Baz Luhrmann’s latest work involved ice dancers, opera singers, stilt walkers, a capella singers and breakdancing elves. No, it wasn’t a musical adaptation of Dr. Zhivago, it was the grand opening of Barneys holiday windows Thursday evening at the store’s flagship Madison Avenue storefront.
The windows bear simple captions—”Love,” “Truth,” “Freedom,” “Love”—but display outlandish characters, including “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,” according to the press release.
Breakout a capella group Pentatonix performed Christmas carols to awestruck spectators, and as the majestic Luna and Solar Queens performing an operatic cover of Madonna’s “Holiday” from the balconies above, confetti cannons fired into the air.
After the unveiling, guests were whisked over to the Central Park Zoo, where the luxe department store hosted an equally over-the-top dinner party designed by Lurhmann and his wife and collaborator, Catherine Martin. (The couple also designed a selection of “Baz Dazzled” holiday gifts.)
How grandiose? Guests dined on fresh lobster salad and fried chicken diablo under a canopy of branches and floating candlesticks, as wood nymphs strode by on stilts and a man dressed as a fox carved an ice sculpture. As the evening progressed, Pentatonic hopped up on a table and performed an inspiring medley of Beyoncé songs.
“This is kind of low-key,” Luhrmann told the New York Times, in comparison to the holidays at his home. “We go all out for Christmas. C. M. takes it very seriously.”
Martin (C. M. to friends) added,“I’ll probably [steal] a few of the props from tonight.”