During the holiday season, New York offers lot of diversions for tourists and natives alike. You can choose from the traditional, the offbeat and those that fall somewhere in the middle. But one thing that can be easily agreed upon are looking at the holiday window displays.
According to this MSNBC article, the tradition has been around for about 160 years. The practice is even mentioned in Emile Zola’s 1883 ode to the new-fangled (at the time) department store The Ladies’ Paradise.
Famed artists such as Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol began their commercial careers as window dressers. (You have to wonder if Warhol ever used any Brillo boxes while working for Bonwit Teller.) Surrealist poster boy Salvador Dali even designed two windows for Bonwit in 1939. The reign of his “Night” and “Day”-themed windows ended with a bathtub upended through the window onto the sidewalk.
Some have achieved celebrity status in their own right. Barney’s creative director Simon Doonan has lent his opinions on various entertainment shows, has written four books and pens a regular column for Slate.
The effortless grace, scope and detail of these displays belie the year-round work that go into creating them.