Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Windows (for the last time): Lord & Taylor and Macy's

I'm glad I saved the best Christmas windows for last. Lord & Taylor has an antique postcard theme, and while I'm not big on Victorian Christmases, I feel like they did a very nice job, nostalgic without being sappy and full of little details that made each scene really worth examining. They put up blown-up duplicates of real postcards from the late 1800's and early 1900's, and they reproduced other postcards in full three-dimensional diorama mode. The puppetry wasn't quite as technologically advanced as in the Saks windows, but they enhanced the vignettes, giving them a focal point that you'd drift away from but always return to. Saks felt like a pop-up book in comparison.

Macy's also did a really impressive job with their Christmas windows. I mean, really impressive — there was some story about Christmas trees or something, but who cares? They had a fire-breathing dragon with video-camera eyes! And a polar bear! And the whole thing's interactive!

You touch a little star on the window and the lion in the display, for instance, comes to life and roars, or the snowmen start playing the drums, or the mermaid (!?) comes out of her, uh, clam. I guess they ran out of Christmas-themed ideas, so the Macy's "Tree of Joy" window is an underwater fantasy scene. Kind of takes you out of the moment. But the whole interactive thing is a bit of a problem, since the windows are crowded with little kids trying to touch them, and I'm standing there, all patient, but I WANT TO TOUCH THE WINDOWS!!! Too bad it's Christmas and you can't just pick the kids up and drop them in front of the window with a bottle of perfume (Estee Lauder on 1). If I lived in the city, I'd stop by at two in the morning and spend the whole night playing with the Christmas windows.