WORDS BY GRAEME CAMPBELL
IMAGE: HIGHSNOBIETY / JULIEN TELL
There’s a Covid-19 vaccine and a new administration in the White House — a history-making one at that. There are the groups, from Aurora James’s 15 Percent Pledge to Harlem’s Fashion Row’s ICON360 to Sharon Chuter’s Pull Up for Change, that were founded in 2020 and are only just getting started. There are the personal milestones and the upcoming projects, as well as the continuation of the lessons, work and growth from this year. And, according to fashion and beauty professionals, there’s hope.
From designers to editors, models to stylists, brand founders to executives, we asked folks in these industries to reflect on 2020 and share what they’re most excited about in the new year. Read their responses, below.
“For me, 2020 has been a year of reflection and finding ways to make a difference in the world. We saw an uneasy amount of racial and social injustice this summer, which continued later into the year. As a response to that, I pledged to donate 50% of my earnings for the remainder of 2020 to Black Lives Matter organizations, but also took my commitment a step further by founding Donate My Wage. I wanted to create a space where people could go to learn more about organizations within the BLM movement and how they could donate and support. This initiative is one that I’m most looking forward to continuing in 2021.
“While we have started to see change, most recently with our Presidential election, there’s still so much work to be done. I want to continue working with the 11 organizations we highlight, while also looking at additional groups that need support. If I have learned anything in 2020, it’s that I have a voice, a platform and a message, all of which need to be heard and shared. For me, 2021 is not only a new year and a new beginning, but a continued growth opportunity. It’s going to be a year to continue the fight, the hard work and the determination to see real, widespread change. Fashion is what I love and it’s the industry in which I work and because of that, I will do what I can to help make a difference within it. However, my hope for change doesn’t stop there: 2021 is the year to empower those around us to reach their goals and not let anything or anyone stand in their way. No one has to stand alone ever again. While 2020 has been a struggle, I think every person can say they have learned something about themselves and are excited to make 2021 the best year it can be.”
“In 2021, I’m looking forward to so many things! First and most important is the ability to see all my family in Texas. My sister is having her first baby and I want to be there for her. I think the industry has done a lot of soul searching this year and 2021 will see us taking stock of the past and really making an effort to evolve for the better of the consumers and the teams behind the brands.”
“Well, after this absolute dumpster fire of a year, I’m feeling — thankfully — pretty hopeful about 2021. I’m very excited that Allure is celebrating some major milestones in 2021: our 30th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of our Best of Beauty Awards. It’s been fun to look back over the past three decades to see how much beauty has become intertwined with culture, so we’ll be diving into that in a major way all year. We’re focused on expanding Allure as a brand in some exciting new ways — a few that I can’t talk about yet! Audio was very fun for us this year with the launch of our podcast ‘The Science of Beauty,’ so we’re looking forward to launching some other podcasts next year. It’ll be interesting to see how the world changes after the Presidential inauguration and after the COVID vaccines. I’m looking forward to seeing people in person again one day.”
“The possibility of hope and a return to optimism are what I’m looking forward to in 2021 and beyond. I’m exhausted and feel like I’m running on fumes right now. However, our collective resilience as New Yorkers keeps me stimulated to design and push my creativity forward. Keep your head up!”
“I’m looking forward to continuing a balance of work and life. 2020 has taught us all to slow down and also pivot our priorities. We have seen this in both spaces. I’m hopeful that we will be better people to each other and our creative juices will begin to flow again. I think in terms of the fashion industry, I’m excited at the work we have planned for the Black in Fashion Council with almost 100 brands.”
“Madame Vice President. Period.”
“I’m hoping in 2021 that we’re all going to continue consciously shopping. This is a huge opportunity for consumers to continue voting with their dollars to support small and Black-owned businesses. I’m hoping this is finally the time when we take big steps towards making this world a better place. We need to think about how we treat the people we work with, starting with our supply chain. We need to inspire one another to do better.”
“I think 2020 really taught a lot of sustainable apparel brands that sustainability within a supply chain isn’t enough and internal sustainability — the responsibility they have as a company to sustain BIPOC employees and create an inclusive work environment — is also important. I’m hopeful, especially after brands like Girlfriend Collective and Glossier have addressed publicly where they went wrong and how they’d like to change that other brands will follow suit and that sustainable apparel will also include Black, Latinx and Indigenous perspectives because who knows who might have an amazing solution to creating a more circular economy that just hasn’t been given a platform or chance to be heard.”
“As investors, we’ve always sought out underserved consumer markets that are ripe for innovation, whether that be size inclusivity and sustainability in fashion or clean ingredients in beauty. In focusing on these traditionally overlooked markets, our portfolio has been inherently inclusive since day one. The companies in our first fund are over 50% female-founded. In 2021, we’re excited to continue supporting founders from diverse backgrounds, who are using their unique experiences to truly transform their categories and solve the problems that other consumers experience in a way that only they can.”
“I’m looking forward to joy, to taking time to celebrate life. This year, it feels like we all of a sudden had to stop what we’re doing and take a pause on celebrations. I’m looking forward to being able to hug the people in my life and to love them in person and to the energy that comes when we can share a space together physically.
“I’m looking forward to our brand being carried by Bergdorf Goodman. I grew up a few blocks away, and I remember a time not long ago even when salespeople would follow us around, as they thought that because you were Black, you were likely to steal. It’s very rare to impossible that you would find brands like ours in stores like BG. It’s a true honor for us to be able to be carried in such an iconic and beautiful shop. I’m excited to show my mother and to be able to share our brand with the BG community.
