This past Friday, Barneys New York, the specialty luxury retailer, holiday windows and facade of Madison Avenue were unveiled yesterday to display a BAZ DAZZLED wonderland, a collaboration with world-renowned writer/director/producer Baz Luhrmann and designer Catherine Martin. A multi-platform initiative, BAZ DAZZLED merges the iconic visual language of Luhrmann’s award-winning film work with the legendary wit and surprise of Barneys New York. Luhrmann and four-time Oscar winning production and costume designer Martin, along with the Barneys New York team under the lead of Creative Director Dennis Freedman, have taken traditional holiday themes and turned them upside down into a world of fantastical characters, enchanted environments, and luxurious, metallic textures.
The holiday windows were unveiled in a spectacular production for audiences on Madison Avenue. The street was fully transformed into interactive experience, with an extravagant theatrical performance encompassing various elements from the BAZ DAZZLED motif. The event centered around the Pentatonix, who gave a live performance of the remixed holiday carols featured in the windows. A modern dance troupe of men and women exploded on the street, followed by a team of figure skaters who performed on synthetic ice. The Luna Queen and Solar Queen emerged onto the two Juliet balconies on the second floor, and accompanied Pentatonix for an exclusive, custom-scored version of Madonna’s “Holiday.” To close out the epic performance, a drum line joined the festivities before the windows were finally revealed. The unveiling was directed in collaboration with Luhrmann, Martin, Barneys New York, and Andrew Katz.
The tradition of holiday storytelling was at the center of the collaboration, conceived by Luhrmann, Martin, and the Barneys New York creative team. In this mythical BAZ DAZZLED world, classical woodland creatures come to life in an urban environment: a contortionist b-boy elf, a wise old ‘True Owl’ who speaks the truth, a graffiti-ing squirrel who makes use of his gold spray paint through Barneys and beyond, and Celestina the ice princess, eternally skating and longing to be set free–with the whole mythical world ruled over by the Luna and Solar Queens. Inspired by Luhrmann and Martin’s extensive background in film, opera, theatre, and music, the expected becomes unexpected, the classic becomes modern, and the static comes alive in a series of live performances and interactive theater. Each window presents a snippet of these characters’ stories, expressing the Luhrmann and Martin ethos of “Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love.”
“BAZ DAZZLED has allowed us an opportunity to bring theater to Madison Avenue,” said Barneys New York Creative Director Dennis Freedman. “By integrating live performance into the windows, we are breaking the traditional mold of holiday windows for an exciting and unprecedented experience.”
Barneys New York, Luhrmann, and Martin have collaborated with breakout a cappella group Pentatonix–comprised of vocalists Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, and Mitch Grassi, vocal bass Avi Kaplan, and beatboxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola–who exclusively scored and recorded custom versions of classics for this collaboration. In addition to scoring the windows with original vocals and arrangements of classic holiday carols, Pentatonix provided actual vocals to several characters.
Costumes for the characters in the BAZ DAZZLED world have been created by designer Zaldy in collaboration with Oscar-winning production and costume designer Catherine Martin. All performance elements featured in the windows were directed in collaboration with Luhrmann, Martin, Barneys New York, and Andrew Katz.
BAZ DAZZLED MADISON AVENUE WINDOWS
— LOVE: A magical corner of Central Park is the mythical setting for the first window, which depicts a forest of 9-foot chromed mushrooms in a rainbow of colors. Elphresh the elf contorts and dances in and around his 14-foot-wide gold and bejeweled boom box, in pursuit of his impossible love, Elfemeral. The performance is scored by Pentatonix.
— BEAUTY: The Spirits of the Snow star in this window, realized by Washington-based artist Anthony Howe and voiced by Pentatonix. These handmade kinetic sculptures, previously only seen as outdoor wind machines, come to life within the window–the first time Howe’s work has been shown in an interior space. The movement of these spirited characters is entirely generated by wind machines, which sets them into mesmerizing motion.
— TRUTH: “Truth” the True Owl–an animal known for its wisdom–resides in the third window. Artist and sculptor Chris Cole has created an 8-foot-tall, 6-foot-wide steampunk talking owl which gravely speaks his words of wisdom, scored to Pentatonix’s version of Madonna’s “Holiday.”
— FREEDOM: Celestina the ice princess, imprisoned for eternity in her ice cave in our mythical tale, skates forlornly in the last window while dreaming of freedom. The performance is scored by Pentatonix.
In addition to the individual windows, the front of the Madison Avenue store has been covered in an expansive facade that brings the BAZ DAZZLED world beyond the windows. From above it all, the Solar Queen and Luna Queen sing out across Madison Avenue, stationed at two Juliet balconies built out of the second floor.
Barneys New York has worked with Luhrmann and Martin to create a range of XO Exclusively Ours, limited edition holiday gift items inspired by the mythical characters and narrative that express Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love. BAZ DAZZLED products are available now for a limited time at Chelsea Passage on the 9th floor of the Barneys New York Madison Avenue flagship location, select Barneys New York locations nationwide, and www.Barneys.com. The product assortment focuses on luxury holiday decor and gifts: a champagne sabre by Berti engraved with “Freedom, Truth, Beauty, Love;” handcrafted star-etched crystal tumblers, a knit rabbit throw by Adrienne Landau, pillows embroidered with “A Life Lived in Fear is a Life Half Lived” by Studio DKS, children’s costumes, stuffed animals and a hand-painted play tent. In addition, extraordinary items including a one-of-a-kind fur-lined sleeping bag, luxury picnic set, and more have been created in collaboration with Prada exclusively for BAZ DAZZLED.
In the spirit of the holiday season and in honor of this special collaboration, Barneys New York will donate 25% of sales from all BAZ DAZZLED Holiday products to Room to Read, a global organization that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.
Room to Read is a global organization seeking to transform the lives of millions of children in Asia and Africa by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Founded on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children, Room to Read works in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and to ensure girls have the skills and support needed to complete their secondary education. Since 2000, Room to Read has impacted the lives of nearly nine million children and aims to reach 10 million children by 2015. Learn more at www.roomtoread.org.
Pentatonix‘s new holiday album, That’s Christmas To Me, debuted at #9 on The Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, making this the second album (first one being PTX Vol. III) in a month and fourth album in less than a year to debut Top 10 on the chart. PTX has released two videos in support of the album so far, “White Winter Hynmal” and “Winter Wonderland / Don’t Worry Be Happy” ft. Tori Kelly. Additionally, the group released four music videos in support of the PTX Vol. III, “Problem”, “La La Latch”, “Papaoutai” ft. Lindsey Stirling and “Rather Be” which have been viewed over 26.5 million times. Having recently eclipsed 6.5 million subscribers and over 630 million cumulative views, the PTXOfficial YouTube page is currently the 13(th) most subscribed-to music channel, having surpassed the subscriber totals of both Avicii and Beyonce. Their music video for “Daft Punk” has recently surpassed 100 million views.
After the unveiling, guests including Baz Luhrmann & Catherine Martin, Richard & Lisa Perry, Mark Lee, Amy Sacco, Aurelie Bidermann, Dakota Fanning, Dao-Yi Chow & Maxwell Osborne of Public School, Deborra-Lee Furness, Dennis Freedman, Estelle, Giovanna Battaglia, Jessica Joffe, Kate Foley, Lily Kwong, Meryl Poster, Michael Avedon, Pat Cleveland, Simon Doonan, Victoria Justice, Wendi Deng made their way to the Central Park Zoo for an intimate dinner.