So many people visit NYC from all over the world, especially during the holiday season. While there are so many amazing things to see and do during this time of the year (shows, concerts, ice-skating), one of the most popular things to do is visit the infamous holiday windows at department stores. The best part about seeing the holiday windows is that it’s free (provided you don’t go inside the store but good luck with that ha!). There is nothing like seeing the final product of the age-old tradition of swapping out designer window displays for holiday spectacles! Fifth Avenue transforms into the epitome of the holiday season filled with festive vibes, love and nostalgia.
Each year you experience something new when looking at the holiday windows. The biggest NYC department stores come up with a theme and base their window décor around it. You will never see the same window display twice so it is always exciting to see what ideas the stores come up with! I always enjoy seeing the 3 B’s: Bloomies, Bendels and Bergdorfs but this year I was more impressed by some of the other department stores. I highly suggest that you start at the top and walk your way down Fifth Avenue so you don’t miss any of the incredible displays! You can get all of your holiday shopping done, stop off to have a peek at the tree in Rockefeller Center, grab some lunch at the SeaGrill over looking the ice skating rink and enjoy your walk down Fifth Avenue as you look at all of the incredible displays. Grab a cup of joe or hot cocoa and enjoy the stroll! I recently took a walk (it was actually a hop.. I broke my foot last week so no walking for me ) up and down Fifth Avenue to see the holiday windows and this is what I saw…
Saks Fifth Avenue: Once Upon a Holiday
Saks Fifth Avenue holiday windows are always incredible but this year they outdid themselves. The theme is “Once Upon a Holiday” which celebrates the 80th year of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. As I walked up to Saks, I felt like I was walking into Disneyland! Each window has a floral and vibrant window vignette depicting various scenes from Snow White. It was incredible! There is everything from a twirling Snow White to a wicked queen with a magic mirror and heigh-hoing dwarfs. A 3D layering technology as well as original artwork from the film was used to create a backdrop for each window. I couldn’t believe Saks was able to bring the classic fairytale to life through their holiday window display! The 49th and 50th street windows feature one-of-a-kind princess gowns designed by Alberta Ferretti, Naeem Khan, Monique Lhuillier and Marchesa to fit the modern-day version of Snow White. This is honestly one of the most incredible holiday windows I’ve ever seen!
Bergdorf Goodman: To New York with Love
The Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows never disappoint! This year I was more impressed than ever before. The Bergdorf windows are a series of “love-letters” to seven cultural local institutions: the American Museum of Natural History, New-York Historical Society, New York Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Museum of the Moving Image, UrbanGlass and the New York Philharmonic.
I can’t even begin to explain how mesmerizing it is to look at these windows. There was one window in particular that drew me in immediately…a mannequin dressed in a glitzy, glamorous Halpern dress surrounded by crystal-encrusted dinosaur skeletons. There was also a window featuring a conductor dressed in a beautiful Zac-Posen gown playing layered neon instruments that was incredible! This is a MUST see!
Bloomingdales: The Greatest Showman
The windows at Bloomingdale’s were inspired by the upcoming film, The Greatest Showman, featuring over 7.6 million Swarovski crystals in the flagship store. The windows have the inspirational phrase “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else” which is attributed to Phineas Taylor Barnum (the founder of the Ringling Brothers). Since the theme of the windows The Greatest Showman, the windows featured various circus acts such as a glittery aerialist, a buxom fortune teller and of course, a bearded lady (no circus is complete without a bearded lady).
Barneys’: Haas for the Holidays
This year, Barneys holiday windows were created in conjunction with the incredible LA-based artist duo, The Haas Brothers! The goal of this years window display was to showcase a series of vignettes that were created with diversity and inclusivity. The windows were less about Christmas and Chanukah and more about conveying a social message. While doing so, The Haas Brothers managed to add a whimsical and fantastical layer to each scene. There may be some political aspects present throughout the windows but each window and character includes a form of inclusivity such as a rainbow zebra, a 3-D snake “Snake Love Not War”, “Sunbody Loves You”, “Cactus What You Preach” and “Bee Yourself”.
This year, Henri Bendel partnered with Lovepop for their Holiday windows. Bendels usually has one of my favorite window displays but I have to admit, I was disappointed this year. I actually walked right by the store and didn’t even notice the windows! There are some intricate 3D paper sculptures but other than that there wasn’t much to see…
Lord & Taylor: The Best and The Brightest
Lord & Taylor recently unveiled its 80th annual holiday windows in collaboration with Hallmark Channel and Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. The Fifth Avenue windows have been transformed into snow globes. There are five main windows, each one more whimsical than the next. The windows included an Arctic Adventure, Christmas in the City, Holiday Circus, Santa’s Magic and Winter Wonderland. My favorite window was the Christmas in the City window were there was a beautiful starry holiday scene set against the infamous NYC skyscrapers. In order to design the windows, a team of 75 craftsmen, artists and engineers spent more than 35,000 hours fixing every minute detail. They did an incredible job creating these windows; you feel as if you are looking into large animated snow globes!
Looking at the holiday windows is one of my favorite holiday traditions. There is something so incredible about Fifth Avenue during this time of the year. You truly feel the NYC’s holiday spirit present throughout all of Fifth Avenue. Overall, the holiday windows were incredible and a feast for the eyes! If I had to pick one, I would say that Saks Fifth Avenue had the most incredible display but the others were equally impressive and a sight to be seen!