Looking like a New York Christmas…

Sumptous flower boxThis beautiful planter outside a NYC home is filled with the greenery of the season and accented with branches of bright red ilex berries.   I suspect much of the plantings are there in all the seasons.

 Elegant neighborsElegant neighbors along on of my favorite upper east side blocks. This is clearly not the DIY decorations that happen at my house. If you are lucky enough to live in these houses, your ‘people’ do the decorating, right?

Christmas Cardinals at AnthropologieA few blocks away, the folks at Anthropolgie have created a charming Christmas window with birds of a feather on stylized birch like branches.

Cardinals have their close upThese were made right at the store which is in an old (basement level) movie theater space. In fact, I saw “Gosford Park” in that theater! The display team comes in several times a year to do the displays which I always make a point to see and am never disappointed.

Anthropologie Hand-made metal sreamersGarlands or streamers were made from wire and feather shaped pieces of metal, along with cones and pods. They were hung from parallel white painted branches and formed a shimmering screen.

Anthropologie Feather trimmed treeA large (artificial) tree was trimmed with lights and large goose feathers, hung like ornaments. These were all white, but wouldn’t they be pretty if they were painted or dyed all sorts of brilliant colors?

Anthropologie pine conesInside the main door, mannequins stood among these huge pine cones, – again hand made from metallic paper/cardboard pieces. Lots of clever imagination at work at Anthropologie.

 Armory Birch monolithThe sumptuous spaces at the Park Avenue Armory have been transformed with huge birch bark monoliths, encircled with robust garlands of magnolia. Mixed garlands of magnolia, huge pine cones and other pods, highlighted with birch bark play off the magnificent paneling of the architectural details.

Cartier Lights BowDoes anyone remember the old Cartier classical building with its’ red holiday ribbon wrapping the building with a big red bow? About 5 or 6 years ago, it became a huge red ribbon of LED lights. Now Cartier has moved to the GM building and this red bow is the latest incarnation. Maybe its time for a new idea?


Posted in Christmas holidays, Christmas Trees, Christmas wreaths, floral design ideas, floral designs, holiday design ideas, Holiday wreaths, New York City | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wreathed in greenery

Rose angel in a wreathThe first week of December always finds the talented ‘wreath elves’ of the Berkshire Botanical Garden hard at work on creations for the BBG Holiday Marketplace, held on the first weekend of December. This adorable, insouciant rose angel was the signature ornament this year. Made from a dried white rose, skeletonized leaves, boxwood, and an acorn, it will last long after the wreath has disappeared.

Berkshire Botanical Garden  wreath elves at workThe best workshops always know how to set things up. Easel-backed boards are complete with hook for hanging wreaths in progress.  It is a pleasure to come and work in such beautifully organized surroundings.

Wreath ingredientsTables around the room hold ribbons, trimmings, pods, berries, various evergreens, beautiful (felled by storm-damage) budded branches of magnolia and plus colored branches of cornus. Candyland for designers!!

 BBG MarketplaceIn a tent adjacent to the room, cast off windows, shutters and doors become the staging for the creations.

The Editor's wreath with maple leavesGolden wreath with applesGolden Hops and ribbons wreathLarge 16″ wreaths like these call out for elaborate creations filled with the bounty of the season.  It is fun to see the endless imagination at work to put them together.  Each wreath has a tag with the designer’s name.  I hope we don’t have to make house calls to repair them!

Wreath with a Silver BowWreath with a silver bow and holiday greensA 12” wreath goes from simple to complex using hemlock cones, ilex berries, incense cedar, holly and juniper.

The Editor's scarlet ribbon wreathThe Editor’s imaginative use of scarlet ribbon, birch bark and pinecones and dried maple leaves on the branch and scarlet yarrow makes a striking wreath.

Square Wreath on a Star ShutterSquare boxwood wreaths were also transformed. Golden hops, freeze-dried and scored limes and another layer of interesting greens transform the basic square. It looks particularly charming on the shutter with its’ star cut-out.

 Traditional Square WreathSimplicity itself is compelling in this more traditional elegant square with white berry clusters, silvery eucalyptus and silvery ribbon.

Square Wreath on EdgeTurning the idea on its edge, this boxwood wreath is full of ilex, juniper, holly, pine cones and eucalyptus, wound through with an open-work gold ribbon from Michael’s Crafts.

BBG holiday saleBy the time you read this, everything will have been sold to foster the wonderful programs and gardens at the Berkshire Botanical Garden.  Kudos to the BBG!


Posted in Berkshire Botanical Garden, Christmas holidays, floral design ideas, floral designs, holiday design ideas, Holiday wreaths | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Looking at Bergdorf’s

Tiffany Building 57th & Fifth AvenueRecently I saw a statistic that 77% of Americans did not want to see Christmas decorations or hear Christmas music or see holiday ads until after Thanksgiving. So much for the customer is always right. Mid-November sees the unveiling of the stunning Christmas displays around 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. Only a video could really capture what happens on the façade of Tiffany’s flagship store as lights dim and shift. The giant Swarovski crystal star suspended over the intersection looks part of the display.

Sculpture Alexander McQueenMy annual much-anticipated pilgrimage to Bergdorf Goodman’s Christmas windows comes as soon as they are unveiled. No one does it better. This year’s theme is: Inspired. They sure inspire me! This window is “Sculpture” with the appearance of huge ice sculptures surrounding the Alexander McQueen coat.

Music Ed GreeneHundreds of perfectly polished brass instruments form a musical collage behind a sleek dress by Ed Greene in the window called “Music”. Can you hear the oom-pah-pah?

DanceOn 58th Street, “Dance” is centered on a ballerina, revolving like an old-time music box, against a tableaux of meshing gears repeating her twirls.

Architecture Julien McDonaldThe blue and white schemes of old building plans take on many forms in the window called “Architecture”.  All the buildings and architectural details are constructed from paper plans. Aficionados can go to the BG blog about all the windows, where the pictures are much clearer than mine – taken with the windows open? Do they open?


Architecture Blue HairIn this view, her fall of almost royal blue hair carries out the scheme. These fascinating holiday windows emphasize cultural inspiration of all kinds. Of course, its all about selling the blue and white dress by Julien McDonald.

 Painting Into the Wings“Painting” was hardest to photograph, with its mannequin (in Dolce & Gabbana) on the horse, literally dwarfed by an 18’ artist’s mannequin used for figure drawing. At this angle you see how beautifully finished the windows are even into the wings.

Painting details WAFAWhite on white on white still gave huge impact. The only color was the small painted area of canvas.

Architecture Details


Every corner contains painstaking details which reward intensive scrutiny.




 Cartography Details CalligraphyGem-like small windows featured cartography and calligraphy.

Literature Alice & OliviaLiterature VermillionHands down my holiday favorite was the vermillion window “Literature”.  The dress, front and center, is by Alice & Olivia, surrounded by fabric portraits, books and even a giant puffy typewriter.  Books and fashion in holiday red!

 Literature George Eliot in NeedlepointBooks are open with quotes like “You cannot open a book without learning something” and  “A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation” (Saki). Walls are covered with many literary portraits of suthors from Sophocles to Louisa May Alcott in macramé, needlepoint, stiching, tapestry and applique.

 Theater Julien McDonaldBroadway on Fifth – “Theater” is a tour de force of specially commissioned neon with a sexy dress by Julian McDonald. Bright Lights Big City Holiday Inspired. In my next life, designing these windows is the job I want!!


Posted in Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows, Christmas holidays, New York City, sculpture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments