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Rhinestone-adorned dinosaur skeletons, a neon symphony, and a fiber art herbarium are among the decadent holiday window displays at Bergdorf Goodman. The Manhattan shopping hub is always a visual bacchanal this time of year, and for 2017, it’s celebrating seven New York cultural institutions in a series of exuberant installations. Titled “To New York with Love,” the windows include tributes to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI), the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), New York Philharmonic (NYPO), New-York Historical Society (N-YHS), and UrbanGlass.
The windows, unveiled on November 14 and overseen by David Hoey, Bergdorf Goodman’s senior director for visual presentation, have flashy fashion at their center, whether the Zac Posen-gowned conductor of the layered neon instruments in the NYPO window, or the glitzy Halpern dress surrounded by gleaming AMNH dinosaurs. Yet it’s fun to see some of the city’s influential cultural institutions being given such a glamorous treatment, especially as several are perhaps lesser known to the holiday tourists. UrbanGlass has sculptures in a smaller window made in their Brooklyn glass art studio by Keith Sonnier, Lynda Benglis, Rob Wynne, and Rob Pruitt, and MoMI’s window has a midcentury cinematic feel, with selections from black-and-white films cycling beneath faux icicles.
The N-YHS window has a huge assembly of papier-mâché takes on objects from their collections, all crafted by artist Mark Gagnon, and presided over by a sharply dressed anthropomorphic bull and bear. There’s a small label in one corner, so you can connect the colorful interpretations to the real objects at N-YHS, whether the 1899 “Diana of the Tower” by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, or the 1900-06 dragonfly table lamp by Tiffany. The NYBG window is similarly dynamic, with soft sculptures, embroidery, felting, and other fiber art by Burke & Pryde, all representing different flora specimens. All the flowers, trees, and other plants are identified by their Latin names, and some are lodged in fiber books, a reference to the NYBG’s incredible herbarium.
Across the street, at Bergdorf’s men’s store, the windows by visual director Shane Ruth are all BAM-themed, featuring mannequin dancers warming up at a barre, and two mannequin actors engaged in a performance. A few take viewers into dressing rooms and backstage with mannequin stage hands. In conjunction with all these displays, Bergdorf is selling experiences and objects related to all the institutions, with a percentage of the proceeds going to these organizations.
Bergdorf Goodman’s holiday windows are on view through January 1 at 754 Fifth Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan.