Bergdorf’s Windows A Love Letter to NY

by Wendy Sy Photographed by Tiffany Sage/ and Courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fantasy. Reality. Fantasy. Reality. There’s only a mere, half-inch sheet of glass separating the two worlds. That’s the way Linda Fargo, Bergdorf Goodman’s SVP, looks at the iconic department store’s holiday windows, which were unveiled at an in-store celebration last night.

“It’s not easy to come up with a new way to celebrate the holidays every year and avoid the pitfalls of clichés,” says Fargo. “There are always certain things in our lexicon of obsessions. Nature is definitely one of them, among moving imagery and music. We want to engage all of your senses.”

This year, the theme of the decor is inspired by seven New York institutions: the American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Museum of the Moving Image, New York Botanical Garden, New York Philharmonic, New York Historical Society and UrbanGlass. The windows—which will be on display through January 3, 2018—express an appreciation for the arts, history, music, film and cultural highlights of the city. Bergdorf’s partnered with the institutions to offer unique experiences such as a private tour of the Center for Women’s History, led by chief historian Valerie Paley, followed by lunch at Chef Tim Kennett’s restaurant, Storico.

In addition, brands including Loro Piana, Adam Lippes, Lorraine Schwartz, James Banks and David Webb have created exclusive gifts to benefit the institutions, which are available for purchase in-store and online until December 24. A percentage of sales from each offering will be donated to the corresponding institution.

“With its botanical-inspired theme, complete with Latin plant names of about 25 species, the NYBG windows pays homage to our organization’s global plant research and conservation program,” says Terry Skoda, executive vice president for external relations at NYBG. “We employ more than 100 PhD-level faculty members, post-doctoral researchers, graduate students and highly trained in technical staff. All are engaged in furthering our specific mission: to explore, understand and conserve the Earth’s botanical diversity.”

Over at the UrbanGlass window, you’ll find one-of-a-kind works by a number of leading artists. “Among the experiments Rob Pruitt undertook when developing these pieces, included a session in the studio ladling 2,000 degree molten glass out of a furnace,” says Cybele Maylone, executive director at the Brooklyn-based glass working facility. “The look on his face when doing this for the first time was pretty priceless. It’s a mind-bending activity and truly spectacular to behold.”

“We took something from the subject of each institution and put it through the Bergdorf Goodman kaleidoscope,” says David Hoey, senior director of visual presentation at the store. “What we came up with are high fantasy windows, which is our usual style. They are scholarly yet psychedelic, opulent yet madcap.”

If one thing’s for sure, Bergdorf’s is all about pushing the boundaries of convention. No wallflower mentality here. Linda’s at Bergdorf Goodman—Fargo’s own shop within the store—recently collaborated with French bakery Ladurée to create a limited-edition macaron set. It’s made with two dark chocolate shells filled with salted caramel, gilded in gold leaf.

Reflecting on more than 20 years at the store, Fargo recalls the start of her career as a young sculptor and mixed media artist. Growing up in the middle of Wisconsin, she somehow discovered the work of Joseph Cornell, an artist known for his glass-fronted shadow boxes, often filled with trinkets such as old photographs and birds motifs. “When I saw his work, it was like seeing a kindred spirit,” says Fargo, who constantly keeps files of inspiration for Bergdorf’s holiday windows. “Every year, we try to raise our own bar and create… a gift to the city.”


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