Video by Tandem Pictures.
They don’t call it BAZ DAZZLED for nothing. At last week’s unveiling of the holiday windows, Madison Avenue transformed into an otherworldly sensory experience, a stunning wonderland of woodland creatures, ice dancers, naughty elves, larger-than-life sets, and beats from our melodic obsession of the moment, Pentatonix. For the wizards behind the curtain—that would be Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, and Barneys’ own Dennis Freedman—the motivation was always to delight, inspire, and surprise. “You want people to see things in a way they’ve never seen them before,” said Freedman. Mission accomplished.
Until the new year, the fantastical displays will feature both live performances and mechanical masterworks, in the form of hypnotizing spiral snowflakes by artist Anthony Howe and Chris Cole’s larger-than-life gilded owl flapping its wings. While the above video about the making of the windows and montages below certainly give a snapshot into the groundbreaking vision and the intricacies of the scenes’ creation, making a trip to 61st and Madison to see them for yourself is a necessity this holiday season. A detailed schedule of performances to plan your visit follows. Prepare to be…well…dazzled.
Artist and sculptor Chris Cole has created an 8-foot-tall, 6-foot-wide steampunk talking owl which gravely speaks his words of wisdom, scored to Pentatonix’s version of Madonna’s “Holiday.”
* * *
The Spirits of the Snow star in this window, realized by Washington-based artist Anthony Howe and voiced by Pentatonix. These handmade kinetic sculptures, previously only seen as outdoor wind machines, come to life within the window—the first time Howe’s work has been shown in an interior space. The movement of these spirited characters is entirely generated by wind machines, which sets them into mesmerizing motion.
* * *
Celestina the ice princess, imprisoned for eternity in her ice cave in our mythical tale, skates forlornly in the last window while dreaming of freedom.
* * *
A magical corner of Central Park is the mythical setting for the first window, which depicts a forest of 9-foot chromed mushrooms in a rainbow of colors. Elphresh the elf contorts and dances in and around his 14-foot-wide gold and bejeweled boom box, in pursuit of his impossible love, Elfemeral.
Photographed by Tom Sibley.