“I teach part time at Parsons and the students have been developing incredible design projects that are created with impact in mind and that will change the world. I’m looking forward to seeing how their projects develop and seeing the results of all of their work.
“I’m also looking forward to starting the year with a new administration in the U.S. in January and seeing the potential of change and in particular the historical moment when Kamala Harris becomes the first Southeast Asian, Jamaican-American Black woman VP… so much to look forward to! Change is coming!”
“I’m really looking forward to the Marc Jacobs show. He sat out the fall fashion week circuit but is returning this spring and I’m sure it’s going to be spectacular. I have loved every show he has done, from Vuitton to his namesake. I cried at his final show for Louis Vuitton.”
“Feels simple, but I’m hopeful for this vaccine. I’m hopeful that people will be more helpful to one another this year, versus in 2020 where it felt like no one could agree on anything. I’m hopeful the entire country is aligned that we want to move on from this monstrous year and that we’ll all be planning for a more fruitful future where we’re not all scared to go out and socialize. I’m hopeful that the economy will pick up again and innovation will come of it and provide jobs to the people who became unemployed due to the pandemic. I’m hopeful we’ll remember the people lost and the people severely impacted financially and help those communities overcome these obstacles. Selfishness has no place in this country — not anymore. Certainly not in my community.”
“In 2021, I’m looking forward to the industry continuing to do the work required to ultimately achieve racial justice. Systemic racism is at the heart of so many of the humanitarian and environmental issues that the fashion industry continues to struggle with from the exploitation of laborers to the pollution of land, air and water in communities of color. It’s not until we have achieved equity, that the industry can truly be sustainable.”
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how the fashion and beauty spaces continue to evolve and move forward towards more positive change. There have been so many ongoing virtual conversations this year about what can be done better and what that looks like. I’m hopeful that in 2021, though there may be some kinks along the road, we will witness the tangible first steps of a huge and much needed shift.”
“In 2021, I’m looking forward to (and hoping for!) live music, concerts, sweaty dancing with my besties and feeling worry-free. Oh, and a reason to get ridiculously dressed up.”
“On a personal note, I’m really looking forward to having this baby at the top of 2021, which has been a blessing amongst the craziness that happened in 2020, along with landing this amazing job at Cosmopolitan.
“Being a Black woman in beauty, I’m really excited about all of the conversation and momentum around diversity and inclusion. It’s something that’s only going to get even bigger and better. We’re going to find more ways of storytelling that celebrates beauty and all its iterations — its colors, ethnicities and cultures. That gives me hope and really validates the hard work we are doing right now. We just have to keep our foot on the pedal and keep it going.
“In 2021, I’m excited to continue the fight to dismantle patriarchy and uplift matriarchal power.”
“I’m hopeful for a refreshed mindset in 2021 for myself personally and for our industry. 2020 was dark and gloomy. The optimism that’s on the horizon gives me hope for a time where we can have in-person moments later in the year — events, shows or simple gatherings. We have all adapted to communicating digitally or virtually, but I hope for a time when we have some good old-fashioned human interaction.”
“I’m at the bar at Joe Allen. It’s 7:52 and I realize I can’t have that second martini, but remember that for the first time in the longest time, I’m on my way to see a show. That’s the night I’m longing for in 2021: our first back for live theater.”
“2020 was the year of turning our insides out and making us take a clear look at ourselves — a new kind of 2020 vision.
“It’s been excruciatingly painful, but the growth has been tremendous. In fashion specifically, we’ve seen several houses take social and cultural stances. The conversation around inclusion and accountability has started to evolve to more than just ticking off a box. We’re seeing more of our stories and experiences documented through the lens of fashion, bringing narratives of BIPOC folk to the forefront. Aurora James starting the 15 Percent Pledge, Hasan Minhaj collaborating with Cole Haan on a shoe, Kerby Jean-Raymond becoming creative director of Reebok and every crevasse in between — creatives are celebrating creatives, and the resulting art is beautiful.
“At The Wall Group, we’ve been hard at work internally building out a program to create change in our industry, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. The TWG Incubator was developed to democratize access and provide opportunities to artists from underrepresented backgrounds, and we will welcome our inaugural class in January. I’m so excited about the level of talent I’m seeing, as well as the diversity of candidates who are interested in fashion and beauty and are passionate about making it a more inclusive place for others to follow in their footsteps. We have always believed in celebrating creative talent and guiding careers, and we can’t wait to start this journey with our Incubator mentees.”
“We have a lot in store for 2021 at Golde. We spent most of 2020 working on new product extensions, and there are quite a few coming in the first few months of the year alone! It’s been such a joy to be able to find forward momentum and creative energy during such a bizarre time in the world. I’m looking forward to sharing what we’ve created with our community, and am hopeful that they love everything as much as we do.”
“I’m looking forward to experiencing anything Kerby Jean-Raymond puts his hands on. Forthcoming collections with Reebok, his new venture Your Friends in New York, a drive-in New York Fashion Week event — Kerby is the future of all the types of things a fashion brand and creative director can do once they break themselves free of traditional expectations and moulds, and I’m excited to watch him work.”
“I’m looking forward to continuing the progression we have made as a brand, to keep developing partnerships globally but still managing from New York! Starting January, we’re launching our newest collections in a bimonthly drop method, and finally ready-to-wear from our e-comm! It has been exciting to change the way we think through each delivery time frame and what we are wearing. It currently seems like Christmas day, with FedEx boxes of gorgeous fabrics and knits arriving…but really looking forward to May 1st when these garments will be my Zoom and real-life outfits.”
