The circus came to Bloomingdale’s 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net.
The 45 minutes of theatrics were the build up to unveiling Bloomingdale’s holiday windows depicting Swarovski crystal-encrusted circus oddities and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” and playing songs from the soundtrack, which become audible just as you approach the windows. Keala Settle, who plays the bearded lady from the movie “The Greatest Showman,” serenaded the circus performers with songs from the film which is about the life of P.T. Barnum.
Inside Bloomingdale’s, Zendaya, who plays Anne Wheeler the trapeze artist in the musical, introduced her capsule collection for Bloomingdale’s Aqua private brand. “I wanted to take the fantastical essence of the movie and make it wearable,” she told WWD. There’s a flair and party spirit to the Zendaya x Aqua line, with glittery maxi skirts and embroidered star gowns, though it’s not over-the-top like the cotton candy pink hair and purple leotards Zendaya dons in the film.
“This is a lot of dress for the money,” said Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive officer Tony Spring, tugging on a sequined dress inspired by the film, which is the basis of the department store’s holiday promotion. He highlighted other exclusive products such as the House of Sillage Greatest Showman parfum, and the multitude of circus visual displays and trappings all over the flagship.
“You can feel the attitude, opulence and optimism of the film injected in every touch point to the consumer, through the store, online, in our social media, in our products running through giftables, fashion, jewelry, sweaters and dresses, and the windows,” Spring said.
The carnival aesthetic runs throughout the 59th Street flagship, with crystal orbs and circus acrobats suspended from the ceilings; a pop-up shop with candles, fragrances, bags, shoes and dresses inspired by the movie; a mechanical fortune teller; jugglers, and scores of what Spring called “Instagramable moments” like photographing your face on the body of a strong man placard. There’s even an old-fashioned “high striker” strength tester that you slam with a sledgehammer to ring the bell.
“This is more than just a partnership with a film, and it’s a spectacular film. It’s a strategy that integrates in a powerful way into everything we do,” Spring said. The 20th Century Fox film gets released Dec. 20.
Some might consider the windows the main event. “They’re based on each of the songs in the movie, which is very upbeat and about the possibilities in life, believing in yourself and being able to do whatever you put your mind to,” Spring said. “But the windows are intended to show you what’s going in the store. They’re not just an idea by itself.”