Charlatan Magazine

Barneys Gets Baz Dazzled

Holiday Windows Preview Future of Fashion

Barneys New York is famous for their holiday windows. Contributor LESLIE SCOCCA CROFT talks with Creative Director Dennis Freedman about Baz Luhrmann’s iconic, if bedazzled look forward at the future of fashion.

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Grand Bazaar

New York City is a magical place during the Holidays. For amongst its many traditions are the themed stories and events encapsulated in the window displays at Barneys New York. After some criticized efforts in partnering with Jay Z, Lady GaGa and Disney, Barneys reached out to Australian director Baz Luhrmann and his wife, costume designer Catherine Martin, to create a ‘Baz Dazzled Holiday.’ With such hits as ‘Moulin Rouge!’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ on their resume, the pair was anxious to collaborate with Barney’s 2014 Holiday Spectacular.

‘From the earliest days of our love affair with New York,’ says Luhrmann, ‘we’ve always marveled at the way Barneys blends retail, theater, art and narrative with irreverence and wit, whilst somehow remaining accessible to its audience. We embrace the opportunity to revel in the holiday spirit with Barneys by taking traditional holiday iconography and turning it on its head. This collaboration is a celebratory opportunity to deepen our relationship with our adopted city of New York.’

The Baz Dazzled Crest consists of woodland creatures, snow owls and candy canes, and is emblazoned with Luhrmann and Martin’s life credo ‘A Life Lived in Fear is a Life Half Lived’ which will be embossed on all displays, gift cards and shopping bags throughout the season. Barneys Creative Director Dennis Freedman says ‘I can’t wait for our shoppers to see these woodland creatures come alive. Were working on extraordinary live performances, and, with spectacular costumes from Catherine, our Shoppers will enter a world of motion picture fantasy through the prism of Barneys. Freedman continues. ‘There will be non-stop action in the displays this year thanks to modern technology called animatronics. Life sized dolls, birds and animals will bring the windows to life and create a veritable kinetic spectacular. We’ve never attempted a production on this scale, yet the Window Displays at Barneys New York must represent what’s best about the world as it is—and as it can be.’ Moreover, the Baz Dazzled theme will extend to Barneys Madison Avenue’s exterior, too. Barneys CEO Mark Lee says ‘We’re attempting the most ambitious façade we’ve ever done; this is going farther than anything. Barneys has a long history of unexpected and imaginative holiday programs and working with Baz and Catherine continues this tradition.’

To further enhance and ‘Baz Dazzle’ the store, Barneys has created a range of limited-edition playful holiday gift items that will be available at Chelsea Passage. Ornaments, stockings, toys and children’s costumes are just a few of the unique items that will thrill even the most particular of its Holiday Shoppers. As in past campaigns, and in a salute to the true spirit of the holiday, Barneys will donate 25% of sales from the Baz Dazzled extravaganza to Room to Read: improving literacy and gender equality in the developing world. And with the retailer using transgender models in its 2014 Advertising campaign, it appears that founder Barney Pressman’s original radio slogan ‘Calling All Men to Barney’s’ has updated that mantra for a modern world.

Once a cut-rate suit shop in 1923, Barneys New York understood that ‘the best value you can offer a customer is personal attention to every detail. That magic, together with remaining accessible to its audience, is how this great American retailer not only keeps pace with changing times, but bedazzles us with sidewalk glimpses into the world to come.

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