“I’m so excited for 2021 because I think we will see brands continuing to push bigger messages and use their platforms to support important causes and champion meaningful issues. With all that has happened in 2020, we have seen designers and fashion houses committed to doing better, being more vocal and really taking action steps towards making the world a better place. I’ve been fortunate to work with Tommy Hilfiger on his new ‘Waste Nothing, Welcome All’ initiative. I’ve been able to work with Pandora, BOTTLETOP and Rothy’s on their sustainability programs and charitable endeavors. I’m really seeing a bright 2021 in our near future. We all have the power to make a difference and I personally feel that key fashion players are stepping up and leading the charge.” (Editor’s note: Since providing this quote, Aden announced her decision to step down from her modeling career.)
“I love television and I have such a deep respect for everything that goes into making a show come to life. With in-person production having been stalled for many shows this year, I’ve been so inspired by the different ways in which crews and creatives have approached production in new ways. In 2021, I’m excited for the return of some of my favorite shows, of course, but also to witness what I feel will be the beginning of an entirely new era for animation and experimental specials.”
“For 2021, I’m most hopeful about the refreshed focus of the industry. The pandemic has been challenging, but it has refocused the industry to celebrate the emotional aspect of fashion and to empower designers to create what they truly love. It’s an exhilarating time for fashion and I’m excited to see the beauty that emerges next year.”
“In 2021, I look forward to seeing inclusivity with no boundaries! This was pivotal in pushing the needle forward and I think there is some real opportunity for growth. I’d like to see size expansions, even more diverse models being used, skin shades being catered to… The possibilities are endless.”
“I’m looking forward to ‘The Human Voice’ (out in February), Pedro Almodóvar’s new short film, because it will resonate with anyone who’s been going insane within the confines of home, only in Pedro’s telling we make it through to the other side dressing like Tilda Swinton in fabulous Balenciaga ballgowns. Speaking of Balenciaga, I’m looking forward to more designers getting extra funky with their presentations, like Demna Gvasalia and Anna Sui showing new collections on video games, Jonathan Anderson inviting us to wallpaper in lieu of a runway show, and Marc Jacobs, whose Instagram packs more energy and joy than the slog of fashion month IRL. What he told T&C in our December issue is doubling as my 2021 mantra: ‘I’ve got all this stuff, and I just want to enjoy it. Now is the time for everything, you know what I mean? If not now, when?'”
“What I look forward to in 2021 is optimism and creativity. We’ve had a heavy year socially, politically and financially. With a new administration coming in, the vaccine on its way, everyone having to take a pause and reset their own lives, I hope we embrace 2021 as a new beginning. We can’t go back, so we need to look to the future with brighter eyes and an open mind. From that, creativity thrives and I’m hopeful that 2021 will be an abundance of that.”
“This year has been such an incredibly difficult one for people all over the world. Navigating through these times has been quite an obstacle both professionally and personally. If there is one thing I have learned and valued, is to be present and take it each day one at a time. This is an attribute that I hope to take forward with me to 2021 and beyond. To really understand the impact, I can make today and how I can better myself and those around me. I’m an eternal optimist and with everything I remain hopeful but know there is still a lot of work to be done.”
“What I’m most looking forward to in 2021 is a new chapter in American politics. I feel renewed excitement at the thought of reading and editing coverage of the inauguration and everything that comes after for this new administration and our country. And I really can’t wait to see and cover what Vice President-elect Kamala Harris says, wears and, most importantly, does as she makes history in our country.
“I’m also looking forward to a new chapter at Marie Claire with my first issues as EIC hitting newsstands in 2021. We’re in full March mode over here and I’m already sitting on my hands trying to keep myself from over-excitedly type-shouting about our March and April issues. We have two amazing cover stars and are experimenting with some of the pages in the magazine, which has been, to put it simply, really, really fun. I’m so proud of what the team is doing and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
“In 2021, I’m looking forward to the growth of all of the fantastic initiatives organized to benefit the Black community in fashion. This year was the birth of several organizations, including ICON360, a non-profit we launched in May to provide financial awards and mentorship to designers of color. I feel so much hope knowing there is a village of incredible people working on racial equality in fashion. I’m hopeful that all of our efforts will create a lasting change that will positively impact the next generation.”
“My hope for 2021 is that we truly live the lessons we learned in 2020 — whether we wanted to or not. The pandemic changed our priorities as individuals, as workers, as people and in our industry. Excess exposed itself as did anything that wasn’t essential, in fact, ‘essential’ took on a new meaning. I hope we keep our focus on inclusion, justice, safety, health and sustainability. I hope we continue to do less and reflect more and create an industry that is inclusive and responsive to the moment. We need fashion, we need the joy and the inspiration, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of our health or this planet.”
“The end of the year has brought with it a true, unwavering sense of hope. As a company, we’ve gone through the biggest upheaval of our 20-year history, an anniversary we had in May while in the throes of the greatest uncertainty about our future. And yet, I feel strength from having been in this raging storm because of what it forced us to do, taking the actions that we’ve been speaking about for awhile: take stock of inventory issues, not produce our Fall 2020 collection and use existing stock in creative ways. It made us move offices and cut overhead costs. However painful that was, it brought a magnifying glass up to our organizational structure and opened our eyes to what we had to do.
“The change has brought strength in new beginnings and confidence in some of the status quo. For one, holding sustainability at the crux of our decisions has been unwavering. Being of service to others and to this planet has only been reinforced. If I had to choose just one specific example of this, I’m excited to speak about the launch of our Climate Beneficial™ wool sweater and hat, which marks what I hope to be the future of the brand. I’m hopeful for the continued evolution of this industry to work towards leaving this earth a better place than how we found it. Most of all, I’m looking forward to collective healing, rebuilding and reconnecting.”
