Nothing beats the thrill of seeing the Holiday season shop-windows all lit up in their sparkling glory and this year everyone seems to be outdoing themselves with the most gorgeous spectacles, ranging from Disney princesses to an entire mythology based on a yeti. Today, despite the icy chills, I stood with nose pressed to the mammoth sheets of glass at Bergdorf Goodman, behind which lie some of the most breathtaking recreations of the Jazz Age (yes, that’s a major trend this year for both fashion and beauty.) Entitled “BG Follies of 2012”, the decor is divided into five “Acts”: four different tableaus culminating in a grand finale scene.
Which one is your favourite? I would simply pack up the feather-decked Act II and install it in my home forever and ever, if I could!
Act I: Tuning Up
“Tuning Up” is inspired by the all-girl orchestra craze of the 1920s, later immortalized in the Billy Wilder film Some Like It Hot. Installed in aerial perspective, the stylish orchestra is set upon an elaborate black and white checkered ballroom floor. The individual musicians wear black, white and metallic dresses by Marc Jacobs, Phillip Lim, Elie Saab and others. The group of six performs on piano, drums and a variety of silver-plated musical instruments, while keeping an eye on their audience strolling along Fifth Avenue.
Act II: Rhapsody in Feathers
“Rhapsody in Feathers” is set in an environment created entirely out of millions of white feathers. The Art Deco-patterned backdrop is a hand-crafted mosaic of feathers, while a sextet of stylized white-feathered birds and peacocks add drama. The atmosphere is soft, ultra elegant, and extravagant, with a hint of Minsky’s Burlesque. The window features a mannequin inspired by the famous early 20th century fan dancer, Sally Rand. The mannequin, flanked by two oversized Art Deco chandeliers, poses with her large feather fans while wearing a short white fringed dress by Marchesa.
Act III: Follies in Miniature
“Follies in Miniature” features two dozen showgirls preparing to take their places for curtain call but there’s a twist: the showgirls are a collection of authentic antique 1940s miniature mannequins. These models, ranging in height from 12 to 48 inches, have been transformed by Bergdorf Goodman into miniature replicas of Ziegfeld Follies showgirls from the ’20s. They are dressed in elaborate gold, lace, and metallic custom-made gowns and headdresses. They perch on their own tiny stages, framed by gold-leafed prosceniums and exquisite miniature scenery. A life-sized showgirl, dressed in a gown by Lorena Sarbu, shares the stage.
Act IV: Canine Daredevils
“Canine Daredevils” sets the stage for a surprising novelty act: a glamorous dog trainer surrounded by 30 stylized, performing poodles and terriers. The custom-designed plaster dogs perform tricks on a sculptural, silver and gold-leafed Art Deco contraption set against a red velvet curtain. Some dogs entertain on wheels and platforms, while others charm the viewers on bicycles and ladders. The mannequin commands her canine show-offs in a dress from the Alexander McQueen Spring 2013 Runway collection.
Act V: The Mirror Kaleidoscope
“The Mirror Kaleidoscope” is the Grand Finale of the BG Follies of 2012. Twin showgirls are presented downstage, while a colossal, rotating, mirrored starburst rotates behind them. The multiple layers of this starburst contain nearly 1,000 individual beveled mirrors. Each successive layer of the starburst rotates in an opposite direction from the layer behind, creating an extraordinary kaleidoscopic effect. The mannequins’ matching gowns, studded in mirrors and rhinestones, were specially commissioned from Naeem Khan.
The windows will remain on display through January 3, 2013. Bergdorf Goodman partnered with The Coveteur for a behind-the-scenes photo series and a video about the making of the BG Follies holiday windows. The series launches online tomorrow on bergdorfgoodman.com and thecoveteur.com.