After several days of 60-degree weather, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Spring Break around here. I’m not complaining by any means — but it can be hard to remember that it’s the holidays when your cab driver is complaining he needs to run the air conditioner.
To get myself in the holiday spirit, I strolled through the shopping corridor on Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue to view the holiday windows. As always, there was a smattering of both the surreal and the sublime. Here’s what left the biggest impression for me. (And here are last year’s.)
light-bulb moment: noun, informal
1. a moment of sudden realization, enlightenment, or inspiration, i.e.: “I need a holiday gift idea? I should try Fendi!”
2. Ham-fisted attempt to incite a Pavlovian response to fun fur-covered accessories one would otherwise not buy
BARNEYS NEW YORK
Once again, Barneys continued its grand tradition of not including actual clothes in their windows. Instead, each window was conceptual, like an installation of glass sculptures in the shape of stars.
By far the weirdest example was the ice castle above, created by “ice farmers,” which is apparently a real job. (Who knew you could get paid to watch water freeze?) The ice castle is notable mostly because the entire window was transformed into a freezer. But I would have been more impressed if they stocked it full of cartons of gelato.
In another window, artisans perform live ice sculpting throughout the day. By the time I got there, the shift was long over — but here are all the tools they left behind!
All this to make a snowman? Seems suspicious. Very serial killer-y.
At Bloomingdale’s the only mannequin that matters is the shopper. That’s why one window features a touch-screen selfie camera that will beam the picture-taker’s image into the window. (I miiiight have taken 500 different photos with this thing.)
Bergdorf is famous for its sumptuous windows. It’s always the highlight of my self-guided window tour. This year, the theme was what I dub: GIRLS LIKE SHINY STUFF, RIGHT?
Let’s take a look at this crystal-crusted pantsuit:
This detailing on the violet suit looks incredible — especially when paired with the amethyst backdrop — but up close, those pants look like a very bizarre skin condition.
The strange dermatological textures didn’t end there.
One window was guarded by an enormous statue of Neptune created entirely from pearls. He was sitting astride of a whale, also made of pearls. The rest of the window included several crustaceans made from crystals. There were actually clothes in the window, too — but they were forgettable. (Not sure if that’s a good thing or not.)
But my favorite window was this last one. (And judging from Instagram, it was the public’s favorite as well.)
Behold — a tarot card come to life.
In this window, the mannequin is surrounded by palm-reading charts, tarot cards and a wheel of fortune. In a nod to the Wizard of Oz, a simian fortune teller is peering into a crystal ball — a nice mix of the traveling Professor Marvel and the flying monkeys. It was a total showstopper — and I mean that as non-sarcastically as possible.