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Eye Candy: Winter 2016 Holiday Retail Windows

Design Trends

One of the most wondrous traditions of the winter holiday season is taking in all the beauty of storefront window displays. Crowds gather each year to take in all the over-the-top merchandising that entices customers to stop and enjoy the beauty. To celebrate this year, many shops are focusing on infusions of natural elements, paper-made creations, winter wonderland scenes, modern luxury, the classic holiday stories and surrealist art installations — all to promote the best of holiday shopping. Here are some visual treats for the holiday senses to inspire you this season.


From glitter-dipped feathers, to colorfully painted pinecones, to faux-fur rugs hidden under trees to look like blankets of snow, nature provides so much inspiration for this season’s retail windows. With Bergdorf
Goodman’s famous New York windows showcasing dioramas inspired by natural history
museums, nature-inspired décor is on trend. With scenes named such titles as “The Book Club,” “Bird’s-Eye View” and “The Winter Garden” — along with inspirations from Henri Rousseau and 12th-century Chinese watercolor mountain paintings — this year’s theme is appropriately titled “Destination Extraordinary.” Delightful windows also feature sprawling garden landscapes, as well as jungle scenes. David Hoey, senior director of visual presentation at Bergdorf Goodman’s, explains in Time Out New York, “These windows are landscapes of the unexpected. They are delirious remakes of the classic dioramas seen in natural history museums.”

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Two Images Above: Photo Credit: Bergdorf Goodman

Paper-Made Creations

Origami and intricate winter holiday seasons create gorgeous dioramas for viewers to gaze at for hours. Cardboard houses creating tiny villages in terrariums; cloches and metal lanterns; and paper cut-outs of
animals, buildings and whole scenes bring to life a new world through paper and light.

In Paris, France, the world-renowned retailer Galeries Lafayette and NGO Wild-Touch present an art project “Arctic Christmas” in the Christmas windows of Galeries Lafayette. The project consists of a tree and
animated skits for the windows created entirely of paper by artist Lorenzo Papace. Also, an app was created by Parisian start-up Big Sky, with which the user can be immersed in an Arctic 3D experience. On-screen, as the snow falls and covers the center in white, a polar bear comes into view, as if he were moving around inside Galeries Lafayette. According to the retailer spokesperson, “This giant tree, animated by a big wheel and cable cars, will stand in the center of Coupole, playing home to the polar bears that have come to experience a magical time in this pristine world.”

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Three Images Above: Photo Credit: Getty Images

The partnership between Galeries Lafayette and NGO Wild-Touch for this art project is meant to also highlight the awareness of biodiversity and the importance of protecting the planet.

Winter Wonderland Scenes

Frothy tulle winter tree forms, vintage Christmas angels inside chicken wire cloches, glitter-dipped tree ornaments and snowflakes, gingerbread houses layered in candy and frosting, ski lodges with stoked fires and food on the table ready for weary skiers, trees heavy with lights — a winter wonderland awaits!

Anthropologie, a favorite retailer in the United States with a loyal and creative following, has created a series of snowflakes for this year’s holiday windows. Called “The First Snow: Every Snowflake, Every Moment,
Magic,” its visual display team hand-crafted a series of snowflakes, each resplendent with delicate and intricate detail work.

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Three Images Above: Photos taken at Anthropologie Grove, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, Torrance, Calif.

Modern Luxury

Stained-glass ornaments, curtain lights highlighting doorways and window décor, oversized and glittery display props, and layers of metallic and glitz —upscale window displays are sure to dazzle the senses this

Saks Fifth Avenue’s take on modern luxuries invites us to view a “Land of 1,000 Delights,” a holiday theme that pays tribute to the imaginary land in the classic holiday story “The Nutcracker.” Props are larger
than life, with over-sized lollipops and candies. And visitors can catch a glimpse of Clara and the Mouse King. A daily light show is part of this elaborate holiday display.

From Ireland, retailer Brown Thomas displays a range of eight windows focused on the fantasy and magic of Christmas. Thousands of miniature figures were hand-crafted, 7,000 baubles were customized to match the
Brown Thomas purses and bags, and more than 2,600 decorations and foliage were draped
around stylish mannequins illuminated by 1 million tiny pin lights.

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Two Photos Above: Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Classics

Santa Claus and his reindeer, hiding toys under the Christmas tree, writing letters to Santa, sledding down hills — these classics provide a nostalgic look back and continue to be popular window designs.

Macy’s takes a sentimental approach to the holiday themes this year. Roya Sullivan, Macy’s designer and national director of window presentation, talked about this child-like nostalgic theme, stating on the
company’s blog, “In creating this year’s windows, we wanted to focus on the idea of what Christmas meant to us as children. In thinking back to those feelings, we kept returning to the idea of six key qualities that truly
exemplify the spirit and magic of the season.” The six key themes are “Believe,” “Magic,” “Love,” “Giving,” “Together” and “Celebrate.”

Per tradition, in Sweden, the market windows are unveiled one week before the first advent. This year the Nordisk Kompaniet department store in Stockholm is showcasing a series of holiday classics from snowmen, to gingerbread houses.

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Two Images Above: Photo Credits: Getty Images

Surrealist Views

Artists and artistic endeavors push the limits of creativity, and this is most certainly true for holiday windows. Taking the surrealist and abstract movements, then developing unique and memorable
displays, takes the viewer to cartoon-like worlds filled with colorful, bizarre and marvelous creatures and scenes.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

London retailer Fortnum and Mason has opened its windows to a series of unique characters for this holiday season. Called “Together, We’re Merrier,” the campaign focuses on the importance of togetherness and encourages friends and foes to come together for Christmas. There are several stories that detail the classic arch-enemy stories with witty results — “The Bull and the China,” “The Polar Bear and the Penguin,” “The Butcher and the Turkey,” “The Wolf and the Sheep” and “The Boy and the Brussels Sprouts.” Each story has been illustrated by artist Brett Ryder, hand-crafted into 3D elements, and finally painted by theater makeup artists.

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Two Images Above: Photo Credits: Getty Images

Happy Holidays!