A Look At Department Store Holiday Windows 2010
As innumerable holiday movies have demonstrated, New York City is all about Christmas once November hits. Besides the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, nothing captures that spirit quite like the classic department store window displays. With stores this year utilizing everything from LCD screens to taxidermy animals to Michelangelo-level origami, Yuletide 2010 appears to be no exception to tradition. By Chris Kelly. (Photo By Sophie Elgort For Bloomingdale’s).
Macy’s really boasts two separate holiday displays this year, each telling its own classic Christmas story.
The first, “Miracle on 34th Street”, depicts several scenes from the classic 1947 film, acted out by half-sized animatronic figures.
The second, “Yes, Virginia…” based on 8-year old Virginia O’ Hanlon’s famous 1897 letter to the New York Sun, is something unique. It is almost entirely made out of bright-colored paper, cut, folded, and sculpted by a team of 14 paper artisans. The display is quite theatrical, with paper curtains in the shapes of rooftop windows, subway trusses, and turn-of-the-century NYC landmarks drawing back to reveal an animated scene, often with further clever sequences farther back, as vibrantly-colored new rooms unfold like a labyrinthine pop-up book. Characters declaim lines, LCD screens show fireplaces burning down and birds fluttering outside of windows, the curtain closes, and spectators move on to the next scene. Extremely charming, dynamic, well-designed, and perhaps the best kid’s window in the city.
A sort of Victorian-steampunk mashup has become the high-class holiday aesthetic of choice for the last few years. This year it’s attempted by several stores, but done most stylishly and artistically at Bergdorf Goodman. Their windows are a Highlights hidden picture of cool set pieces, with models in outlandish gowns surrounded by a swirling stew of taxidermy animals and curious old machines. The two major overlapping themes this year seem to be travel and discovery, as well as maps and charts in general. In an astronomy-themed section, a model dressed as a female Isaac Newton is surrounded by dissected engravings of the solar system, as well as crawling zodiac creatures beautifully sculpted out of shredded paper. Further along, Agatha Christie dames travel down 5th Avenue on horses, giraffes, and railroad coaches, trailing long retinues of leather trunks before yellowed maps of the earth and heavens.
Saks 5th Avenue
Saks 5th Avenue uses a similar aesthetic for their “Snowflakes and Bubbles” holiday display, in which a stylishly dressed young girl consigned to the kids’ table at a fashionable party travels from window to window in various Jules Vern-esque conveyances, followed always by the motif of bubbles. A personal favorite was the flying elephant, a clockwork pachyderm suspended from a zeppelin and stamping to the motion of gilded gears and a bubbling liquid porthole in its side. Our heroine dreamily voyages from wood, to sky, to sea, and finally to a Coney Island-style dockside resort before finally crashing a fashionable party in a Martian-looking bubble car.
This year, Barney’s bucks the trends with “foodie holiday”, a display caricaturing various Food Network chefs and foodie idols to tap into the holiday association with feasts and gluttony. One window shows celebrity chefs engaged in a food fight, squabbling among the ruins of lobsters, wine, and corncobs under a garland decorated with the names and faces of New York restauranteurs – in a high point, Mario Batali’s head with an apple in his mouth garnishes the groaning table. Another shows a “Revolutionary Stew”, with some of the great chefs of the last half-century depicted as clouds of steam and smell emanating from a bubbling pot. In-jokes abound, but overall, points for humor and originality.
Lord & Taylor
Lord and Taylor democratizes the Christmas window this year by depicting the holiday memories of New Yorkers submitted via email and Facebook. What results is a New York City block in which the windows reveal mechanical doll-sized families acting out the styles and memories of the past century of Christmases. An apartment chimney slides back to reveal an 1800’s couple toasting with champagne next door to a 50’s family watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer on a rabbit-eared TV. Doors turn to reveal Currier and Ives girls in fur muffs heading out for ice-skating, while their contemporary great-granddaughters do the same on the other side. Upstairs, Disco Christmas bogeys on until far after Santa arrives.
Bloomingdale’s holiday display largely consists of a mosaic of 100 LED screens depicting snow covered evergreen forests and mountains with a single cardinal flying over them. Our take? It’s fairly unimpressive. Since the display is basically a pile of televisions, all showing essentially the same CGI image, it feels sort of like watching the menu screen of a DVD on a grand scale, or alternately, like visiting certain relatives: Nice enough if you’re going there anyway, but not worth a trek.
For more pictures of the department store holiday window displays, click here.
More pictures and source here.
