It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” And no one does it better than Bergdorf Goodman. Founded in 1899 by Herman Bergdorf, the luxury goods department store at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street is famous for its highly researched, lavishly detailed, and meticulously crafted holiday windows, unveiled each year at the end of November.

Before you take a look at these gorgeous displays, press play and have a bit of listen to David Hoey, Bergdorf Goodman Display Director, discuss his inspiration for the Holiday Windows. As he is the man behind the magic, it’s truly a treat to hear him speak about the displays he has created for this holiday season.

Entitled The BG Follies of 2012, Bergdorf’s 2012’s holiday windows are inspired by popular acts of the 1930’s: the Ziegfeld Follies, Vaudeville revues, and Busby Berkeley’s Hollywood musicals.  The windows are a miniature revival of sorts of the Art Deco aesthetic, playing upon the fantastical quality of the shows of the time — the solo act, the duo, the group performance, and the novelty act.

The BG Follies of 2012 is a performance in five acts.

Act 1 is a B&W homage to Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (complete with silver ukulele). The display features a bird’s eye view of gowns by Marc Jacobs, 3.1 Phillip and Elie Saab.  Most impressive in this Act is the bird’s eye perspective onto the scene — a trick beloved in the window dressing world.

Called Naughty and NiceAct II is a tribute to burlesque performer Sally Rand, inventor of the risque fan dance.  Entirely white, the solo act exemplifies Bergdorf’s visual team’s obsessive artistry: it is covered in thousands (if not millions) of white feathers used as a mosaic and constructed feather by feather.


Every year BG’s windows feature an antique collection of sorts (you may recall the twisting stairs from the Alice in Wonderland windows from a few years ago) and Act III showcases a collection of mid-century miniature American mannequins once used for display and merchandising and sewing practice.  David HoeyBergdorf Goodman Display Director, spends months (if not years) building up these collections until the time is right, and 2012 was the year to debut his miniature mannequins as 1920s Ziegfeld Follies girls on fifteen miniature stage reproductions made from replica 18th-Century wood moulding.

Act IV, the Daredevil Act, is Fifth Avenue’s quote-on-quote novelty act. Featuring a runway look from Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2013 runway collection, Act IV highlights 24 plaster dogs performing every trick under the sun.  Every surface of the display is covered in gold and silver leaf.

For the finale, Act V is the result of a concept brewed for almost an entire year: a giant mirrored, rotating kaleidoscope.  Prototypes were sketched and tweaked until the BG visual team discovered that beveled mirrors moving in both clockwise and counterclockwise movement would create the desired result.  Approximately 1,000 individually beveled mirrors are used to create this kaleidoscope set into motion by 7 separate rotating motors.  The effect is a dizzying, psychedelic homage to Busby Berkeley’s overhead kaleidoscopic camera shot seen in Footlight Parade.  To complement the mirrored effect of this duo act are two custom-created gowns from Naeem Khan.  Every year Naeem works with BG’s visual team to dream up a dress for their Holiday Windows and this year’s creations dance in a way that mimics Berkeley’s famous waterfall number.



Breathtaking, no?
I leave you with this behind-the-scenes video featuring the visual team of artisans and crafts-persons who brought David Hoey’s vision to life:

I hope you get a chance to visit Bergdorf’s Holiday Windows this year.  And for visuals of years past, view the portfolio of photographer Ricky Zehavi.


Images & Video / 5th/58thFashionista, ELLE, The Coveteur, and Windows of Wear /


Author: Sarah Baynes

Interior Designer and Author at, empowering women to decorate with confidence.