By  on November 23, 2005

Beautiful women wearing tattered clothing and worn shoes. It's no wonder New York retailers love fairy tales. After all, it's their chance to be at the ready and provide party dresses and fancy footwear for real princesses — especially satisfying at holiday time.

Cinderella? You can bet your Manolos she'd be the first on line at Bloomingdale's shoe department, and no glass slippers for her, please. She'll take the Christian Louboutin metallic platform sandals. Funny how these innocent stories about longing and wish fulfillment revolve around appearances and luxury goods — ever see a gilded pumpkin carriage? Of course, this Cinderella would never take a yellow cab to the ball. She looks like she walked out of a Fragonard painting with her pale skin and delicate features.

The Brothers Grimm couldn't have known how their story about a frog prince would ring true to all the single women in the city who've kissed many a toad. In the Bloomingdale's window, "The Frog Prince" becomes an urban legend with the princess lounging on moss that could be in Central Park rather than by the proverbial water hole.

The folks at Lord & Taylor also had fairy tales on their minds. The store's windows portray the "Princess and the Pea," "Rumpelstiltskin," "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Cinderella." One window tells the story of 12 princesses who wake up every day exhausted with their shoes in ruins. Their father, the king, does what any father would do, he offers the hand of one of the princesses to whomever can solve the mystery.

The story of "Rumpelstiltskin" gives Lord & Taylor the opportunity to feature every woman's fantasy — long, flowing hair, healthy enough to support a strapping young man — and the "Princess and the Pea" points out what every discerning consumer knows: Don't settle.

Saks Fifth Avenue's windows tell the story of universal love and the birth of beauty. Each of six windows contains an intricate vignette built inside Christmas ornaments shaped like stars and teardrops. There's a young woman gliding peacefully on a swing surrounded by branches as if in an enchanted forest. Tim Wisgerhof, window director, described the sensibility as Maxfield Parrish meets "Mad Max." The theme "speaks to the bigger message of the holidays," he said.At Macy's, the windows of the Herald Square flagship celebrate Christmas in the city with scenes popping out of books. One illustrates the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the official kickoff of the holiday season. The first parade took place in 1924. Another window shows a vista of Rockefeller Center with the traditional Christmas tree and ice skaters. In a third window, the Radio City Rockettes pop out of the pages. A scene from "The Nutcracker" fills the pages of a fourth book. There's a chaotic — and profitable — shopping scene with the facade of Macy's in a fifth window. The sixth is devoted to New Year's Eve revelry.

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