Secrets of Barneys' Saturday Night Live windows
Designer Simon Doonan takes us on an exclusive tour of this year's Barneys display.
Tue Dec 15 2009
Says Simon Doonan: "At Barneys we always make everything ourselves; we like it to be crafty and slightly hokey. I like that more informal, funky [style]; more like an art installation than some super-prissy window."
A "These three characters here [in the main window] are the most iconic in the history of Saturday Night Live: Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna, John Belushi as the Killer Bee and Steve Martin as King Tut."
B "We tried to be as democratic as possible with photos." [Editors' note: And yet there are 14 of the same photo of Jimmy Fallon looking boyishly handsome.]
C "The big numbers, they needed to be edged in something and we randomly stuck pencils on there. The people from SNL told us that Lorne is a pencilaholic, that this was a very astute, apropos choice, but we didn't know that at the time."
D "This is a hilarious year for us because we've never been able to put cigarettes in the window, but in order to be historically correct... It feels very transgressive. You'll note that it looks like the ciggie's lit. Bit of glitter and a spotlight, and it's on fire, hon."
Says Lorne Michaels, SNL executive producer:
E "My favorite part is that Simon Doonan did them, and I think they're brilliant, and I had to do nothing."
Says Seth Meyers, SNL head writer:
F "There's no greater thrill than seeing people that are close to you represented by papier-mch. They say in show business that's how you know you've made it: if you have their numbers in your phone and you see them represented by papier-mch. The burn on me was the one photo I saw of myself [in the first window] is me playing Carrot Top."
Says Simon Doonan:
G "There was a famous Coneheads episode where they played ringtoss. We sort of re-created that here, where Connie Conehead is flinging a little tinsel garland onto the parents' heads."
H "[We had] a lot of fun coming up with these dreadful puns. The first one was the Cone Ranger and it just went downhill from there."
I "This was the photo we worked from. Essentially, we reproduced that room."
J "Then we did books. Coneshead Revisited. We did that one twice, because the first time we did Conehead Revisited, then we realized it had to be Coneshead Revisited."
K "Every [Barneys] store has a witty tree. We always like to have something compelling and demented at the front entrance. Get them off the sidewalk, otherwise, hello? It's just free entertainment."
L "Originally the arms were more like a yoga position. They're still kind of amusing."
M "These are garlands made out of pot scrubbers. I looked at it one day and it didn't have any rhythm to it, so that's when we pulled the pot scrubbers out. I love pot scrubbers, I'm obsessed with them."
N "Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was actually witty? He said, 'If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?' And you know, people often speculate that he might have been gay. Only a queen would have said that."
Says Tina Fey:
O "I don't know if it's me or the real Sarah Palin that's up there. They're piatas; those heads are full of sketch ideas and we're going to crack them open. New Year's Day, you bring the kids—kids love coming to Barneys and they love smashing human heads."
Says Simon Doonan:
P "This is a celebration of some of the great gals of Saturday Night Live. Yes, some of them are transgender."
Q "I think there's a poltergeist in Sarah Palin because she keeps twirling in different directions. Now she's staring over at Molly Shannon. I think she wants to have a lesbian affair with Molly."
R "No one knew what gender Pat (a character played by Julia Sweeney) was. To this day we can't decide what window to put her in."
S "We had a pile of scripts and we xeroxed them and used them to paper the floor. I couldn't stop laughing."
T "We really studied holiday ornaments, we thought, Should Janet Reno's legs be separate or should they be joined as if she was a Christopher Radko ornament? We got into the Zen of what is a holiday ornament using incredibly tacky ones we bought at a store we won't name, but it certainly wasn't Barneys!"
Next Things to do on Christmas Day
Not everything is closed; there's still plenty to do.