Barneys Fantasia

Adrienne Raphel at The Paris Review:


Department-store windows are a spectacle. When you look in the window, you don’t see into the storefront itself: you see a fashion-fantasia aquarium depicting a scene, like a diorama in a natural-history museum. Barneys’s longtime creative director, Simon Doonan, who joined the company as a window dresser in 1986, made the store’s windows iconically rebellious, a punk bizarrerie. Doonan put industrial tape on a nude statue of Madonna, spammed a rigorously minimalist Bottega Veneta mannequin display with dozens of Mr. Potato Head dolls, and dreamed up Dominatrix Margaret Thatcher.

Doonan’s flair marked him as the heir apparent to one of the pioneering show-window dressers of the early 1900s: L. Frank Baum. Emerald City, the glittering jewel of Baum’s Oz, is nothing if not a grand department store, one with shopwindows that are simply too dazzling for Dorothy’s unjaded sight to bear.

more here.