“Something bringing me hope for 2021 is the sustained fight for diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry and beyond. We saw a collective reckoning go on after the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders, with a lot of brands promising to do more to create racial equity within their industries. But some of that fervor seems to have died down. I hope that in 2021, with the fresh start that a new year can bring, we remember some of the vital and valuable lessons 2020 taught us. Personally, I’ll be dedicating myself to that mission through my work with Backstory, as some of the powerful projects we’ve been fortunate enough to work on start to roll out. Changing the faces and stories at the forefront of marketing projects is really important to me, and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve so far. I’m also excited to continue to cheer on the efforts of others like the 15 Percent Challenge and Pull Up for Change as they continue to grow and progress towards creating a more diverse and inclusive landscape for all.”
“I’m so excited to see the continuation of people’s changing relationship with clothing and style. Some people are becoming more intentional about not only what they buy but what they put on their body; others are going through a new period of creativity or a journey of self-expression; and some are simply discovering that putting on clothing is a way to find joy. I’m really excited to see brands like Marine Serre, Telfar, Fear of God and Evan Kinori really move beyond the category of ’emerging designers’ into something permanent and established, brands we’ll love and wear for years to come — and to see a crop of younger labels like Chopova Lowena, Ashley Williams and Asai really resonate with people. I still don’t think creativity is as much at the forefront in fashion as it should be — but I feel a sense that a new space is being carved out in fashion for real outsiders, both designers and consumers.”
“To pay tribute to Gabrielle Chanel’s love for gold, the ROUGE ALLURE timeless shades are enriched with light-reflecting golden sparkle.”
— LUCIA PICA
A powerful symbol of the House, the legendary golden chain interwoven with black leather is reinterpreted by Lucia Pica in this limited-edition collection for the holiday season. The CHANEL Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer paints a portrait of a strong, radiant woman with a colour palette of deep, golden shades for a bold makeup look.
Today, Flushing’s Chinatown and the Chinatown in Sunset Park in Brooklyn have come to dwarf Manhattan’s. But the tiny community that took root by the 1870s along Doyers, Pell and lower Mott Streets, in what was then a slum called Five Points, remains the origin story for Chinese culture in New York.
The neighborhood began to grow with the arrival of Chinese laborers driven from the American West after the Gold Rush and the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 meant Chinese in America found themselves prevented from becoming citizens and denied other basic rights. Until the mid-1960s, only a handful of Chinese were legally permitted to enter the country. Chinatowns across the country were formed to provide Chinese communities with a support network and protective shield against racism.
The neighborhood’s insularity, working-class identity and pride, its architecture, demographics, culture and economy are all rooted in this legacy of adversity, self-reliance and resilience.
Photographs by @yungbludlau
In its annual Year in Search report, Google releases (like the name suggests) the top trending searches — which it defines as terms that saw an increase in traffic compared to the previous year, according to a representative from the company — from users in the U.S. These typically range in topic and nature, from the names of actors, athletes and politicians to how-to’s. Its 2020 findings were made public on Wednesday, and the fashion-, beauty- and shopping-related categories, specifically, reflect the realities of living amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Questions on how to cut hair at home and where to buy face masks, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer abound, as do inquiries about skin care and various ingredients found in products. We also see trends that have been emerging over the past few years, like TikTok-favorite products and style archetypes, make the cut. You can look through the full report here; below, discover Google’s top trending searching in the fashion and beauty spaces.
How to cut men’s hair at home
How to plop hair
How to color your hair at home
How to wash your hands
How to style curtain bangs
How to cut women’s hair
How to do knotless braids
How to fade hair
How to trim your own hair
How to dermaplane
Where to buy PS5
Where to buy toilet paper
Where to buy face masks
Where to buy Xbox series X
Where to buy hand sanitizer
Where to buy Ju-C jelly candy
Where to buy Nintendo Switch
Where to buy Lysol spray
Where to buy Clorox wipes
Where to buy N95 mask
What is the best skin care line
What are the best skin care products
How to build a skincare routine
What order to do skincare
What is AHA in skincare
How to get rid of acne
What does vitamin C do for your skin
What does hyaluronic acid do
What does toner do for your face
What is combination skin
What does vitamin C do for your skin
What does hyaluronic acid do
What does retinol do
What does toner do
What does niacinamide do
What does lactic acid do
What does clean skin care mean
What does glycolic acid do
What does micellar water do
What does serum do
Noah Cyrus outfit
Maria Taylor outfit
Lil Nas X Grammy outfit
Billie Eilish Grammy outfit
Lizzo basketball game outfit
Jennifer Lopez Super Bowl outfit
Travis Scott Natman outfit
Melania Trump outfit
Harry Styles outfits
Shakira Super Bowl outfit
Skater girl style
80s style clothing
E girl style
Mariah Carey, queen of Christmas, is here to save the holidays. Today, on Apple TV, the iconic singer is releasing her much-anticipated Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special, a musical event that aims to bring a festive spirit to this holiday month through song and dance. It’s a star-studded affair, including a special performance with Carey, Ariana Grande, and Jennifer Hudson for their new song, “Oh Santa!” as well as guest cameos from Snoop Dogg, Billy Eichner, Misty Copeland, Tiffany Haddish, Jermaine Dupri, and more. Equally as festive as the Christmas spectacle? The custom-made, thematic fashions that Carey wears—and Vogue has a closer look at all of the dazzling creations.
