University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Saks Fifth Avenue"

NYC’S WHIMSICAL HOLIDAY WINDOWS: A VISUAL MERCHANDISING BONANZA

Saks Fifth Avenue unveiled its holiday windows. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..especially for stores as the holiday season is one of the most profitable times of year for retailers. In New York City, both department stores and boutiques alike get festive with creative windows that tourists and city residents line up to view. Last winter, due to the pandemic, most retailers opted for more minimalistic displays; but for the 2021 season, stores such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Bergdorf Goodman have pull out all the stops with their window displays. Their exceptionally positive holiday windows are sending good vibes out to the city streets.

Children gazing at the Macy’s Christmas window displays early 1900s. (Photo Credit: Bain Collection/ Library of Congress)

Macy’s is acknowledged as bringing holiday windows to New York City in 1874, with an extravagant display on 34th Street in Herald Square. Over the years, now-shuttered retailers along Fifth Avenue, namely Lord & Taylor, B. Altman and I Magnin,  competed to outshine each other with dazzlingly creative holiday window installations that drew crowds, inspired family traditions, and gave tourists another reason to visit New York City in December.

“Most of them did not feature merchandise,” said Sheryll Bellman, the author of Through the Shopping Glass: A Century of New York Christmas Windows“It was to delight the public. It was their gift to the city.”

This year, with retailers optimistic about the holiday shopping season, these creative and magical windows are drawing shoppers and fans of visual merchandising in droves to the city. They ogle and ogle and of course take selfies in front of the windows. Sometimes for good causes.

Michelle Obama unveiled the Saks windows and promoted her charity, Girls Opportunity Alliance. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York City, who has some of the most impressive holiday windows, drew former First Lady Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama was there to promote a partnership between Saks and the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance. December is the month for giving, and the department store donated $1 million to the foundation. Some of Saks’ windows featured looks from a few of  Ms. Obama’s favorite designers, Jason Wu, Philip Lim and Oscar de la Renta, with 100 percent of the net proceeds this year going to the foundation. The collections not only included clothing, but also housewares, beauty, and accessories.

Saks Fifth Avenue unveiled its holiday windows. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

According to Andrew Winton, senior vice president of creative at Saks, who oversees the holiday displays, the company asked NYC children to draw and describe their holiday dreams — of homes, beaches, and games —and then the Saks window artists brought those images to life. “The style is sort of candy-coated imagination,” said Winton in an interview with The New York Times.

Shoppers walking by a Macy’s window. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Visual Story-telling

This season, Macy’s holiday windows tell the story of Tiptoe, a spunky reindeer who goes on a magical journey as she dreams of flying, attending flight school, and ultimately joining Santa’s crew. “Macy’s Herald Square is the home for holiday magic and our iconic Broadway windows have for more than 100 years showcased animated wonders that inspire and delight,” said Manuel Urquizo, National Director of Visual Campaigns and Windows for Macy’s to The New York Times. “With Tiptoe, we have created a whimsical story highlighting the important power of belief and the joy and wonder of the season.”

Macy’s 2021 holiday window displays. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

Holiday cheer also filled the streets in front of Bloomingdale’s as the store’s visual team stuffed the Lexington Avenue windows with items that delighted them as children. One window displayed a T. Rex covered in ornaments riding a skateboard. Another window a hot pink mannequin in glitter roller skates twirling around in a sequined clamshell.

The windows at Bloomingdale’s are stuffed with oversize toys. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

“Every year, we look forward to our holiday unveiling event as a gift to our customers and the city of New York. And, this year, we are even more excited to come back together and celebrate,” said Frank Berman, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Bloomingdale’s in an interview with Gothamist.

Bloomingdale’s 2021 holiday window displays. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

The luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman ran with the theme “The Present Moment,” illustrating joyful moments in which characters are in the moment.  “Life is turning around again,” said Linda Fargo, the Bergdorf Goodman fashion director, as the department store unveiled its holiday windows.

Bergdorf Goodman 2021 holiday window displays. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

In one holiday display, there was a mermaid wearing a sequined magenta dress by C.D. Greene resting on a bedazzled motorcycle surrounded by pointy-nosed fish. In another window, a mannequin wearing an embroidered gold Schiaparelli dress and jacket is dancing on the moon.

Each installation celebrates a different mood: adventurous, harmonious and frisky. David Hoey, Bergdorf’s senior director of visual presentation, told The New York Times that the windows were inspired by a psychedelic sculpture of a green bird. “Last year was kind of minimalism,” Mr. Hoey said. “This year is maximalism which is our trademark.”

The windows at Bergdorf Goodman evoke a psychedelic jungle. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

“These windows are extremely complicated to install, considering the layers of scenery and props,” Hoey told Yahoo. “Windows are usually tight spaces. It’s like sensory overload. We purposely overstuff these windows in a designed kind of a way, attempting to induce an aesthetic delirium. To us, they are extremely holiday and festive. A state of mind. While we don’t necessarily have Santa Claus, we do have a spirit of holiday.”

