A visual feast for window shoppers
NEW YORK: It is a Christmastime tradition for shoppers, New Yorkers and tourists alike: checking out store windows decorated for the holidays. Many of this year’s windows use hi-tech displays to present traditional stories and symbols of the season.
At Saks Fifth Avenue, digital projectors beam images of translucent white snowflakes and bubbles on to the store’s facade. The images interact with the architecture in a magical 2½-minute light show that takes place every 10 minutes from 5pm to 10.30pm nightly. With a musical score playing in the background, the visual effects include snow gathering on ledges, bubbles emerging from windows, and the building exterior appearing to freeze over.
Macy’s windows also are a mix of hi-tech media and traditional holiday themes, taking spectators on a journey through the eyes of eightyear-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who wrote to a newspaper in 1897 asking for proof of Santa Claus and got the famous response: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
Each window hosts a minitheatrical show with scene changes, lighting, video and voiceover. The animation in the windows uses a digital video of intricate figures made from paper and in each set, a small screen shows a scene within a scene, filled with Christmas trees, Santas and other holiday symbols.
“It has that old-fashioned feel, but there’s a lot of technology in it as well,” said Macy’s director of windows, Paul Olszewski.
The use of paper and the bright colours give the display a “storybook feel”, but the windows are also “highly theatrical, each offering its own little show”, he said.
Windows at Lord & Taylor offer 12 mechanical tableaus illustrating Christmas scenes set in New York City, inspired by favourite memories that customers shared with the store. The theme of the display is Share the Joy and the displays include candy canes, wrapped gifts, snowy streets, snowmen, wreathbedecked houses, Santa’s sleigh with reindeer and decorated trees.
The windows at Bergdorf Goodman were inspired by fantasy travel to far-flung places and are titled Wish You Were Here. David Hoey, Bergdorf Goodman senior director of visual presentation and window design, describes the windows as a mash-up of unexpected arrivals and departures, drawing on influences as varied as Roman mythology and the movies.
In one scene featuring a mannequin in an Oscar de la Renta gown, an antique train pulls out of a station; in another, a ship rolls on the sea while a figure in a striped outfit keeps company with miniature sailors.
The windows at Henri Bendel were inspired by The Nutcracker with a fun, high-fashion twist. The New York City Ballet joined with the store on the display, which shows a 1.83m-tall female nutcracker and mannequins posed to look like ballerinas from the classic Christmas ballet.
Inside the store, figures in tutus are suspended from the ceiling.
Finally, at Bloomingdale’s a mosaic of computer-generated animation on 100 digital screens depicts a dreamy winter landscape. – Sapa-AP
DIGITAL DISPLAY: A pedestrian walks past holiday window decorations outside Bloomingdale’s department store in New York.
OUT OF THIS WORLD: People look at the holiday window decorations outside Bergdorf Goodman in New York.