I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet. -- Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

07 December 2008

Window Shopping

Santa too is in search of Holiday Spirit..Selfridge's London

Oh how I love to window shop! If you don't go into the store you have a better chance of not spending anything! OK you can go on-line but ... This Holiday Season perhaps more than any other in many years we are all simply Window Shoppers. If you "need a little Christmas, right this very minute" but you know that your credit card has been locked in the deep freeze why not just press your nose against the glass and soak in some Holiday style.

If you are a Shopper then beautiful store windows are your museum exhibits-no entrance fee required! Holiday store windows are probably how many of us became SHOPPERS. We bundled up and strolled mitten to mitten along downtown streets sparkling with lights and animated dolls, teddy bears and trains. The windows captured our imagination and filled our heads with dreams. Visiting department store window displays also became a tradition of family holidays and a signature of American retailing.

Our memories may have made those windows more special than perhaps they were but it seems as if window designers have tried each season to capture the nostalgia and reach for our heartstrings. Window displays I feel are an art. You need to grab passersby, make them stop and most especially entice them to want to visit inside and shop! all while creating an expression of style.

Bergdorf Goodman

Shopping has changed so much, there are fewer and fewer downtown areas and "click and ship" is the way we cross off our lists. I know it is not very "green" but I still love shopping bags!!

So many stores we relied on, stores that were part of our lives forever, stores that we marked special occasions with, are now gone and of course there is the very real fear that so many more will go in 2009. In Boston we don't have a downtown shopping district to show off any longer...the cornerstones of Boston retailing are no longer. Filene's and Jordan Marsh have been replaced with Macys and that sadly is it. You need to travel along Boylston, Newbury and Charles streets,where the stores are wonderful, to find some fun window shopping, but there is no longer a Department Store with a capital D that you get celebrate the season with...Saks and Lord and Taylor and Neiman's and even Nordstrom's and Bloomingdales are close by but they are anchor stores or are encased in malls. Not a lot of windows to admire-elegant,snowflakes, ornaments, white and silver...but nothing really new, fun or imaginative and nothing that I would consider an Event to go and visit.

Saks NYC

That leaves the capital of American shopping, New York City, to show off a shopper's Christmas. For this year anyway some of the pillars of traditional department store retailing are still there to comfort us...we don't know who will be here to brighten the holidays next year, though I cannot imagine Christmas without Saks, Lord and Taylor, Macys, Bendel's, Bergdorfs, Tiffanys...Let's not think about it!


This year Macy's, the Granddaddy of holiday windows as they have been doing it since 1862 so they should know how, has tried once again to out do them all while celebrating the Wonder of the season. For 2008 Macy's goes "behind the scenes" to find how all that Christmas Magic is created...
Where do the snowflakes come from??...It is a busy scene with touch screen technology to find how the Wonderosity happens .

Lord and Taylor has gone once again for the warm and fuzzy. Traditional Christmas, ice skates and hot chocolate and scenes of Christmas in the moment,
albeit a Victorian moment, with favorites like the Nutcracker and snow globes and A Christmas Carol in the mix.

Bloomingdale's has designed simply wonderful windows reminiscent of pop-up books and nostalgic greeting cards reflecting the 1950's and 60's almost a "Dick and Jane" style.

Inspired by Tony Bennett's new holiday CD A Swingin' Christmas
the windows are a bit kitchy but filled with fabulous detail...
I cannot help but think of Mad Menand am reminded how truly different America "looks" today.

On to Saks Fifth Avenue...love Christmas at Saks... along with their fashion windows celebrating Swarovski

Saks has windows featuring their new children's holiday book by Mike Reiss, A Flake like Mike, with proceeds going to St. Jude's Hospital.

Bergdorf Goodman, often the first store I run to in NY, obviously isn't reading the newspapers or watching CNN this year. Their windows miss the warm and cheer but are each a work of art. Although they may in fact be my favorites there isn't a Teddy Bear or Ice Skate in view. Inspired by a Calendar Girl theme where each window depicts a seasonal muse with a Winter White reflection.

Bergdorf's windows makes you stop, look and think as they feature gorgeous white fashion ...Stunning! but Holiday 2008 is ushering in a new world and though I love these windows I am not sure they are not in touch with the mood... but maybe Bergdorf's is staying above all the bad news this year!

Barney's on the other hand goes back to maybe not simpler time but certainly another era of change, the 60s. They also chose to look back with the 50th anniversary of the peace symbol
(see Political Woman) for its theme-Have a Hippie Holiday!

Put your mittens on, take a stroll and Window Shop!!!