With the enormous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall, and all of the magnificent window displays, the Big Apple never ceases to light up for holiday festivities. Immaculately executed and intricately detailed, Fifth Avenue's holiday windows are at times more akin to art exhibits than commonplace shop displays. Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s have all gained stellar reputations for their extravagant holiday windows, becoming a hot-spot destination for tourists and native New Yorkers alike. While tourism, traveling, and brick-and-mortar shopping have all significantly decreased in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, some retailers have implemented virtual ceremonies to reveal their intricately designed window displays. To remember the brighter times, L'OFFICIEL takes a look at some of the New York City window displays of holidays past and present.
Macy's began the holiday tradition in the 19th century, decorating its street-level windows with festive lights and tableaus. Since then, storefronts across the city have aimed to outdo themselves each year, creating eye-catching scenes to celebrate the holidays.
In Matthew Miele’s 2013 documentary Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, the viewer gets a behind-the-scenes peek at the massive production that is Bergdorf Goodman’s window display. Following its Senior Director of Visual Presentation of over 20 years David Hoey and his team, they begin brainstorming for the store's famed holiday windows in February, giving them a little less than a year to make the fantasy a reality. According to the creative mastermind, the 1930s were executed with a surrealist twist, while the 1950s saw more refined and elegant displays. Then in the 1970s, the windows gained a reputation for “street theater” performative windows. Continuing to evolve into the 21st century, the holiday display is now a mix of fashion, technology, and entertainment.
Bergdorf Goodman revealed its #BergdorfGoodness windows just last week, while actress and comedian Ali Wentworth hosted Bloomingdale’s very first virtual benefit supporting the Child Mind Institute, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to bettering the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disabilities. With performances by singer Andra Day and dancers like Misty Copeland from the American Ballet Theatre, Bloomingdales used the opportunity to unveil its Give Happy holiday campaign and highly anticipated window display. On the same night, Saks Fifth Avenue hosted a virtual window unveiling to accompany its annual light show to ring in the holiday season. This year however, Saks has decided to sprinkle the festive excitement throughout 20 different events scheduled through December 23.