into the display but in such a unique and thought provoking manner. This is one store that will have both New Yorkers and tourists alike stopping and staring at the dazzling displays. It’s no wonder Bergdorf Goodman windows was awarded the best Holiday Window in 2015!
If you have the chance to take a trip to New York during the holiday season, make sure to visit the wonderful window displays seen throughout the city. It’s truly a magical experience that brings everyone together and sets the tone for a magical holiday season.
Photos courtesy of Desiree Kong.