Style-wise, Carey is known for her glamorous aesthetic; the diva rarely hits a stage without her evening gowns, often embellished with crystals, sequins, or feathers. For the Christmas special, Carey incorporated holiday signatures into the festive looks. Highlights include a snowflake-like white ball gown completely covered in silvery sequins, and a Nutcracker-inspired mini dress, trimmed with gold piping and, again, crystals! For a performance with Snoop Dogg (who wears a Santa outfit) and her set with Grande and Hudson, Carey also wears a low-cut mini dress with a sequin tartan print applied overtop it. It’s her favorite silhouette, Christmas-ified.
David Hoey, the senior director of visual presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, was sitting in his “war room” the other day when his cellphone rang. Mr. Hoey begged a visitor’s pardon; the phrase “little crisis” was invoked.
“Are you kidding me?” Mr. Hoey said into the phone. “So where you’d go? All right. Let me call you back. Get the 16. How many do they have?”
Mr. Hoey pocketed the intrusive device and looked up apologetically. These were the final hours of an undertaking nearly a year in gestation: On Nov. 16, curtains on Fifth Avenue would drop, revealing Bergdorf’s holiday windows.
For the most important selling season of the year, the venerable department stores of New York have marshaled their resources for elaborate displays of festive cheer. These are a family tradition and a tourist destination, a spare-no-expense arms race for delighted gasps, bugged eyes and Instagram feeds.
“The competition is the most intense it is all year,” said Jamie Nordstrom, the president of stores for Nordstrom, which is already planning the windows for the seven-level, 320,000-square-foot women’s store the company will open on Broadway and 57th Street next fall. “We’re pulling out all the stops.”
Henri Bendel, which came to the area in 1913, will close in late January, after the holiday season. Its owner, L Brands, announced in September it would close all Bendel stores and e-commerce in order to focus on its larger brands, including Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.
Lord & Taylor will soldier on, but its landmark Fifth Avenue flagship, which opened in 1914, will be sold. Hudson’s Bay to WeWork, Hudson’s Bay, which owns Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, announced in October 2017 that the Fifth Avenue building would be sold to WeWork, though the deal has not closed yet. This year’s windows on Fifth, two down from the usual six, will be Lord & Taylor’s last and include a video montage on their history.
At Bendel’s window unveiling (a New York skyline as rendered by Izak Zenou, who has been doing illustrations for the store for 20 years, as well as a collaboration with the artist Shinji Murakami), hot chocolate was flowing, cake truffles were circulating, and executives were showing set-jaw bravery.
“We wanted it to feel really special for our customers,” said Jessica Dennis-Capiraso, Bendel’s vice president of marketing and e-commerce, standing in front of a 20-foot Christmas tree made out of 420 of Bendel’s brown-and-white striped gift boxes and hatboxes. “We’ve had such an outpouring from our customers since the announcement that we were closing. People have just been coming in and shopping like crazy.”
Even now, the faint hope of solutions floated in the air. Those striped hatboxes had been eliciting attention on Instagram. Ms. Dennis-Capiraso wondered if Bendel should have been selling hatboxes all along.
“I’m torn between joy and pain,” said Mr. Zenou, who was painting customer portraits for those who spent $400 or more. “It’s like getting divorced from someone you don’t want to get divorced with.”
Melissa Marrero, a Bendel superfan who, with two days’ notice, had flown in from Orlando, Fla., for the occasion, was waiting to have her portrait painted. How would she manage without her favorite store? “Let’s live in the present,” Ms. Marrero said, fluttering a hand dramatically upward to clutch her chest.
Department stores, previously known as “dry goods palaces,” began in the middle of the 19th century and the window displays there gained widespread popularity near the end of the century, once plate-glass manufacturing became established in America and made windows much more affordable, said Debra Schmidt Bach, the curator of decorative arts at the New-York Historical Society.
Fine artists have also dabbled in windows. In 1939, Salvador Dalí spooked shoppers with a surreal presentation of a mannequin bathing in a lambskin-lined bathtub and another roasting on a bed of coals. The store tried to take it down, and Dalí broke a window in rage.
Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns all worked for Gene Moore, the doyen of 20th-century window display, who oversaw Bonwit Teller for a time and Tiffany & Co. for decades. (Bonwit’s store was razed in 1980 to make way for the site’s new occupant: Trump Tower.) Mr. Moore also occasionally showed his artists’ “serious work” in the windows, though he didn’t much care for it.
By the 1970s, displays were pushing limits as well as products: While Moore designed miniature dioramas that mixed the exquisite and the everyday for Tiffany’s, a younger generation of apostates was on the rise.
Candy Pratts Price made her mark at Charles Jourdan, then vaulted to Bloomingdale’s, where she designed theatrical displays with, some believed, lashings of sadomasochism.
“We wanted to be provocative,” said Ms. Pratts Price, who would go on to become a fixture at Vogue. “Those days we weren’t into Twitter or Instagram where someone could immediately react. My hope and dream was we would’ve had a mic outside to hear the chatter.”
Planning for Christmas began months in advance. “There were incredible dilemmas,” she said. “I favor holly” — which can be flammable — “and the fire department comes in. We once had a year where in 12 days we had to change Christmas because the fire department threw everything out.”
Provocation continued in the 1980s and 1990s with the arrival at Barneys of Simon Doonan, a holiday imp of the perverse, whose displays might feature Sigmund Freud as soon as Santa Claus, or a nativity scene that made references to Madonna the pop star rather than the biblical virgin. It was removed after protests organized by Catholic activists.
He and a team of assemblers had worked late in the night to mount a display with gingerbread wolves and an allover patina of cinnamon (real cinnamon, for its particular texture); a Viennese-style patisserie window; and the licorice window, with a rearing steed in a dizzying mosaic of licorice twists.
