NEW YORK — Live from Barneys New York, it’s Saturday Night.
This story first appeared in the October 7, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
For the holiday windows of its Madison Avenue flagship, Barneys is presenting various tableaux depicting memorable “Saturday Night Live” moments culled from more than three decades and filtered through the kooky lens of creative director Simon Doonan. The retailer is hoping that partnering with “SNL” as it celebrates its 35th anniversary will give it a boost.
“There’s a pantheon of hilarious people,” said Doonan of “SNL.” “They keep producing major talent.”
For the last two years, Barneys’ holiday themes took a socially conscious tone with “Peace & Love: Have a Hippy Holiday” last year, and “Have a Green Holiday” in 2007. Doonan decided to return to humor to get consumers’ acquisitive juices flowing.
“This is a hugely important fourth quarter for us,” Doonan said at the retailer’s West 33rd Street production studio, where larger-than-life papier-mâché heads of Roseanne Roseannadanna and Debbie Downer hang in various stages of completion. “In this challenging season, we thought long and hard about what we were going to do for Christmas. The purpose of holiday marketing is to create desire and ignite consumer frenzy as much as possible.”
The tag line of the campaign is “Have a Witty Holiday.”
“Barneys is fun, cool and witty,” Doonan said. “We’re deemphasizing flagrant luxury and reemphasizing fun.”
That goes for the holiday catalogue as well. “Price points start at approachable and go up to typical Barneys,” Doonan said, pointing out an exclusive Timex collaborative jk5 watch for $85, and Renee Lewis’ 18-karat gold and ruby, opal and diamond recycled gem earrings from $7,800 to $29,000 at the other end of the spectrum. The catalogue is filled with quotations from legendary wits such as Mae West, who said, “When choosing between two evils I always like to try one I’ve never tried before,” and Dorothy Parker, whose gems include, “Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”
In the studio is a loopy Christmas tree made of circular shelves holding repurposed or cast-off items such as blue and green bottles and vases, mannequin heads, globes, and old doll heads and copper pot scrubbers strung together as garlands. The tree will be replicated and sent to stores outside Manhattan.
Three of the Madison Avenue windows will be devoted to iconic “SNL” characters. These include the Coneheads; John Belushi as a killer bee; Steve Martin as King Tut; Martin and Dan Akroyd as Two Wild and Crazy Guys; Molly Shannon’s Mary Katherine Gallagher; Gilda Radner’s Roseanne Roseannadanna; Tina Fey dressed as Sarah Palin carrying a crossbow, and Amy Poehler behind the “Weekend Update” anchor desk. Catch phrases such as “You Look Marvelous,” “Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger” and “I’m Chevy Chase and You’re Not” are scrawled on the walls. The last window will feature a big “35” decorated with lights with photos of current cast members on the wall and scripts strewn over the floor.
Barneys plans to unveil the windows on Nov. 16 with “SNL” creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels and as many cast members as possible in attendance.