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.
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.