Holiday windows

Learn the secrets behind Lord & Taylor's festive displays.

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  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    When the time came to plan Lord & Taylor's annual festive window displays, Scott Devine, the vice president of visual merchandising, knew where to look for inspiration. A vintage advertisement for the store from 1941 asks, "What is Christmas made of?" and features a black-and-white illustration of Santa Claus surrounded by smaller sketches of reindeer, carolers and ice-skaters. "Our windows bring the answer to that question to life," he explains. We talked to Devine to get an in-depth look at this year's windows.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Seventy years after the advertisement first came out, we asked ourselves: Is this question still relevant? We decided to go to the source and ask children." Lord & Taylor invited children from local schools and Women In Need shelters to illustrate what Christmas is made of.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "We had more than 1,000 pieces by the end of the process," notes Devine. "After seeing the drawings, it became very evident to us that they were really pieces of artwork that deserved to be framed."

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Lord & Taylor's creative team starts working on the displays in the spring. "From start to finish, the process takes about eight months," explains Devine. "The clothing, props and structures of each window are handmade. Our windows are on a hydraulic lift, so we raise them up from the basement for the unveiling."

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "The first theme is all about decorating," says Devine. The scene features a young girl named Taylor in her bedroom, drawing different images that depict her wishes for the holiday season. "It's [Taylor's] story that ties all of the windows together."

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "[One] theme is all about being outside," says Devine. "A girl told us that she wanted to ride on a reindeer, so we created a carousel of reindeer."

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    The next window focuses on visiting Santa, and shows several kids waiting to call on to the big red guy. "Since 1938, we've dedicated our windows to capturing the true spirit of the season," says Devine. "We're proud to carry that tradition on."

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "A lot of children drew about baking cookies and putting cookies out for Santa," says Devine. As a nod to that, one window shows a family that lives inside of a gingerbread house, and their preparations for Christmas morning. The scenes include two kids playing in a room, and a mother and daughter cooking in the kitchen.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Even though everyone is in a frenzy on Fifth Avenue, I get to see people slow down and take the time to go from window to window," gushes Devine. "That whole experience is unique to New York City."

Photograph: Marielle Solan

When the time came to plan Lord & Taylor's annual festive window displays, Scott Devine, the vice president of visual merchandising, knew where to look for inspiration. A vintage advertisement for the store from 1941 asks, "What is Christmas made of?" and features a black-and-white illustration of Santa Claus surrounded by smaller sketches of reindeer, carolers and ice-skaters. "Our windows bring the answer to that question to life," he explains. We talked to Devine to get an in-depth look at this year's windows.

GO THERE NOW! Lord & Taylor, 424 Fifth Ave between 38th and 39th Sts (212-391-3344, lordandtaylor.com). Daily 24hrs; free. Through Jan 6.

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