New Work: Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows
Terron Schaefer, group senior vice president for sales and marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue, approached Pentagram to design the holiday window displays at the store’s New York flagship. The idea needed to connect snowflakes and bubbles—motifs which had been used previously—and give the store a way to display its merchandise.
Pentagram’s Harry Pearce and Naresh Ramchandani and their teams came up with a concept that divided the Saks store into two worlds, the subterranean world of the bubble makers and the imaginary world of the snow makers who inhabit the roof of the building. Connecting the two is a curious little girl called Holly who whilst shopping in Saks on Christmas Eve with her parents finds a door which allows her into both worlds. First she visits the cave full of fantastic machines operated by ‘beautiful people in beautiful gowns’. She then rides a bubble produced by the machines, which takes her to the roof where she meets the yetis that make the snow.
The store windows, brought to life by the Saks Fifth Avenue visual merchandising team, contain animatronic mannequins dressed in one off, special edition designer dresses from labels such as Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. The mannequins operate a series of machines echoing the mechanical inventiveness of the Victorian era – high fashion meets Heath Robinson.
The story is captured in Who Makes the Snow, a book written by Pentagram’s Naresh Ramchandani and illustrated by Ilyanna Kerr. Inside the store giant Yeti footprints appear on the floor and an eight-foot Yeti is on display with which the public can be photographed.
On the exterior of the store the two worlds are linked by an animation created by Iris. Teaser films were written by Naresh Ramchandani which add a further dimension to the story.
The windows were launched at a glittering reception which saw Fifth Avenue closed and ballerinas performing in the street. Pentagram previously designed the Saks Fifth Avenue identity.
Project Team: Harry Pearce, partner-in-charge and designer; Naresh Ramchandani, partner, writer and film creative director; Sean Chilvers, designer; Ilyanna Kerr, illustrator; Stefan Bucher, Yeti designer; Michael Wright at th2ng, film director.