If you happened to have walked by Barneys New York on Madison Avenue recently, you probably noticed our new windows, featuring some gorgeous new spring arrivals—The Row! Marni!—all set against a backdrop of, well, dinged-up paint cans and dismembered mannequins. Let us explain.
The window sets are actually the walls of our legendary display studio on West 33rd Street, which is in the process of moving across the East River. We decided to pay homage to that hub of unbridled creativity by giving it the fifteen minutes of fame it deserves. Barneys Creative Ambassador Simon Doonan reminisces…
What happened at the display studio on W. 33rd?
Mayhem, madness and magic. The 33rd Street Studio is where we would build all the window props before installing them at Madison Avenue. Do the words “Romper Room” mean anything to you?
What are some of your memories from the studio?
I remember Iman stopping by the studio to check on the progress of her window and doing a little runway for us. I remember creating a giant head of singer James Brown and creating his hair from thousands of afro picks. I remember building a window for a Margaret Thatcher caricature and dressing her in a leather bondage dress.
What is your favorite window display you ever created there?
I loved our Warhol windows about 7 years ago. This was especially meaningful because Andy himself had designed windows. We all worked hard to do his memory proud.
What are some of the strangest items we’d find in the studio?
There was a large photo of Judy Garland clutching a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and a “library” filled with strange books like “The Totie Fields Diet Book.”
Why are some of the mannequins papered in newspaper?
When mannequins get banged up you can always give them a new lease of life with a little decoupage!
Have you been tempted to sneak into The Row window and fix yourself a cup of tea in the old kitchenette?
As a Brit who loves a cuppa, you know I am haunting that window big time!
Photographs courtesy of Rick Barroso.