NEW YORK — While always fashionable and fanciful, the holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman this year will bring an added dimension of culture to the tableau. The windows will pay tribute to the New York Philharmonic, the Museum of the Moving Image, The New York Botanical Garden, the New York Historical Society, the American Museum of Natural History, UrbanGlass and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
“We are not being too literal with the institutions. We’re doing a fantasy on the subject matter,” explained David Hoey, Bergdorf’s senior director of visual presentation. “Every window is going to be completely different and will explore a different media. Some are kaleidoscopic. Some have lots of props. But they all will be symmetrical.”
“The holiday windows are a love letter to New York,” added Mallory Andrews, Bergdorf’s senior vice president of sales promotion, marketing and public relations. “It’s about exhibiting a range of music, art, history, film and nature,” and raising awareness of the seven cultural institutions.
It’s also about Bergdorf’s differentiating for holiday and noticing that consumers are spending differently and want more than just better products. They want interesting, entertaining experiences, which Bergdorf’s will facilitate by selling access at the seven institutions to special performances, events, classes and behind-the-scenes activities.
Designers and brands such as Loro Piana, Adam Lippes, Lorraine Schwartz, James Bank and David Webb have created exclusive, limited-edition gifts for Bergdorf’s, many inspired by the cultural institutions. The products will be sold at the store and on bergdorfgoodman.com from November through the holiday season. A percentage of the sales will be donated to the corresponding partner institution, while all the proceeds of the sales of the experiences go entirely to the institutions.
Bergdorf’s holiday windows are to be experienced, given the complexity of the project, with about 100 artisans and plenty of research involved. “We don’t turn the whole thing over to one production house. This is done in-house,” Hoey said. “We work on it all year.”
True to its holiday tradition, Bergdorf’s will install at least one mannequin per window in a fall 2017 or spring 2018 outfit to “ignite the action,” Hoey said. “The design of the window comes first. Then we search for the perfect look.”
The holiday windows will be unveiled the evening of Nov. 14, and be in place through Jan. 1.
Giving a glimpse of what will be behind the glass, Hoey said the Philharmonic window will have a red neon light show with all the instruments of the orchestra depicted.
For The New York Botanical Garden window, a “stylized botanist library” will display hundreds of plants, trees and flowers (identified by their Latin names) created in fiber art utilizing embroidery, needlepoint, quilting and sculpture. “It’s all handmade. This window alone is six months in the making,” Hoey said.
The American Museum of Natural History window will be a riff on the museum’s grand entrance, known as the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda. It’s being created with thousands of antique mirror mosaics and seven rhinestone-encrusted dinosaurs.
Among the products and experiences that will be available are Master & Dynamic MW60 cordless headphones with a pre-selected playlist curated by the Philharmonic, priced $550. For $2,000, customers can get two tickets to the film “Amadeus” projected on a big screen while the Philharmonic performs the sound track live. Later, they can meet the musicians.
For BAM, Bergdorf will sell a velvet patchwork Hayward “Iconic Shopper” tote priced at $850, and invitations to see Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” starring Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville with a private gathering afterward, for $2,500 for a group up to 12.
To benefit the New York Historical Society, Bergdorf’s will sell an exclusive $1,675 Loro Piana scarf showing ice skaters in Central Park. A tour of the “Hotbed” exhibit showcasing Greenwich Village and the work of the female artists and writers in the early 20th century, with lunch at Storico with chief historian Valerie Paley, is priced $1,500.
The Museum of the Moving Image and Bergdorf’s are partnering on a kid’s birthday party at the Jim Henson Exhibition with a tour of the show and instruction on puppeteering and puppet design. Meanwhile, Bergdorf’s will offer T-shirts and hoodies by streetwear firm Kith to celebrate the Henson exhibit and support the museum.
For The New York Botanical Garden, Bergdorf’s has jewelry from Santo by Zani and Daniella Kronfle, priced $5,000 to $6,000; a botanical-print limited-edition umbrella by Adam Lippes, $175, and tickets for sale to a floral design class at the Botanical Garden’s Midtown Education Center.
For UrbanGlass, Bergdorf’s has sculptures by Rob Wynne, Rob Pruitt, Keith Sonnier and Lynda Benglis, and will sell tickets to a private lesson at the UrbanGlass studio in Brooklyn.
For the American Museum of Natural History, a jewelry offering priced $5,000 to $100,000 includes Glenn Spiro’s butterfly rings with rubies, pink sapphires and diamonds; bee, hummingbird and salamander broaches in precious stones from David Webb, and a diamond dragonfly ring by Lorraine Schwartz.
With holiday windows, Bergdorf’s sets the bar high. “We try to induce an aesthetic delirium. We go over the top, layer upon layer,” Hoey said. “We want them to be interesting from across the street. So the closer you get, the more detail you learn. We try to make ‘Instagrammable’ moments. It’s hard to define, but there is a style to the Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows. It’s baroque a go-go.”