Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFixme

ART AND COMMERCE

Window Dressing

Decking store windows for the holidays is as much about making an artistic statement as making sales. A critical look at some of the season's best.

December 09, 2007|Suzanne Muchnic | Times Staff Writer

Remember when the holiday season was an occasion for guilt-free shopping? Not anymore, or at least not everywhere. Just look at the windows of some of Beverly Hills' most luxurious stores. Like Hollywood starlets who adopt social causes to find fulfillment, shape their brands and burnish their images, some purveyors of clothes that cost the Earth have turned their windows into billboards for saving the planet.

The jolt of social consciousness is merely one aspect of this year's holiday window design, though. Saks Fifth Avenue radiates tranquillity with blue-sky backgrounds, snowflakes and wearable clothes. "Nutcracker" toy soldiers loom large, as always, but some of them play new roles. Two human-size toys guard a party girl in a festive red dress at Fred Segal in West Hollywood; three "Nutcracker" kings have iPods attached to their ears with neon tubes at the Apple store in the Grove. Youthful malaise rules at Ed Hardy, where long-suffering young women in jeans, tees and spiked shin guards slouch around a giant Christmas package.

Something for every looker, not to mention shopper.

--

suzanne.muchnic@latimes.com

--

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

NEIMAN MARCUS

Impressionism meets an apocalypse of trash in Neiman's four big windows on Wilshire Boulevard. Seen from across the street, the Cady Noland-style panorama coalesces into a series of colored light boxes -- flickering landscapes and interiors ignited by blasts of light from television monitors, electronic fixtures and flexible light tubes bent into wavy shapes. Viewed up close, the windows are cleverly organized masses of man-made debris that preach recycling, saving rain forests and reducing the consumption of electricity.

Mannequins with enormous mops of untamed hair model gobs of taffeta and slivers of sequined mesh, but they get lost in an overwhelming array of texture and detail. One window is a sparkling wonderland of plastic bottles, bubble wrap and computer packaging, accompanied by video footage of wind machines. Text printed on the glass presents facts such as "14 recycled soda bottles = one extra large T-shirt" and a list of recycling websites. Another display, largely composed of circuit boards and perforated metal, informs viewers that "90% of a computer's copper can be recycled." In yet another window, lined with a collage of magazine pages, a raven-haired damsel in crushed suede boots and a short, poufy dress wanders through a grove of bare trees. At her feet are monitors showing videos of waterfalls in lush forests. If there was ever a way to make the end of the world look glamorous, this must be it.

--

BARNEYS

NEW YORK

"Rudolph the Recycling Reindeer" is the star of Barneys' windows, and you really have to see it. Clunky, funny and weirdly earnest, the huge assemblage -- a sort of Pop version of El Anatsui's cast-off metal constructions -- is probably a better advertisement for Coca-Cola than for this merchant of high-priced ultra chic, but the message is clear: Recycling is not only necessary, it's cool. If it works for Rudolph, it should work for you. And if Barneys promotes it, it's definitely in style. This has to be music to the ears of shoppers who want to do right while looking good.

As for the artfully funky reindeer, it's a giant head that hangs diagonally across the corner window. Side-by-side Coca-Cola cans, with tops facing front, fill most of the form. Plastic bottle caps and radiating shapes made of sliced cans fill in details. Two Christmas ornament-like forms dangling from the beast's antlers announce that "green is the new black" and exhort viewers to "have a green holiday." Holiday decor doesn't get much more bizarre than this.

--

MARC BY MARC JACOBS

It had to happen. Holiday window dressing as an audience participation event. But who knew it would materialize as a swan, a la Jeff Koons? At Marc, the window is filled with a swan-shaped boat gliding through a wintry forest of pines. At night a princess mannequin in a white party dress rides in the big bird. During the day -- 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Dec. 25 -- you and your friends and family are invited to sit in the boat and have your pictures taken free. It's almost as good as Santa's lap and you don't have to say whether you've been naughty or nice.

The window is a great image that works as a drive-by, but it's worth a stop even if you don't want to face the camera. Loaded with enough symbolism for everyone, the glossy white overgrown swan might put you in mind of Hans Christian Andersen's ugly duckling with a heart of gold, who turned into the most elegant of birds. No? How about Greek mythology's lusty god Zeus who transformed himself into a swan to have his way with Leda, the princess of his dreams? However you look at it, the window is a mind trip, meant to propel you out of a daily grind and into a shop where young women try to become swans by buying clothes.

--

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|