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The Art of Holiday Window Displays in New York

This blog post was updated on October 25, 2018.

The Art of Holiday Window Displays in New York

In New York City, the holidays provide a venue for department stores to get a little creative and artistic with their window displays. Since the 1870s, many department stores in the city have turned their windows into canvases of holiday artwork. Serving as an integral part to the holiday season in New York, these displays have evolved over the years from simple dolls added to Christmas scenes to interactive, elaborate, high tech creations. While the city might fill with plenty of museums and galleries to marvel at renowned artwork, if you want to see some festive creations, you can press your nose against the windows of these spirited department store displays.

Barney’s: With a theme of Baz Dazzaled, you would expect director Baz Luhrmann to be behind the vision of Barney’s holiday window displays. The director and his production and costume designer wife Catherine Marin along with Barney’s own Dennis Freedman collaborated for this year’s holiday windows. These are not your average holiday window displays with live performers and kinetic sculptures added for good measure. Intended to be an otherworldly sensory experience that delights, inspires and surprises, one of the highlights is the 8 foot tall robotic owl by artist and sculptor Chris Cole.

Lord and Taylor:
The New York City flagship Lord and Taylor store is celebrating 100 years in style, namely with its holiday window displays. With a theme centered on an enchanted mansion, the windows are whimsical and imaginative. Each window heads deeper and deeper into the mansion, a grand home filled with animals. The holiday window displays feature handmade costumes and even video wall technology. [Pictured above]

Bergdorf Goodman: The 2014 holiday window displays for Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue center around the word, “Inspired.” While always famous for being decadent with holiday window displays, this year was no exception. The displays took over a year to create and around 100 artists speared headed by David Hoey. Each window celebrates a different art, including literature, architecture, theater, painting, music, dance, sculpture and film. The windows are also comprised unusually and artistically. For example, the literature window is made entirely from soft sculpture, fabric and needlework.  

Macy’s: In terms of New York City holiday window displays, Macy’s tends to be one of the most famous. This year’s theme hones in a little boy named Alex. With the help of a telescope, he sees Christmas on Earth and other planets. Called, “Santa’s Journey to the Stars,” the theme is the design of Roya Sullivan. Most of the creation is made of foam. Notable windows include one depicting a snowball fight between two ice giants and candy cane bridges on Mars.

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