Saks' 2020 holiday book cover.

For this holiday, Saks Fifth Avenue is shining a light on the importance of spending time with loved ones and the ways people and places around the U.S. celebrate. With the theme “This Is How We Celebrate,” the store’s holiday windows look to capture a different “only in New York” moment.

For the 11th year, the holiday window unveiling and light show will be presented by Mastercard.

But with the pandemic and related health concerns, this year Saks and Mastercard have partnered to create an online platform where people can virtually join the Saks Lights Up Fifth Avenue events via livestream. They will not hold their traditional holiday performance in the middle of Fifth Avenue with crowds.

The Saks Lights Up Fifth Avenue event series will consist of 20 virtual lighting ceremonies, beginning with the unveiling of the windows and 10-story-tall theatrical light show at the New York flagship on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. Through Dec. 23, an array of personalities, designers and celebrities will host ceremonies from inside a Fifth Avenue window. Each will benefit a different charity, resulting in $100,000 in donations.

Each night following the unveiling, the light show will begin at 4:30 p.m., and repeat every 15 minutes. The host for the evening will press a button that will light the facade of the building and start the light show for the night.

As for the windows themselves, the center six Fifth Avenue window displays will bring a different “only in New York” moment to life and show how people celebrate in iconic settings around the city. The remaining windows will feature designer fashion with floating window panes, Mylar-wrapped trees, scattered musical instruments and ephemera in a sparkly, celebratory landscape.

“We like to think of our holiday windows as our annual gift to New York City, and this year we felt it was more important than ever to uphold this special tradition,” said Emily Essner, chief marketing officer of Saks. “After several challenging months for New Yorkers and people all over the world, we are eager to deliver the sense of fun and escapism for which Saks is known this holiday season.”

Saks and Mastercard will also enable people around the globe to virtually visit and purchase from the holiday shop at the New York flagship through an immersive commerce experience using MasterCard Retail Innovation solutions.

Another aspect of the holiday season will be Saks’ Holiday Book, available Oct. 21 on Saks.com and Oct. 28 in stores. It will feature such guest editors as designer Victoria Beckham, men’s wear designer Greg Lauren, makeup artist Keith Moore, and interior designer Sheila Bridges, who each have a dedicated page.

According to Saks, the holiday book will feature “the ultimate gift guide to must-have designer products,” as well as experiential gifts such as participating in a Saks Lights Up Fifth Avenue ceremony; full-service holiday party planning at L’Avenue at Saks that includes decor and a multi-course meal, and a VIP window tour led by Raylin Diaz, the visual windows director of Saks.

Saks will host a variety of social media campaigns including Holiday Home Tours, where notable industry insiders will showcase their holiday decor and talk about their favorite traditions; Holiday Recipes, where L’Avenue at Saks experts and special guests will teach viewers how to make seasonal dishes and cocktails, and Saks Lights Up Fifth Avenue Weekly Highlights, with coverage of lighting ceremonies and select interviews with hosts.

Essner was asked with so many people shopping online rather than actually shopping in stores these days, how will this play into Saks’ plans for the holiday?

“As our customers’ shopping habits continue to evolve, Saks will deliver a channel-agnostic approach to holiday shopping — meeting customers when, where and how they want to shop,” said Essner. “Saks offers a variety of services to assist with holiday shopping and gift-giving needs, including in-person appointments before and after store hours, virtual shopping personalized for the customer, as well as digital stylists.”

 

FOR MORE STORIES: 

Saks Fifth Avenue’s CEO on What’s Ahead

Fashion’s Pivot to E-commerce and the Future

Accenture’s Research Predicts a More ‘Human’ Holiday Season

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