On Friday, Barneys New York announced its new collaboration with artist and muse Daphne Guiness that will coincide with the opening of the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pieces from Daphne’s couture collection will be on display in the Madison avenue flagship windows along with looks from Isabella Blow’s collection that Daphne acquired after her death.
Ms. Guinness’s six-week collaboration with Barneys will include a short film that provides a glimpse into her life, and several experiential moments that use the famed Barneys windows as a backdrop. Most notably, Ms. Guinness will dress for the Met’s Costume Institute Gala in the windows of the Madison Avenue flagship. It comes as no surprise that she plans to wear a look by Alexander McQueen, the designer who once counted her among his greatest muses.
I loved hearing about the idea of performance art in store windows because I have been thinking about interactive store windows for awhile now predicting that they would become the next big thing in retail.
One of my good friends introduced me to Klaus Nomi several years ago and told me about the old Fiorucci days in the late 70′s where characters would dance in the store’s windows as a performance art piece. The 1976 opening of Fiorucci next to Bloomingdale’s on 59th street in NYC introduced the Italian brand to American trendsetters during the disco age. Customers such as Marc Jacobs and Cher would rub shoulders with Jacki Onassis and Lauren Bacall. You might see drag queen and shop keeper Joey Arias serving the King of Spain or Calvin Klein and Gloria Vanderbilt buying some jeans. Other employees included Madonna’s brother Christopher Ciccone, Terry Jones of i-D magazine fame and Oliviero Toscani who shot many of the famous Benetton advertising. Known as the “daytime Studio 54″, it attracted trendsetters from Andy Warhol to a young Madonna. The store was known for their live windows which drew crowds day and night displaying some of NYC’s finest avant garde performance artists.
I was mesmerized when I first saw this on youtube and had a feeling that it would be coming around again in the retail experience. It seemed only a matter of time as stores have progressively gotten more creative with their windows using interactive and digital technology. Live personal interactive windows would naturally be the next step.
I also ran across a live performance art window that Topshop created last summer where Japanese artist Que Houxo created a piece in their store window while people watched outside.
Now that Barneys is jumping on board, Im curious to see if this type of window display becomes a trend in the near future. I have a feeling it will and I can’t wait to see how stores interpret this idea into their retail experience.