CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
New York | Exhibition & EventDecember 26, 2011

The Carnival of Animals

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The holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman, a true New York holiday spectacle, continue their well-known tradition of high fantasy, dramatic surprises, extraordinary fashion, and great storytelling.  The 2011 windows, entitled “Carnival of the Animals,” take their inspiration from diverse settings reimagined in various materials… and the animals that dwell there.  David Hoey, Senior Director of Visual Presentation, and team devote an entire year to the production of the holiday windows. They will remain on display through January 3, 2012.

Starting from 57th Street, each of the five main Fifth Avenue windows examines the theme from a different perspective:

Built around a vintage collection of mixed-metal birds and jungle animals, “The Brass Menagerie” is set in a stylized tropical forest of metal and mirror and glimmers with leafy foliage of brass and steel.  Within this forest is a fantasy recording studio, with vintage microphones and a brass “primate” jazz combo.  A giant brass birdcage houses a surprise tenant, and the floor is covered several inches deep with a secret quantity of copper pennies.  For this window, a special dress was created by Naeem Khan.

“Breaking the Ice” invites viewers to a mid-afternoon arctic garden party whose guests include “couture plush” animals such as polar bears, a moose, an arctic mountain goat, a seal, and a of pair wolves.  All the animals have been upholstered in luxe white textiles and appliquéd with icy crystals, beads, and sequins.  A Baccarat chandelier adds luster.  The party hostess is the focus of attention in her specially designed dress and one-of-a-kind cape, all by J. Mendel.

Completely encrusted with hand-cut Italian mosaic tile, this intensely blue window is truly an undersea fantasy.  A single mannequin, in a seashell dress from the Alexander McQueen Spring 2012 collection, appears to be floating amid a massive collection of mosaic sea creatures. Everything is highly patterned, with swirling textures and oceanic colors.  “Testing the Waters” is quite the aquatic triumph as its production was 10 months in the making and is the most labor-intensive single window display in Bergdorf Goodman history.

“Teacher’s Pets” takes viewers inside a 3-dimensional paper classroom filled with black and white paper animals, including a life-sized paper zebra, ostrich, panda bear, aardvark, white peacock, and more.  As the “students” pose within a cascade of zoological textbooks, the teacher – dressed in a black and white lace Marchesa gown – presides over the paper bestiary.  Noted New York calligrapher, Bernard Maisner, provided hand-lettered labels, in Latin, for all the animals.

In the final window, “Artists and Models,” a diverse collection of wood and leather folk-art animals from all continents gathers together.  The setting is a sculptor’s studio out of a folk tale, with an enormous assemblage of wooden creatures.  A mannequin, dressed in a mélange of designers, assumes the role of sculptor, assisted by several antique wooden artists’ models and by a quartet of antic leather monkeys.

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