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Way Beyond Santa: 2015’s Holiday Windows

By Terri Stone

I pity window display designers. First the rise of online shopping meant that fewer people visited brick-and-mortar stores, and now we’re more likely to look at our phones than the windows we do walk by. But what’s bad news for display designers is good news for the rest of us, since the ever-more-elaborate windows feature performance art, interactive experiences, and a lot of sparkle.

The most inventive of the 2015 holiday season windows are at the Madison Avenue Barneys in New York City. If you’ll be in town before January 1, you can watch members of the Okamoto Studio sculpt ice live. Should the carvers be on a break when you stop by, the custom ice locker in the window is still worth a look. It’s the home for an installation that required 500 gallons of water and three “ice farmers,” who created unique ice formations that are still evolving, thanks to ongoing misting in the locker. Hannis Brown wrote the shivery “Ice Castles” musical score to accompany the installation.

Get a taste of behind-the-scenes action in the video below.

This video shows the making of the 2015 holiday windows at Barneys department store.

In London, Harvey Nichols’ flashy windows are inspired by Studio 54, the 1970s nightclub. The store says it stuffed the 13 displays with 600 mirrored disco balls, 300,000 sequins, and one million glitter flakes.

Harvey Nichols' London windows were inspired by the Studio 54 nightclub.
Harvey Nichols' London windows were inspired by the Studio 54 nightclub.

The Selfridges department store also eschewed traditional Christmas themes. Its London windows are inspired by the 12 signs of the Zodiac, and Selfridges called on no other than the Greenwich Royal Observatory to help them build an orbiting orrery, a mechanical model of the solar system. (The video below shows the work that went into the orrery.) There’s even star-gazing on the roof.

Back in the United States, Bergdorf Goodman's holiday windows are generating a lot of buzz. The New York store displays showcase more than 7 million Swarovski crystals, which coat the mannequins and the fantastical scenes they inhabit.

What eye-catching store windows have you seen? Let us know in the Comments below.