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Hamptons Life

Dec 11, 2017 12:05 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Enjoy Meticulously Designed Manhattan Store Windows During The Holiday Season

Childlike innocence in a Barney's window. MARSHALL WATSON
Dec 11, 2017 12:05 PM

The magic of the “Window Witch” is casting its spell on the byways of Manhattan.

Window Witch is a nickname for the often overlooked, overworked, over-pressured profession of merchandising and window display management. As we breezily trot by these terrariums of wonder, we often miss the magnificence and ingenious design incorporated in these 10-by-14-foot glassed-in frames.

The price of an Long Island Rail Road ticket and subway fare offers one of the most highly rewarding cheap thrills in New York City: The holiday windows of Manhattan.

I prefer to strut uptown to the 70s on Madison Avenue and work my way down, because once I behold Bergdorf Goodman all the other windows pale in comparison and I tend to gloss over the skill and the design statements provided by each.

Ralph Lauren’s windows depict a snow-dusted, western woodland and wonderland, populated by slender stuffed teddy bears in snug fitting greige ensembles amidst fur-draped furnishings and plump plaid pillows. Always depicting an upper crust American idealism, this chilled world never peers toward danger due to RL’s pampering lushness.

Prada’s take on a favorite animated film, “Wall-E,” clothes its endearing robot in metals reminiscent of the shiniest Christmas tree ornaments—an effective window in black, white, pink and cherry.

Loro Piana mesmerizes the eye with swirling metal ornaments in copper, gold and silver. The suspended dervishes are multiplied by blackened panels of mirror.

Etro creates a color-saturated universe of planetary suspension while David Yurman finely chisels a nocturnal drenched enchantment that is populated by a most exquisite carved bunny and a lurching grizzly. I want that rabbit when that window comes down!!

Louis Vuitton collaborates with Jeff Koons to put inflatable white blowups to clever use, while Dior seduces us with colorful hot air balloons floating between elaborately clad mannequins.

Moncler’s beautifully attired mannequin is backed up by a chorus of tiny replicas all held captive under bell jars. These creamy white vestments certainly seem the color of the moment—perhaps because of the holidays—but no less attractive.

Calvin Klein’s egg yolk under construction universe houses a cellophane clad model leaning on a giant carrot, wrapped in the stars and stripes—quite a road less taken by this company.

Barney’s, always devoid of product promotion in its holiday displays, commissioned artists to envision a futuristic world studded with colorful, intricate beadwork. Children will adore these. A childlike innocence pervades.

Tiffany’s tiny windows beg you to peer in closer to a mechanical world of shiny robot mannequins busily fishing for diamond encrusted starfish or dolly-ing up scores of Tiffany boxes while a Ferris wheel entertains wrapped gems.

And finally, the mothership of Christmas window displays never fails to astonish. Bergdorf’s always pulls out every stop. An elegantly gowned model conducts an orchestra of exploding neon delineated instruments. Although no music can be heard, the cacophony of symphonic inspiration seems to leap onto the sidewalk before you.

In another window, a fabulously clad starlet in Morticia Addams blacks and velvet top hat sashays beneath the intrusive eyes of 1930s Hollywood reel-to-reel cameras constructed in translucent acrylic—a tribute to the Museum of the Moving Image. A menagerie of diamond-studded dinosaur skeletons appear and are about to pounce upon a sequin clad Cleopatra whose bejeweled mask belies her feminine prowess as she mysteriously calls a halt to the beast’s carnivorous longings.

How can one resist these visual feasts, free to an audience whose only necessities are a warm coat, gloves, and a good pair of ear muffs? Happy Holidays!

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