Barneys has unveiled its new holiday window display, designed by Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann and his wife Catherine Martin.
The ornately decorated windows, which literally stopped traffic along Madison Avenue when they were first revealed to the public last night, feature live performances, custom music, one-of-a-kind sculptures and the same flashy flourishes that both the director and his costume designer wife are famous for.
The windows took more than 100 people to assemble over the course of ten months, according to Style.com.
Each of the windows has a different theme – truth, beauty, love or freedom – which were inspired by the artistic ideals that Baz brought to life in his popular musical movie Moulin Rouge. The ‘truth’ display has a steampunk-inspired mechanical owl residing in a nest made of large branches. It speaks the lyrics to ‘Holiday’ by Madonna.
In the ‘love’ window, a contortionist elf character dances between huge psychedelic mushrooms and a golden boombox. The performance will take place Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Through the ‘beauty’ glass are abstract sculptures by Anthony Howe, around which snowflakes will fall, blown by a wind machine. And, perhaps most astonishingly, the ‘freedom’ window has an ice dancer, who the creators are calling Celestina, performing figure-eights. All of the windows will have custom music by Pentatonix, the five-person a capella group that won NBC’s The Sing-Off in 2011. The store also constructed balconies outside the building’s second story, where a ‘Luna Queen’ and ‘Ice Queen’ will sing on weekends.
Husband and wife Baz Luhrmann (left) and Catherine Martin (right) – known for their films like Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge – attend the window reveal party on Thursday night.
She only comes out at night! The ‘Luna Queen’ performs in another gown by Ms Martin and Zaldy, who’s designed clothing for Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, among others.
This marks the first time the retailer has ever had live performances in its holiday windows. It also marks the first time Mr Luhrmann and Ms Martin have worked on a retailer’s holiday campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal. The pair, who are known for movies like Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet, insist they’ve been deeply involved in the project, doing a lot more than just lending their names.
‘We’re not just doing the royal wave and saying “that was fantastic,”‘ Mr. Luhrmann said.
Ms Martin added: ‘Have I been spraying things gold and hot-gluing stones on a helmet at 5 am this morning? Yes.’
The costumes – which alone are worth going to see – were a collaboration between Ms Martin and Zaldy, who’s previously dressed Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and members of Cirque du Soleil.
A vision in black! Actress Dakota Fanning attended the big reveal on Thursday night.
The decor is part of a larger company-wide campaign, called Baz Dazzled, that will include events throughout the month and limited-edition products – like tabletop accessories, ornaments, children’s costumes and toys – that will be for sale in the store. The retailer is donating 25per cent of proceeds from all Baz Dazzled products to Room to Read, a global organization that focuses on literacy and gender equality for children in developing countries.
Ms Martin and Mr Luhrmann fashioned their creations around their personal motto: ‘A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.’ The saying appears on a crest designed for the campaign, which will be on the store’s bags and lining the windows. The displays were revealed Thursday night during a dinner party with guests included Anna Wintour and other Vogue editors, Dakota Fanning, Victoria Justice, Wendi Deng Murdoch and Estelle.
You’re golden! The contortionist elf character break dances inside the ‘love’ window.
Now that’s a window! A wider view of the mechanical owl shows Mr Luhrmann and Ms Martin’s crest with their motto ‘A life lived in fear is a life half-lived’.
Singing in the rain! The a capella group Pentatonix performed at the reveal party on Thursday night, despite the rain and cold
Barneys opened its doors in 1923 in downtown Manhattan originally as a men’s clothier. Now, more than 90 years later, they have more than 30 stores across the United States.