Holiday window secrets

Designers dish on their festive creations.

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  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

macys0

Macy's Holiday Windows 2010

Macy's | Henri Bendel | Lord & Taylor | Barneys | Saks Fifth Avenue | Bergdorf Goodman

Macy's
Broadway between 34th and 35th Sts (212-695-4400, macys.com). Through Jan 3.

The concept: Inspired by the famous "Is There a Santa Claus?" editorial (and a new CBS adaptation called Yes, Virginia), window director Paul Olszewski set out to fashion a more modern and lively depiction of that iconic story—in which a little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon questions the existence of St. Nick. "We've kind of created theater in each of the windows," Olszewski explains, noting that Macy's joined forces with a stage-set company to craft the vignettes. "Each tells part of the story through scenery changes, lighting, voiceovers—[and it's] all computerized." Still, he retained some classic touches. Many of the details, including Virginia's pop-up book, newspapers and wallpaper, were made from thousands of sheets of hand- and laser-cut paper.

The result: Olszewski says that his goal was "to mix theatrics, artistry and technology," and the display captures all three: It looks like a live version of an old-fashioned stop-motion film. Olszewski also added techy flourishes; look for LCD screens behind the windows of buildings, which show people hanging ornaments and putting up their Christmas trees. "My big worry was that people wouldn't understand the paper thing, or would not get the whole theatrical part," he notes. "But they're getting it—it's so neat to see [the crowd linger] from the opening to the closing of each window."

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