 NEW UOF VISUAL MERCHANDISING LESSON SERIES LAUNCHES

If you’re a fan of store windows and in-store displays like we are, check out our new 9-part series on the art of visual merchandising, taught by Parsons & UoF professor Marcie Cooperman. You’ll find them in our Fashion Business Discipline

 

JUST A REMINDER

Take advantage of our once-yearly subscription deals. Gift that fashionista in your life or heck…why not treat yourself?

Get $40 off a yearly subscription (was $189 now $149) https://www.universityoffashion.com/holiday-offer/ Promo Code: Deal21

Or get $5 off the first month of our Monthly subscription (was $19.95 now $14.95) https://www.universityoffashion.com/holiday-offer/ Promo Code: Promo21

Offers expire 1/1/22

 

SO TELL US, WHICH RETAILER DO YOU THINK HAS THE MOST CREATIVE HOLIDAY WINDOWS?

 

 

 

 

TIS THE SEASON: THE MAGIC OF HOLIDAY WINDOWS

 Louis Vuitton NYC Window display (Courtesy Photo)

Louis Vuitton NYC Window display (Courtesy Photo)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..the holiday season is a magical time when joyful cheer is celebrated and generosity for others is spread throughout the world. No matter what your religious beliefs, there is no denying that this season is filled with hope for a better tomorrow.  The holidays are also an opportunity for retailers and brands to end the year with high profit margins, as consumers shop for the perfect gifts family and friends.

The holiday season seems to be getting earlier and earlier. This year many retailers even officially kicked off the season by staying open on Thanksgiving! “Black Friday,” which is a public holiday in more than 20 states, presumably got it’s name from one of two theories: that the wheels of vehicles in heavy shopping traffic on the day after Thanksgiving Day left many black markings on the road surface. The other theory is that the term Black Friday comes from an old way of recording business accounts. Losses were recorded in red ink and profits in black ink. Many businesses, particularly small businesses, started making profits before Christmas especially on the Friday after Thanksgiving. “Cyber Monday” on the other hand, was first used in 2005 by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which needed a name for the flurry of online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving, since online merchants wanted the money that  brick-and-mortar stores were making on Black Friday.

But with today’s retail market being so saturated, and online shopping being so competitive, how do traditional brick-and-mortar retailers compete? The answer is simple, major department stores and retailers around the world lure customers in with their brilliant, spare-no-expense race for an exuberant gasp… holiday display windows, that have become a destination tourist attraction and in many cases a family tradition around the world!

Each store has their own unique style when it comes to their holiday windows. Macy’s and Lord & Taylor are known for their classic displays that delight Christmas shoppers and their children. Barneys New York is known for innovative and provocative displays, while Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue are known for over-the top glitz. No matter what, these windows attract costumers, something that an eCommerce site can’t do.

The tradition of holiday window displays dates back to the Industrial Revolution, when in the late 1800s plate glass became readily available and allowed shop owners to build large, full length storefront windows to display merchandise. This was the birth of window shopping as we know it today.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but one of the first major holiday window displays was created by the Macy’s New York store in 1874, featuring a collection of porcelain dolls and scenes from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Children at the Macy’s toy window, ca. 1910 via The Library of Congress

Children at the Macy’s toy window, ca. 1910 via The Library of Congress

In the early 1900s major retailers across the U.S. began competing with each other. Store owners and managers used window displays to lure window shoppers into their stores, and holiday displays became more colorful and creative. By 1937, department store owner, specifically Lord & Taylor, decorated their windows with gilded bells that swung in sync with the sounds of recorded bells. This was a  turning point for retailers, as each began to transition their holiday windows into magical fantasy experiences, as opposed to just showcasing merchandise.

“Bell Windows” at Lord & Taylor, 1937 via MCNY

“Bell Windows” at Lord & Taylor, 1937 via MCNY

From that point on, year after year, competition among major brick-and-mortar retailers intensifies, as online shopping increases. But it’s this magical time of year that consumers are lured into stores to view these masterful works of art.  The grander and more innovative the display, the more attention it receives and let’s face it…the more likes on social media is always a good thing!

Here is a fantastical journey of holiday window displays from across the globe. Each retailer had a clear and strategic message to attract their customers.
Printemps Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

Printemps Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

At Printemps, in Paris,  Jules and Violette, the retailer’s recurring holiday mascots, are sent on a hunt for Santa Claus visiting the desert, Antarctica, the bottom of the sea, and mushroom-and flower-covered terrain with flapping butterflies.

Macy's Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Macy’s Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

At Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan, a tale of friendship, family, adventure and teamwork unfolds as Sunny the Snowpal works to save Christmas, befriending a fox along the way.

Bloomingdale's Holiday Windows 2018 in New York (Coutesy Photo)

Bloomingdale’s Holiday Windows 2018 in New York (Coutesy Photo)

Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship store in New York City was inspired by “The Grinch.”

Bergdorf Goodman's Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Bergdorf Goodman’s Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Bergdorf Goodman’s windows in NYC are a sugar-filled delight with everything from a gingerbread cuckoo clock, whose timekeeper is prone to wander from her enormous chalet, to a peppermint-hued dream featuring a candy cane wizard.

