On the Street: Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows 2012

bergdorf ladies

I have many childhood memories of going to see the Christmas displays in New York’s department store windows. My mother would bring me, and sometimes my grandmother would join us. We might eat a little bag of roasted chestnuts while we gazed at the imaginative tableaux staged by Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and all the rest.

More recently, I’ve enjoyed visiting the annual windows with a circle of female friends who share my love of such frivolities. Our favorites are the windows of Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue. I may not see any of these friends in person this December, but they are very much on my mind and in my heart nonetheless.

Bergdorf window 12 12

For 2012, Bergdorf has taken the theme of “Follies,” drawing upon the imagery of “entertainments such as the Ziegfeld Follies, Vaudeville revues and Busby Berkeley’s Hollywood musicals of the 1930s. ” There’s a strong Art Deco influence on the decoration and the choice of outfits for the mannequins.

The window featuring dozens of miniature antique mannequins, at top, is called “A Cast of Thousands,” and it was inspired by all the chorus girls who appeared onstage and on film in the 1920s and 1930s.

The feather-trimmed window showcasing a single female figure (clad in a flapper-like white gown) is “Naughty and Nice.” It’s partially a tribute to Sally Rand, the legendary burlesque performer who was famous for her “fan dances.”

You can watch Sally Rand performing her flirty fan routine at the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair:


If you’re going to be in Manhattan any time through the end of December, try to schedule a walk past Bergdorf Goodman. You can also learn more about this year’s windows at the Bergdorf blog.

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9 thoughts on “On the Street: Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows 2012

  1. Oh my you are so lucky! When I was little we used to have beautiful windows as well but in recent years, for some reason they’ve stopped making them as grand. Only one store still has a great display with automated figures that are such fun for kids (and me). I can still feel my mom’s hand holding mine while I was dreaming of being a part of those magical scenes…..

  2. Thank you for sharing these great windows at Bergdorf’s with us! We have great windows at Christmas here in San Francisco but no one can match Christmas as it is celebrated in the store windows of Manhattan.

  3. I want those white peacocks in that window. I haven’t seen any beautiful displays like that around here but I’m not in a city either.

  4. I too am reflecting nostalgically about family trips with my mom, my aunt, and my cousins to see the windows along 5th Ave. I especially adored those with Victorian automatons, small scale trains in villages, or horror vacui. This was the mid 1960s, so we would get tea at the Plaza, and maybe a quick visit to FAO Schwarz, where we could each choose a very small Steiff toy. As an adult I continued to view the seasonal windows. For a time most became too expressionistic or pop trendy or minimal for my taste. Nice to see some retailers are returning to the old decorative sensibilities.

  5. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures. This year I’ll miss most of SF’s decorations: it’s a busy time for me this year, I don’t think I’ll have time to go shopping to the city so I’m glad to get even glimps of the holiday decorations of a big(ger) city.

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