Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.Photos by Driely S
The holiday windows at Saks Fifth Avenue were unveiled on Monday, giving passerby and shoppers a glimpse into the backstory of the Saks Yeti, who according to legend, lives on the department store's rooftop and makes snow in the winter. There are six animated windows in total, including one that allows onlookers to toss a digital snowflake at the store. In another, the Yeti gets a pep-talk from his mom.
See more photos after the jump, as well as an interview with Harry Cunningham, the Senior Vice President of Store Planning and Visual Merchandising at Saks.
What made you decide to focus on the Yeti this year?
I think it was a really natural window idea for us, having premiered the book last year. It seemed like [the right time] to give the Yeti his fifteen minutes of fame and recreate the book and use scenes as inspiration. It's recreating the book in the way that you might take a book and turn it into a movie, so it's not exact.
Are there any scenes you're really excited about?
I'm really pleased with how all six of the animated windows came out. One thing I'm particularly excited about is the interactive element that we're doing with Mastercard on the first window. Customers can actually almost become part of the window by creating a snowflake and throwing the snowflake into the windows.
We've created software with a group called The Science Project from Lower Manhattan, and they've developed this app that customers will be able to download on their phones. They'll get a yeti name and they'll pick a snowflake, and they can literally throw it from their phone right into the window.
How long would you say the windows take to create, from the initial idea to the unveiling?
It's literally a year-long process. I'm in Vancouver now and I was on the plane yesterday writing down ideas for next year already. When the windows open, we like to stand on the sidewalk and watch how people are responding to the them, because it's inevitable that whatever we think is going to be the biggest hit never really is. Seeing how people respond is really when it starts, and we take it from there.
We start brainstorming what our concept is going to be in January and February. Through the summer we're building the windows off site, and just about three weeks before the windows roll in we finish them, break them apart, and move them in and rebuild them.
Does it ever feel strange to work on holiday windows in the summer?
It feels natural, because the way that the fashion business works is that we're always sort of ahead of the season anyway.
What do you hope people will feel when they see them?
First of all, I hope they smile and laugh, which I think they will. I hope they find the kid in themselves, which I know sounds a little cliché, but for me, being a father of young kids that are really the target audience of this, it's been an exciting time. I'm anxious for them to see them.
They know that I work with the Yeti, and they ask, "Did you see the Yeti today, dad? Did you get pictures of the Yeti?" I hope the other parents bringing their kids to the windows will have that same experience.
· 'Tis the Season: This Year's Department Store Holiday Windows [Racked NY]
· And the Winner of the #SaksYeti Holiday Contest Is... [Racked NY]
· All Holiday Window Coverage [Racked NY]