The Classicist: Bergdorf Goodman Unveils High-Tech Holiday Windows [video]
Legendary luxe New York department store Bergdorf Goodman, founded in 1901, is famous for its amazing, elaborate holiday windows which dazzle shoppers and passersby alike. This year is no exception, with the added attraction of some high-tech features debuting for the very first time. The 2010 windows, entitled "Wish You Were Here," take their inspiration from fantasy travel to far-flung places involving some rather unusual ways of getting there. The displays feature an array of "wild mash-ups of unexpected arrivals and departures", each with visual influences as diverse as Roman mythology, 1940s Hollywood musicals, the city's original Penn Station, and the very first science fiction film.
This year, for the first time, QR codes on several of the windows enable people to view an online Bergdorf Holiday Gift Finder and a video depicting the making of the holiday displays (above) simply by scanning the codes with their smartphone or handheld digital device. Produced entirely in-house by Bergdorf, the video features the song "Follow Me" by 17-year old emerging Sony artist Audrianna Cole. "We are in the surprise business," notes David Hoey, Bergdorf Goodman's Senior Director of Visual Presentation and Window Design. "This job is part architect and part cake decorator." Each of the landmark store's five main Fifth Avenue windows represents a different destination and a special method of conveyance:
• Reminiscent of a "patinated Vaudeville stage set", "The Scenic Route" features an antique caboose pulling out of the station. A hand painted moving backdrop animates the scene while a mannequin dressed in an Oscar de la Renta gown makes her exit stage right.
• "Full Speed Ahead" takes viewers inside a ship rolling gently on a sea voyage. Amidst a lavish collection of nautical antiques, a mannequin clad in a one-of-a-kind striped outfit by designer Naeem Khan keeps company with an "international cadre of miniature antique sailors".
• "Day Tripping" invites viewers to come along for a spur-of-the-moment jaunt to the moon. The glittery lunar dreamscape is inspired by the 1902 silent film "Le Voyage Dans La Lune" by Georges Melies, plus a generous dose of mid-century touches from Flash Gordon to Jules Verne.
• In "A Guided Tour," a gigantic gold and ivory wooden Pegasus set against a hand painted medieval-style mural illustrates an especially glamorous method of air travel.
• In the final window, "Ready for Takeoff", a Victorian-style flying machine has been inventively concocted out of bicycle and carriage parts and components from a vintage hot air balloon, attended by a team of uniformed simian grease monkeys.
This season Bergdorf Goodman also partnered with Polyvore.com, a creative-based social networking community, to host a Holiday Windows Challenge inviting members to upload their own window designs with fantasy destinations in mind. The winner, CJF Design♥, was selected from more than 2,800 entries and received a prize including a private guided tour of the holiday windows and a $2,500 Bergdorf Goodman gift card. The Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows will remain on display through January 3.