Retail window displays have long been a holiday tradition, especially here in NYC. The biggest retailers have an entire team devoted to this art (yes, it's become a downright art) year-round. Animatronics, fashion, and imagination combine in a small window space to create a whimsical effect, and a simple stroll down 5th Avenue can instantly put you in the Christmas spirit.
But, coincidentally, what you won't see a lot of is the joyful big man in the red suit, or elves making toys. Instead, you're whisked away into a hauntingly beautiful fantasy land that looks more like Tim Burton's next film than a holiday theme.
It's all very Alice in Wonderland-ish (the real version, not Disney) and, honestly, some are actually a little creepy.
So let's fall down the rabbit hole ...
Bergdorf Goodman had a "Wish You Were Here" theme, which consisted of mannequins draped in couture while surrounded by beautiful antiques, each scene consisting of a different location and different form of travel. Oversized objects, fierce animals, and dark lighting gave these windows a surreal, childhood nightmare feel.
Saks Fifth Avenue windows told the story of a little girl's imagination. While her parents are busy partying in their Upper East Side penthouse, she sits alone with books and knickknacks that she then turns into a real-life fantasy adventure.
Notice how the adults have no faces in the first window, but in her imaginary world they do? And, you may not be able to tell from the photo, but the cupboard consisted of a ceramic octopus, moths, and an elephant, all of which were seen in windows following.
Instead of looking at retail windows, I feel like I'm walking through a museum -- a 15-degree museum. Normally one wouldn't stand in such cold discussing the hidden meanings behind a store window, but my friends and I couldn't help ourselves. It was simply fantastic.
What do you think of the window displays? Beautiful? A little scary? Both?
Images via Brittny Drye