Part of the challenge every year is finding the right materials: The layers of Mr. Hoey’s napoleon cakes are actually plaster, resin and podiatry foam, and much of the licorice is hand-braided polymer clay or caulk. Only three candies are tough enough to withstand the window treatment: jelly beans, a studded gummy called Champagne Bubbles and a heart-shaped SweeTart-like candy.
Going for broke is not necessarily the expected course when fellow stores are going broke. But Darcy Penick, the new president of Bergdorf Goodman, who arrived in September from the online retailer Shopbop, said displays like the holiday windows were exactly where she would prefer to invest.
“At a time when retail ebbs and flows in all directions, I think there is a natural orientation to pull back on things,” Ms. Penick said. “From my perspective, that’s not what drives customer love for your brand. You keep investing in the things that your customers love.”
The ascendance of online shopping and a growing preference, especially among younger customers, for experiences over items have spelled doom for some department stores but opportunity for others.
“Retail has actually been healthy,” said Steve Sadove, the former chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue, who is now a senior adviser to Mastercard. “What you’ve seen is a lot of winners and losers.”
Mastercard’s SpendingPulse, which tracks consumer spending across all payment types in markets around the world, is predicting a 5 percent growth in total retail sales (and a 20 percent growth in e-commerce sales) over last year. Mr. Sadove, who oversaw holiday windows for years at Saks, said such investments are “critical.”
On Monday, Saks shut down Fifth Avenue for a dancing spectacular of Broadway hoofers and a fireworks show, sponsored by Mastercard and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The theme of its holiday windows is “Theater of Dreams,” its windows filled with preening starlets, usherettes and a poodle in hair curlers. After the show, pedestrians flocked to take it all in. “She looks like Elsa,” said a young “Frozen” fan about a silver-gowned mannequin.
Like all of the retailers surveyed, Mr. Metrick would not say how much the windows cost to produce. Holiday displays, though, are typically the single largest visuals expense of the year. “This is where all the eyeballs are going to be,” he said.
Half a mile north and a few blocks east, at Bloomingdale’s, the windows on Lexington Avenue have been given over to a holiday partnership with the Grinch, whose new film is in theaters. Passers-by can have their photos snapped by in-window cameras, which then beam their images into displays, or karaoke their favorite Christmas carols, into microphones jutting out onto the sidewalk.
“We track how many people are taking their photographs and sharing them back out,” said Frank Berman, an executive vice president and the chief marketing officer of Bloomingdale’s. “We also have methods in place to track how many people are passing by the windows, stopping and engaging. We also track the amount of traffic coming into the store and the conversion rates. We’re up in terms of traffic this holiday season.”
For generations of families, locals and tourists alike, such holiday windows were a regular pilgrimage, as much a holiday requisite as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. “You had millions of people who were visiting New York,” said Mr. Sadove of his time at Saks. “I’d listen to stories about, ‘My mother or my father took me to see the windows at Saks or at Bergdorf’s.’”
At stores like Macy’s, where snowmen dot the windows alongside Sunny the Snowpal — a plucky snowgirl — and a fox (her best friend), and Santa is seen piloting his sleigh, this tradition continues much as it always has, albeit now with LED screens and interactive games alongside the usual animatronic puppets.
But at Barneys, Matthew Mazzucca, the creative director, is thinking smaller than he has for bonanzas past like Lady Gaga’s Workshop.
Through a partnership with Save the Children, Barneys has funneled off a portion of its annual window budget for a donation. Themed “Make Change,” windows will feature displays created from thousands of pennies — 40,000 in the Madison Avenue windows of the New York flagship. The display effectively reduced material costs and freed up resources for the donation, while raising, it is hoped, social consciousness during the seasonal shop-a-thon.
And at least one younger retailer expressed respect for tradition but also a willingness to flout it.
“I remember my parents bringing me to the big department store windows, where all the toys were animated — it was fantastic,” said Laure Heriard Dubreuil, the founder and chief executive of the Webster, which has stores in Miami, Houston, New York and Costa Mesa, Calif. “So I like the magic of Christmas and all these beautiful windows.”
But for her own New York City department store, which opened on Greene Street in 2017, Ms. Dubreuil rejected the standard holiday trimmings.
“Usually you think holidays, you think snow, you think green and red,” she said. “But we thought glitter and pink. Santa Claus might be a Barbie doll.” In lieu of a traditional holiday display, the Webster’s New York store chose a theme of luxurious escape. Two full floors will be given over to an enormous installation by Chanel, inspired by the enormous cruise ship the brand erected in the Grand Palais in Paris to show the 2019 cruise collection.
As for windows, they are passed over altogether, for one very good reason: The Webster doesn’t have any.
Each day, Vogue Runway will be chronicling the young designers’ films here.
“Advent” by Stefan Cooke
British duo Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt showcase their new menswear in a black-and-white film directed by Eddie Whelan. The short, which is dialogue-free, features silhouetted models walking in front of traditional British scenes to a pulsing soundtrack by Lukas Heerich. “Part of the magic of this label is how it sweetly strips the underlying brutality from British masculine clothing traditions,” wrote Vogue’s Sarah Mower in her review. The film does the same, offering an un-stuffy, human take on the male dress codes that Cooke and Burt so beautifully subvert.
“The Palace of Kings” by Jordan Luca
“Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day / And men forgot their passions in the dread / Of this their desolation; and all hearts / Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light.” Depressing pandemic poetry or a snippet of Lord Byron’s “Darkness?” That quote is from the latter, which inspired the duo’s film, though it feels especially apt considering the global lockdowns. JordanLuca’s Jordan Bowen and Luca Marchetto offer a salve in their new film directed by Conor Clinch that imagines “a world where darkness becomes light.” A boyish protagonist discovers a hidden rave in London, and gets a moment of reprieve from isolation and the bleakness of night.
