A vis­ual feast for win­dow shop­pers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - BETH J HARPAZ

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

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

DIG­I­TAL DIS­PLAY: A pedes­trian walks past hol­i­day win­dow dec­o­ra­tions out­side Bloom­ing­dale’s depart­ment store in New York.

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

OUT OF THIS WORLD: Peo­ple look at the hol­i­day win­dow dec­o­ra­tions out­side Bergdorf Good­man in New York.

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