For Hire: Holiday Window Designer- page 2 | People & Places | Smithsonian
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(Cheryl Carlin)

For Hire: Holiday Window Designer

Decking the halls with Barney’s creative director Simon Doonan

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(Continued from page 1)

What’s the biggest misconception about your job?
I think the biggest misconception about me or my work would be that I’m just a creative person. If what you did not only was amusing and talked about, but it actually got people to spend money, that means you really impacted the way they perceived you and your merchandise.

Are there any downsides to your job?
Not really. I love retail. To me, the really exciting bit is when women get to come in and buy the stuff. To me, the moment when the customer actually throws the frock on in the fitting room is much more exciting than the runway moment. The runway moment is just the beginning of a long journey which culminates in the customer actually opening their wallet and buying it. What could be more validating for a designer than [a buyer] actually saying, "I’m going to pony up my hard-earned cash and own this thing that you’ve created?"

Has there been a favorite window you’ve done throughout the years?
I always get a chuckle when I think of Prince Charles and Camilla that we did a couple of years ago with Prince Charles lying in the bath and Camilla with her rollers in and Prince Harry sitting on the throne. It was full of so many bad puns. I love that window.

What do you think is next for the holiday window?
This year was the first time we ever did anything issue-oriented. I think that will be the next step, where people attempt to address issues. If [the stores] shift to doing issue-oriented things, I think many of them may fall into the trap of being a little too preachy and serious, which is something we strenuously avoided with our "Green" campaign.

How did you decide on the "green" theme for this year’s windows and how did you actually go green?
Our fashion director Julie Gilhart and our CEO Howard Sokol were very into the idea of having a "green" holiday and I wasn’t into it. The "green" thing was very challenging for me, so I thought the best way to approach it was just to have fun with it. So we did holiday icons like "Rudolph the Recycling Reindeer." We took holiday icons and gave them a green twist, like a green version of the 12 Days of Christmas.

Do you have any advice for a novice holiday decorator?
I think there are a lot of things you can do at home. For example, you know those silver pot scrubbers? They look absolutely great as a wreath and you can hang onto them afterward and use them for pot scrubbing. If you love a particular artist then go buy millions of postcards and then with little clips, you can clip them all over your tree and make an art tree which reflects your taste in art. I always encourage people to use holiday décor as a form of personal expression because there really are no rules. Using found objects is very groovy and is kind of a fun way to look at things.

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