“Import Settings” by Shanel Campbell
New York-born and raised artist Shanel Campbell created a film of juxtapositions for #GucciFest. Combining her fashion work with collage, film, illustration, and photography, Campbell’s film “Import Settings” is a powerful display of her aesthetic taste and an uncanny ability to meld her own past with a futuristic vision. “I am simultaneously communicating with my ancestors and descendants,” she has said of her label Bed on Water. On Instagram, Campbell expanded on her ideas, describing the project as “a short film about whatever you want it to be about featuring femmewear from a future collection.” Chances are you will be seeing much more of this femme futurewear very soon.
“Lord Sky Dungeon” by Boramy Viguier
Like any good fantasy film, Boramy Viguier’s “Lord Sky Dungeon” opens with a hefty tome that is magically set ablaze. The Lord of the Rings font of the title cards immediately declares this to be a mythic quest of sorts, and over the span of two minutes, Viguier’s heroes journey through a fantastical world with all the trappings of sci-fi classics. “Unsettling, to be sure, but also visually hypnotic,” wrote Vogue’s Mark Holgate of Viguier’s spring 2021 collection earlier this year—and the same could be said of this film, directed by Samuel Rixon.
“Taro Buddha” by Yueqi Qi
“This film is based on real memories of my hometown, Kaiping, China,” begins Yueqi Qi’s film “Taro Buddha.” Over the course of a day, the protagonist gets dressed and celebrates her birthday, visiting friends, family, and marketplaces, before ending up at a small dance party. The titular taro buddha makes an appearance mid-way through as a part of the heroine’s supper, complementing Qi’s brightly colored garments, which fuse Chinese traditions with new silhouettes and ideas. “The intention was to distinguish any embarrassment of humble beginnings and to champion home (even if best loved at a distance),” the brand posted on social media. “You can find your God anywhere; even on a plate with some chicken.”
“A trailer for a video game that doesn’t exist,” is how Gareth Wrighton and Zach Beech describe their short film. (In this, it provides a nice counter to Collina Strada’s own video game film.) Scenes of rich forests zoom out to become theaters or malls, while Wrighton’s zoomorphic characters lackadaisically navigate the space. His well-known knit rabbit hat makes a starring appearance, as do his send-ups of popular characters like Sailor Moon. In the end, the film reveals that the “mall” of the video game is a sort of post-apocalyptic store where everyone is just trying to survive. Too real?
“Repugnantam” by Charles de Vilmorin
French designer Charles de Vilmorin begins his short film by sketching demonic creatures from his imagination. Over the next four minutes, those fantastical and quite fabulous demons become real, haunting de Vilmorin within his Parisian apartment. They have glimmering skin, crystal piercings, and prod the designer while wearing his over-the-top creations. “Would you not say that we created you?” one creature asks the designer. It’s a clever take on the creation myth: wondering if maybe the muses are the makers, after all.
“Jord, Luft, Eld, Vatten” by Rave Review
The title of Rave Review’s new film translates from Swedish to “Fire, Air, Earth, Water.” The four elements are represented more abstractly than literally in the short, directed by Jens Löfgren. A gaggle of models wearing the brand’s new capsule collection of upcycled outerwear stomp through Sweden, their bodies morphing and transforming in Löfgren’s surreal lens. The overall effect is one of strangeness, but don’t let that distract from the message of designers Josephine Bergqvist and Livia Schück. Their bed sheet and quilt coats have a realistic, universal appeal, with prints and patterns for every aesthetic. If the film paints them in a dramatic light, know that their ready-to-wear is exactly that—ready for wear in the twisted modern world.
“La Tassinara” by Cormio
Jezabelle Cormio and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele are kindred spirits. Raised in Rome to Italian-American and Italian-Croatian parents, Cormio has a deep affinity for history and its more emotional resonances. After graduating from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Art she launched a collection with a decidedly Tyrolean vibe—see the dirndl and trachten dresses and the delicate Austrian embroideries for proof. Communing between European cultures is just one of Cormio’s strengths; “La Tassinara” also shows her compassion for the everyday. In the Gregorio Franchetti-directed film, a taxi driver becomes the unlikely companion to a trio embarking on a night on the town. The strange karaoke sequence that follows is David Lynchian in its bringing together of disparate characters and suspicious serenity. Michele would surely love it.
“The Pedestrian” by Bianca Saunders
“Three words to describe me,” says a handsome model at the start of Bianca Saunders’s pre-fall 2021 film, “fun, spontaneous, and pretty.” Smirk! The concept for the Akinola Davies Jr.-directed short is a low-fi dating show. Their contestants’ style is intentionally heightened, courtesy of fashionable hairdos and Saunders’s garb, but their casual pick-up lines don’t lose any of their dingy club charm. Perfect dates range from a game of laser tag to a sandwich in Deptford, and the dudes clutch cellphones, bouquets, and a small espresso cup in their hands as they make nice to the camera. The film follows Saunders’s much-admired spring 2021 collection titled “The Ideal Man,” which drew on photographer Hans Eijkelboom’s 1970s pictures. “I found this work Eijkelboom had done, where he interviewed women about what they considered their ideal man to be, then dressed himself up as that, and photographed himself with them,” she told Vogue’s Sarah Mower about that collection. Suffice to say the ideal man of Saunders’s new collection is as dapper and alluring as ever.
