Bergdorf Goodman 2014 Holiday Windows: Exclusive Sneak Peak with Head Window Designer David Hoey

Fifth Avenue luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman unveiled its 2014 holiday windows in an "explosive" fashion during a program filled with tons of fantasy and fun tonight in NYC. got an exclusive sneak peak with David Hoey, Senior Director of Visual Presentation of Bergdorf Goodman.

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Bergdorf Goodman’s theme this holiday season is “Inspired,” with the store’s Fifth Avenue window displays embarking on a visual manifestation of this idea. Each window is based on a different art form drawn from the performing arts, applied arts and fine arts.

Bergdorf GoodmanÂ’s team of display artists, helmed once again by Senior Director of Visual Presentation David Hoey, spent 11 months planning and producing this spectacle. Bergdorf GoodmanÂ’s holiday windows will be on view through January 4, 2015.

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David, these windows are spectacular, what makes them special to you?

These windows are special to me because they rely on old-world craftsmanship, are created with real antiques, and they take 11 months to produce. It is also special that we decide that we are going to design and create windows that are over-the-top and the very fact that we do them. It takes a lot of nerve to produce windows that are overstuffed to the point of absurdity. We have a lot of fun challenging ourselves, and the glass practically shatters on our holiday windows because there is so much going on in them. Additionally, the layering of the windows is also special, as each window has many different layers that each has a special meaning.

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What was the most fun aspect to putting these windows together?

The most fun aspect of creating the windows is to travel to all the various artist studios and fabricators, and watching it all unfurl. The process itself is actually the most interesting part, not necessarily the dreaming up part (thatÂ’s too stressful), as after we dream the theme for the windows is hard part is over. So, the actual process itself (a months-long process), and the traveling from various locations in New York City and beyond is the most fun aspect.

These windows are very elaborate, what major challenges did you face?

This year one particular window was a challenge. It was a technical issue involving electricity and the use of neon. We decided to do an all-neon window, which we have never done before. We used an extremely high density of neon which is 3x more than what is usually found in the most elaborate billboard and Las Vegas or Times Square sign. The density per square inch in this window is 3x that. We learned how to be neon designers with the help of an extremely capable neon shop in Brooklyn.

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How much time did you spend putting these windows together?

We started framing the windows out last January. Right now IÂ’m already deciding on what to do next year. Before we pull the curtain on this yearÂ’s windows I need to know what we are doing for next year. At any given time, there are 3-4 really good themes, so on January 2nd, 2015 we will pick one of those themes and go with it. Even as we debut these current holiday windows IÂ’m thinking about next yearÂ’s.

How many people did it take to do it?

We have a staff of 6 but we rely on a lot of freelancers. We have at least 100 people who have contributed to these windows over the past several months. Everyone from people making needle point portraits of famous authors, to a company in Brooklyn that silver-plated hundred of linear feet of copper tubing, to all different kinds of artistss. Only in New York can you do the windows that we do – it’s a tribute to New York’s freelance artisan community.

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Bergdorf Goodman consistently has some of the best windows in the world, what is your magic formula?

WhatÂ’s our secret? Our secret is willfully blur sleep and wakefulness. Letting a dream state take over and conserve it. We sleep walk on purpose so that the subconscious bubbles to the surface - thatÂ’s how we do it.

Which window is your favorite?

They are all so different from each other. You can hear people on the street talking about which is their favorite and I have a favorite but wonÂ’t tell. You have to choose it yourself. There is one window that was the most labor intensive that we have ever done and it is even more special because our windows tend to be very labor intensive. ItÂ’s made primarily of soft sculpture and needle work and fiber art. We calculated there are at least 7 million individual stitches. ItÂ’s the red window.

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How do you choose the theme for the windows?

There was a theme for Bergdorf Goodman that was decided upon, the word “inspired”, and I have always wanted to do a theme on the arts. So, this was the perfect year for the arts being the manifestation of inspiration. So, the inspired theme came to be and the windows are about inspiration. We could have even called it art appreciation. Additionally, holiday themes over the years have become more and more unconventional so we have more freedom. It does not always have to be a trip to the North Pole or the 12 days of Christmas. It’s a theme that lends itself to festive visual scenarios. It has to be a theme that everyone understands and a theme that you can do variations for different windows. We have 14 windows of all different sizes so a theme has to be able to fit into those different windows.

Is there anything you would like us to share about these windows that we haven't asked?

We devote 3/5 of all of our resources for the year for just these windows. The vast majority of those resources are just the 5 big windows. We do about 300 windows a year and 3/5 of our attention for the whole year just go to those 5 windows.

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