Happy Happy Toy-Joy at Selfridges
Selfridges, Oxford St, London
Selfridges windows centre around Christmas top sellers: toys. They delight adults and children alike featuring Barbie and Ken, The Sylvannian families and other top toys. The colourful theme is ‘PLAY’ : the look of the windows is cartoon like pop style with simple line drawing cutouts. Characters Claudius, Rudie and Twinkle Kid appear in them, I shall point them out in the pictures to come. They also make good Christmas baubles so check them out in the Selfridges Christmas shop if you’re feeling playful!
The Oxford Street windows present different takes on Christmas Day. Here we have Barbie and Ken’s Christmas.
Here they are: Claudius on the left and Twinkle Kid on the right. I don’t know who the middle one is. Here is something you might want to know: Claudius is into Tango and speaks many languages, whereas Twinkle Kid is a bit of a fashionista who was once in a band with Miles Davis.
The Orchard Street windows have been designed by artist Pete Fowler who has created a modern family Christmas with characters we all know and love, including the Shoreditch Trendy Dad, the PR Queen Mum and the Brainbox Daughter.
Peter Pan stars in Harrods Christmas Windows
Harrods, Knightsbridge, London
J.M. Barrie, the creator of iconic story Peter Pan was born 150 years ago, and Harrods are celebrating this with their 2010 Christmas windows. They call it a vintage Christmas and it is luxurious as always. The windows are absolutely beautiful and feature classic scenes and characters from the story. To go with this years theme they stock a Peter Pan Collection, which includes Christmas decorations and gifts.
Wonderfully Wild Christmas at Liberty
Liberty of London, Great Marlborough St, London
It is the time for my first Christmas post. Liberty’s christmas scheme centres around wildlife and celebrates the nature. The mood is magical yet quite dark. It is calming to see something inspired by nature at the most commercial time in retail. What is interesting is that the scheme is not wintery at all.
The back walls are covered with blue, green and other earthy coloured glitter material. It is not apparent in the photos but colourful fairy lights are placed on the ceiling. Frogs, caterpillars and butterflies run free… I love the mannequins’ styling. Some of the windows happen in a forest and some are water scenes. The merchandise is a mix of fashion, home wares and other gifts.
I love this caterpillar doll. Very clever!
This tree is covered with Liberty fabrics, and the accessories are displayed on little floating shelves.
Heads up for Zara
Zara, Oxford St, London
Look out for these daring fashion choices at Zara, they will make your heads turn.. The Zara Oxford Street stores are known for quirky styling and these hair and accessory styling experiments are no exception. There are bandages around mannequins heads, cookies on their glasses and generally the hair trend is ‘the higher the better’. These images will make you wonder why headless mannequins even exist.
More pictures and source here.
Shinjuku Christmas Pictures 2010
And now we’re going to walk around a little Tokyo neighborhood you may have heard of called Shinjuku. Wikipedia says that over 3.5 million people transit through Shinjuku Station every day – wow! Luckily for us, many of those people never leave the station. Shinjuku is one of the most amazing places on the planet. When people all over the planet think of Tokyo, many of the futuristic images that come to mind (neon, skyscrapers, etc.) originate in Shinjuku.
Most of our holiday photo walk will focus on the east side of Shinjuku Station. Higashi (East) Shinjuku is packed with an unbelievable number of shops, bars, cafes, restaurants, and department stores. It’s a shopping and night life mecca. Shinjuku’s west side (Nishi Shinjuku) – where we will also make a very brief visit – is most famous as Tokyo’s main skyscraper district. Should I mention “Lost in Translation”? No? Okay, enough talking…let’s get walking!
If you turn 180 degrees from the front window of Collect Point and look back across the road, you’ll see the massive Isetan Department store. Isetan Shinjuku is one of the coolest department stores in all of Japan. Every year, they put up a great Christmas window display. Because they have so many holiday windows, we split Isetan out into another article. Please check out the Isetan Shinjuku Christmas Window Pictures Here!
Another Japanese department store – Mitsukoshi/Alcott.
This is the famous huge Hello Kitty outside of Gift Gate on Yasukuni Dori. Just to the left of this photo is a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop. Just off the screen to the right are two uniformed Japanese schoolkids feeding each other ice cream. It was cute, but I didn’t want to invade their privacy by photographing their cuteness.
Walking along the West side of Shinjuku Station, we passed MyLord, Odakyu, and Keio. We’ve now reached Lumine. We photographed this department store near the start of our walk from the South side of the station. Do you remember? This is the “Lumine Christmas Forest” window display. It looks a lot like the Isetan Shinjuku holiday windows.
Yes, there are penguins at this part of Shinjuku every year at Christmas, though I’m not sure why. Maybe the company’s logo has penguins, or it’s something to do with the Suica card, or something else. Who knows? Whatever the reason, penguins are cute.
Christmas Magic trees.
Also, don’t forget to look at a related article showing all of the Istetan Shinjuku Christmas windows.
More pictures and source here.