NEW YORK — Bergdorf Goodman on Monday unveiled its holiday windows with a bang. The retailer set off fireworks from its rooftop to celebrate the windows. At times a bit scary, the explosions from the fireworks filled the air, drowning the young girls singing in the Broadway Kids Care choir poised on a stage in front of the store. This is the first year the retailer partnered with UNICEF to light the holiday snowflake hanging over the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, with actress, UNICEF ambassador and U.S. Fund for UNICEF national board member Téa Leoni flipping the switch. Nikki M. James, a Tony Award-winner for “Book of Mormon,” performed “The Man With the Bag”; she’s now in “Les Misérables.”
A crowd braved the raindrops to see the windows, themed “Inspired” and each based on a different art form. One window dedicated to literature features various shades of red from coral to magenta, and portraits of authors rendered in crewel, needlepoint, crochet, knitting and embroidery. Senior vice president of visual presentation David Hoey farmed out much of the needle work last year, but managed to do the portraits of Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, Marcel Proust and Baudelaire himself. “I got very good at doing beards,” he said. The mannequin in the window — Hoey said every Bergdorf’s holiday window has one to add another layer of storytelling — is wearing a red and gold Alice + Olivia dress, a red-haired standard poodle at her feet.
This story first appeared in the November 19, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The theater window is ablaze with neon lights with a demonstrative diva dressed in a gold Julien Macdonald gown. The window devoted to painting takes place in a studio strewn with paintbrushes, canvases and easels and a monumental work in progress. A model sits atop a wooden horse wearing a Dolce & Gabbana gown with painted flowers that was custom-made for the retailer. “They’re opening a shop here,” said Hoey. “We commissioned the look. The dress will be available by special order. Right now, it’s one-of-a-kind.”
The music window has a model in a C.D. Greene jumpsuit and hundreds of silver-plated jazz instruments formed into a sculpture.
The retailer hires about 100 artists and artisans each year to help with the windows; work begins on the following year’s version on Jan. 2. Hoey has an idea for the theme, but would only say, “Next year’s windows won’t be a totally new departure. We think of progressive growth, transformation and what new material can we exploit.”