“Drip City” by Mowalola
A neon crescent moon sets on Mowalola’s animated short and then a comet crashes into the sea. Designed by Mowalola Ogunlesi and David Killingsworth, the 3-D animations shown in the film push Ogunlesi’s creations into a super-human form. On a Super Smash Bros-esque floating arena, amphibian and mammalian creatures convene wearing acid-hued versions of Mowalola garments with hefty, lug soled—and radiantly lilac—boots. As a character traverses an interstellar runway to meet a silvery alien that looks strangely like a rabbit, the screen reads “SLATT: Slime Love All the Time.” What to make of it? That Ogunlesi, who was named the design director of Kanye West’s Yeezy x Gap endeavor earlier this year, knows no bounds.
Til Death Do Us Ride by Gui Rosa
If Gui Rosa’s short film Til Death Do Us Ride gives you John Waters vibes, well, that’s sort of the point. Together Rosa and his director, fellow Central Saint Martins grad Harry Freegard, have adapted Waters’s OTT, “pope of trash” style for today through their previous films and roles as muses to fellow Londoners Rottingdean Bazaar. Rosa’s film for #GucciFest is a kitschy road trip that translates the tongue-in-cheek aesthetic of his designs into dialogue and visuals. It’s bizarre, funny, outrageous—six minutes of pure LOLs! The mood complements Rosa’s garments. An expert knitter and crocheter, he makes vibrant pieces that send up gender norms and fashion traditions. Make special note of his truly wild ruffle creations mid film—and place some bets on which celebrity wears them first.
Emerald by Rui
Parsons MFA graduate Rui Zhou explores the magical aspect of fashion in her new film, Emerald. Written as a parable, the short features a rabbit with an emerald eye as its protagonist. Other animals obsess over the rabbit and its mystical powers, and seeing the effect it has over the animal kingdom, the rabbit aims to bake a cake with an emerald inside to share the beauty with a cast of animal friends. The creatures are played by human models wearing layered bodysuits and tops from Zhou’s collections. “I really like a peaceful world—a very soft, gentle emotion,” Zhou told Vogue earlier this year. The film and her subtle, interlocking pieces send that message. So many bodysuits on the market overtly objectify the body inside them. With subtle metal closures and translucent materials, Zhou’s second skins telegraph tenderness. What a nice emotion for now.
Joy by Ahluwalia
The London-based designer Priya Ahluwalia was an LVMH Prize finalist in 2020 and has gained international acclaim for her sustainably made designs. In her short film, Ahluwalia brings together British communities that reflect her own, from Nigeria, Jamaica, and India. Directed by Samona Olanipekun, the five-minute short spotlights more than a dozen people in England discussing how their cultures intersect and inform their lives. Ahluwalia’s thoughtful clothes provide a through line between scenes of female boxers and direct-to-camera interviews, offering a wardrobe of upcycled materials that honors her own story as a young woman raised in South London.
Collina Land by Collina Strada
Hillary Taymour one-upped her spring 2021 video by creating a video game for her latest collection. The interactive platform she created with photographer Charlie Engman and multimedia artist Freeka Tet turns many of Taymour’s favorite models into avatars who navigate a hyperrealistic terrain, collecting points and engaging in live game chats along the way. It’s as psychedelic as any Collina Strada film, giving Taymour’s deadstock and upcycled garments a virtual life. Her vibrant aesthetic and inclusive message pairs nicely with the themes of Gucci’s own films, celebrating individuality, inclusivity, and dressing up—even if you have nowhere to go.
What’s that noise? Likely the deafening cheers of Harry Styles stans everywhere, as they wake up to their pinup making Vogue history. The former One Direction star is the first male to ever grace the magazine’s cover, in its 127-year existence.
The 26-year-old performer was interviewed by fellow Brit Hamish Bowles for the interview that goes alongside his cover shoot, which was styled by Camilla Nickerson and lensed by Tyler Mitchell. In the feature, Styles talks about everything from his music and meditation to his solo career and defying boundaries, traditions, and stereotypes when it comes to his fashion picks.
He says, “Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with. What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away. When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play.
“I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. It’s like anything—anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself. There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means—it just becomes this extended part of creating something.”
Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director who has long-since credited Styles as one of his muses, added: “He’s really in touch with his feminine side because it’s something natural. And he’s a big inspiration to a younger generation— about how you can be in a totally free playground when you feel comfortable. I think that he’s a revolutionary.”
Speaking about how he parlayed his clean cut boyband fame into a critically-praised solo career, Styles waxed lyrical: “I think with the second album I let go of the fear of getting it wrong and…it was really joyous and really free. I think with music it’s so important to evolve—and that extends to clothes and videos and all that stuff. That’s why you look back at David Bowie with Ziggy Stardust or the Beatles and their different eras—that fearlessness is super inspiring.”
Adding a sweet note to the shoot, Styles enlisted his sister Gemma to appear in an image alongside him—so they could surprise his mum! Sharing the picture on Instagram, the eyewear designer lauded her brother, saying: “The first man to appear solo on the cover of American Vogue. So proud of who you are. Thanks for asking me.”
TAKE A STAND I – In the midst of a fraught election season, we asked 18 artists of color to envision a new kind of political poster. The messages were approved by @fordjourstudio, @kara_walker_official, @glennligon, @st__francis, @hallchase, and @woodyothello. View below to see the artists’ works, and click the link in bio for the full printable series.
W VOLUME FOUR, THE NEW ORIGINALS ISSUE: From a work by Kara Walker that says it all without words to Mark Bradford’s wheat-pasted rhyming triplet, each image is a unique distillation of our current moment. When there’s so much at stake, what do you stand for?
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