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Saks Fifth Avenue’s NYC window portrays a fashionable shopper’s visit to the theater, where instead of watching the show, she dreams of the retailer in a whimsical fantasy.

Barneys Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (courtesy Photo)

Barneys Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (courtesy Photo)

Barneys New York takes the penny to greater heights with its Making Change theme, presented by the Barneys New York Foundation. The campaign, in partnership with Save the Children, invites guests to create some currency during the holidays, including using the hashtag #centiments, which results in a $5 donation by the foundation to Save the Children for every post. Now that’s spreading holiday cheer!

Galeries Lafayette Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

Galeries Lafayette Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

Galeries Lafayette in Paris envisions a “reverie with La fabrique des Rêves,” or manufacturer of dreams, featuring delightful characters imagined by children: furry dinosaurs and silly monsters in a playful and whimsical window is packed with toys and presents, plus seasonal pieces from the shop’s shoe and clothing collection.

Harvey Nichols in London Holiday Window (Courtesy Photo)

Harvey Nichols in London Holiday Window (Courtesy Photo)

Harvey Nichols, London is celebrating the new Disney film Mary Poppins Returns by showcasing four costumes worn by the cast. In reference to the iconic character’s favorite mode of transport, gold and silver umbrellas also decorate the windows.

Harrods in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Harrods in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Harrods in London serves up sweet treats in a festive celebration with oversized, mouthwatering  desserts.

Liberty in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Liberty in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Liberty London’s animal etchings on pillars and panels are a well-known part of the decor. The creatures appear in windows as two-dimensional black-and-white cutouts.

Selfridges in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Selfridges in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Selfridges’ “Santa on Tour” in London has St. Nick hitting the road and rocking designer created looks.

Mitsukoshi Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Mitsukoshi Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Mitsukoshi, located in Tokyo, mark the last Christmas of Japan’s Heisei period; the current emperor plans to abdicate in April, which will mark the beginning of a new period. Isetan creates a retro vision of the future featuring a rocking horse and snow globes cavorting with reindeer aided in flight by jet packs and Santa in a motorized sleigh.

Takashimaya Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Takashimaya Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Takashimaya’s in Japan’s Nihonbashi district store appeals to kids with mini carousels, model train and Ferris Wheel surrounded by plush animals.

Harbour City Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

Harbour City Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

At Harbour City, Hong Kong, shoppers who donate to the Hong Kong Blood Cancer Foundation can take a selfie with a giant video kaleidoscope where LED screen walls are filled with snowflakes, stars and rainbows.

Joyce Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

Joyce Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

Joyce’s dramatic holiday décor in Asia is a cross between, “The Wizard of Oz” and “Stranger Things.” The outcome is an upside-down Emerald City topped by a right-side-up Indiana cabin. The cutting edge retailer also has a 50 foot Christmas tree suspended from its ceiling.

So tell us, which is your favorite Holiday window display?

 

For those of you still on the hunt for the perfect gift for that fav fashionista:

.Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (Courtesy Photo)

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (Courtesy Photo)

https://www.amazon.com/Historical-Dictionary-Dictionaries-Professions-Industries/dp/1442239085/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543860001&sr=1-1&keywords=historical+dictionary+of+the+fashion+industry

You can also pre-order our various technique books to perfect your skills:

To pre-order the Sewing: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Techniques-Beginners-University-Fashion/dp/1786271982/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543860128&sr=1-7&keywords=Sewing+Techniques+for+Beginners

Sewing (Courtesy Photo)

Sewing (Courtesy Photo)

To pre-order the Draping: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.amazon.com/Draping-Techniques-Beginners-University-Fashion/dp/1786271761/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543860392&sr=8-1&keywords=Draping%3A+Techniques+for+Beginners

Draping (Courtesy Photo)

Draping (Courtesy Photo)

To pre-order the Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Making-Techniques-Beginners-University/dp/1786271966/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543860796&sr=8-3&keywords=Pattern+Making%3A+Beginner+Techniques

Pattern Making (Courtesy Photo)

Pattern Making (Courtesy Photo)

 

 

And how about a gift certificate to the UoF?

cde7bd42-9d47-4ca6-991a-980317ec58dd

b8758834-1e59-4e71-9e3b-d0817b8d9b4c
Two Holiday Subscription Deals
  • Get $60 off a new Yearly subscription here!
  • That’s more than 30% off our usual $189 yearly rate!
  • Offer Only available for new Yearly subscribers. Current Monthly subscribers or Free Members, see below.

  • Get $5 off your first month of a new Monthly subscription here!
  • That’s more than 25% off our usual $19.95 monthly rate!
  • Offer only available for new Monthly subscribers. Current Free Members, see below.

  • Current Free Members and Monthly subscribers: Log in as usual, then look to the left and click “Upgrade to Monthly [or Yearly] Subscription (Special holiday rate)”.


  • All subscriptions give you unlimited access to every lesson on our entire website!