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The man behind the magical Bergdorf Goodman windows year after year—director of visual presentation David Hoey—has done it again. For an idea of Hoey's other work, recall last year's holiday windows inspired by Lewis Carroll's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which were as fantastical and meticulously detailed as the story of Alice and the rabbit hole itself. Not a stranger to the painstaking process of collecting pieces for his window displays, Hoey has spent the past spent six years gathering antique fixtures—miniature mannequins, full-sized dolls, antique heads and various other items—and he's pulled them together for Bergdorf's July windows.
The display, called Beauty Challenged, mixes cleverly arranged vintage designs from Kentshire, Libertine, Givenchy, and Lanvin with new pieces by Gucci, Isaac Mizrahi, Michael Kors and Jason Wu. The idea is to make people rethink beauty. Looking at the beautiful clothes draped on the fragile antique bodies, it's hard to notice the cracks and flaws of the old mannequins. But the vintage dolls, whose colors have faded over the years, also make viewers consider what happens to beauty over time.
The same dolls reappear in the windows in a different form. Bergdorf invited well-known photographer Rebecca Martinez to take close-ups of many of the vintage dolls, and her pictures wound up as some of the backdrops of the actual displays. Her take on "Beauty Challenged" goes like this: "Perfect beauty in all things living and animate and inanimate is revered by our society. Once that beauty ages and is damaged, its embodiment becomes devalued and often discarded. Mannequins are exemplars of an idealized, unobtainable, youthful perfection."
We love the points that Hoey and those involved in the display are trying to make about modern beauty, especially given the presentation on Fifth Avenue where people are busily trying to get to work, to a cab, rushing passed the beautiful and well thought-out exhibit right under their noses.—Joann Pan
· Beauty Challenged on Fifth Avenue [5th at 58th]
· Rebecca Martinez [Official Site]