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Unwrapping the Magic

As holiday windows hit the streets, who will be your favorite?



Walking the streets of New York on an unseasonably warm day in November is a treat. Walking those streets while retailers are installing their holiday windows is the crème de la crème of retailing treats.

A few weeks ago I was in town for the BDNY Show, presented by VMSD’s sister magazine, Boutique Design, and took advantage of the trip to take in some retail therapy. While some retailers, like Ann Taylor, Gap and The Body Shop, had already trimmed their stores and windows in twinkling lights, shiny silver babbles and strings of verdant garlands, many windows were covered up in paper with only the message “Windows in Progress” to explain what was happening. Saks Fifth Avenue teased “We’re Creating Something Spectacular for the Holidays,” while H&M shouted “No peeking!”

In our industry, that’s the equivalent of putting colorful wrapped packages under the Christmas tree and then telling an eight-year-old, “Don’t touch.”

Thankfully, the wait’s almost over as flagships in New York and around the world pull back the curtains on their biggest displays of the year. A few of the highlights you can expect to see this year: Barneys New York has teamed up with The Walt Disney Company to launch Electric Holiday, a moving art video starring Minnie Mouse on a fashion adventure in Paris. Lord & Taylor celebrates traditions from around the world as its windows tell the story of what Santa does on his day off. Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship display is inspired by Cirque du Soleil, while Macy’s shares “Yes, Virginia: The Musical.” Bergdorf Goodman’s “BG Follies of 2012” are inspired by the Jazz Age.

In a behind-the-scenes tour at Saks Fifth Avenue, Harry Cunningham, senior vp, store planning, design and visual merchandising, offered a few hints on what will be revealed during its November 19 window unveiling, including new projection imagery on the façade of the luxury retailer’s Fifth Avenue flagship; six window settings that tell the story of different ways to make snow; and the company’s first foray into interactive windows.

Indeed, it is a most wonderful time of the year.


VMSD will keep the eye candy coming throughout the month of December as we post visions of holiday windows from around the world. Then check out our February issue for our annual holiday windows review.

Interested in submitting your holiday project for coverage? Contact assistant editor Carly Hagedon at for the details.




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