How Much is That Dali in the Window?

What does a Surrealist window display look like? Salvador Dali, the late Catalan artist known for his iconic mustache and vaudevillian eyes as much as his mind-bending works, relished the shock and awe his antics provoked. And the prim ladies window shopping at Bonwit Teller were shocked indeed when on this day in 1939, Dali came flying through the glass of the store’s front window.

Given his artistic shenanigans, it wasn’t a stretch to think Dali was giving the crowd a taste of his performance art. It turns out that crashing through a window, stuntman style, was actually an accident. Read More »

Tiffany & Co.: Where a Girl Can Live on Dreams and Diamonds Alone

It’s Audrey; it’s Fifth Avenue; it’s New York; it’s the American dream in a little blue box. Tiffany & Co. has graced the dreams of many a girl, not just the famous one in pearls and a little black dress enjoying her morning repast while gazing wide-eyed at the impeccable window designs. Doors to the famous flagship store at 5th and 57th, with 24-foot ceilings in a main showroom unobstructed by columns, opened as stealthily as a jewelry caper on this day in 1940. Tiffany’s owners did not make a big fuss, even though the store was an architectural feat, because the mood of the day was somber. The war was ramping up in Europe, and both their London and Paris stores were closed for business at the time.

Two adventurous young men, Charles Tiffany and John Young, wheedled some cash from their parents in 1837 to start a small “fancy goods” store, the 19th century version of a gift shop, with some stationary, those Read More »

A Shopper’s Paradise: Saks Marks a Golden Year

No one jumped out of a birthday cake. That would have been so Hugh Hefner. No one crooned Happy Birthday, as only Marilyn Monroe could have properly done. Yes, it was a party, but one that started at the tempered hour of 6:30, with the hostess fretting over an inadequate supply of fresh strawberries and endive. No tuna carpaccio canapés at this shindig. Designers, models, socialites and those few no-names who were lucky enough to snag one of the 1,000 or so tickets sold at Filene’s prices ($25, which would be only a little over $100 today) gathered on this day in 1974 for a party, exhibit and fundraiser celebrating Saks Fifth Avenue’s 50th anniversary.

The main attraction—other than celebrating 50 years of Saks—was “Women Observed,” a photography exhibition featuring fashion images from Vogue magazine over the past 50 years, including works by photographers Irving Penn and Edward Steichen. Attendees admired the homage to models, designers and artists, so many of whom are iconic of a decade and then forgotten soon after. It must have been surreal for Read More »

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