There are holiday traditions that people hold dear: hanging their stocking by the fire, stringing lights, going to see Santa at the mall, roasting chestnuts (does anyone really do that?), etc.
My holiday tradition is going to see the windows at Bergdorf Goodman every year.
I see the other major department stores as well but they follow a predictable pattern
Macy’s – some reference to the “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus” letter
Lord & Taylor – moving miniaturized scenes (usually one with ice skating)
Saks – mirrors and well dressed mannequins showing off specially designed couture
The only store that doesn’t follow any kind of formula is Bergdorf Goodman. Every holiday you don’t know what you will find. An underwater scene totally made out of semi precious stones? A collection of antique staircase models? A circus act made entirely of paper? Seen them (and they were amazing). I always stand entranced, usually willing people to get out of my way so I can take a good picture, before each of the windows overwhelmed by beauty and joy.
I used to want to be a window dresser (before it was called anything like Visual Merchandiser) because of the movie “Mannequin”. I didn’t expect the displays to come to life like a pre-sex and the city Kim Catrall did in that film, but I did think it would be a glamorous and creative life.
I can’t imagine anywhere when these window magicians make a larger impact that at Bergdorf Goodman. The windows (not just holiday but all year round) are so spectacular that at least two books have been published about them. If I could save enough pennies to get the largest size of the latest edition ($1000!) that would partially satisfy my craving.
What I really, really want to do is help Linda Fargo and David Hoey, the creative geniuses behind the windows, actually install one of their creations. It is bigger than even my mighty life list to want to design one (and beyond my skill set) but I can hot glue with the best of them. Give me 10,000 feathers and I will do the best job possible to arrange them. I can only imagine what it must feel like to stand back and look at something so beautiful that you have helped create, and to know that it will be a part of thousands of people’s holiday tradition.