FASHION’S GLASS HOUSE
Byline: Janet Ozzard
For its fashion week Madison Avenue window display, Barneys New York shows the calm after the storm.
One window depicts a runway scene after harried editors have departed, with name tags scattered, papers on the floor and various attributes left on chairs. Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s chair, for example, has a pair of dark glasses hanging off the back, a fork and steak knife on a plate, and flyers from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) scattered around it.
The only figure shown is a mannequin made up to look like the International Herald Tribune’s Suzy Menkes — complete with signature pompadour — typing on her laptop.
“We showed Suzy because she’s the most dogged editor, who goes to every single show,” said Simon Doonan, senior vice president of creative services at Barneys. “So we depicted her still clacking away on her laptop after all the other editors have left. And she’s had all these things happen to her over the years — the plaster falling on her head at the Michael Kors show — she’s like a war correspondent.”
Another window shows the models’ changing room after the show, with cigarette-filled ashtrays, makeup strewn around and vodka and beer bottles next to Slimfast and Pepto-Bismol.
“Part of what motivated me is the unending trail of debris that occurs during fashion week,” said Doonan.
There are actual clothes in the window, which Doonan said are pulled from the “most au courant, edgy, fashion-forward designers that the editors are most interested in,” such as Ann Demeulemeester, Costume National and Helmut Lang.
But are the jokes too ‘in’ for the guy on the street?
“They work on both levels,” said Doonan. “If you walk by and you don’t know anything about fashion, it’s a very inviting tableau vivant of post-fashion week devastation. But all the press make it over to Barneys during the week, so the merchandise is aimed at them.”