New York: Fifth Avenue Window-Shopping Tour (Part 2)
By Theadora Brack
Let’s continue our window-shopping tour de force up Fifth Avenue. I’ll also include a few photographs taken by Anne Simpkins for Harper’s Bazaar in 1943. So grab your sunglasses, trainers and spare bills for salted pretzels and soda pops. Meet me at 30 Rock!
What’s new on the Avenue?
Here’s the squeal: Zara’s new flagship at 666 Fifth Avenue recently opened with a hi-tech, futuristic look, while Massimo Dutti will jump to Zara’s former 691 Fifth Avenue location. Meanwhile, the Elizabeth Arden Salon scooted to 663 Fifth Avenue, and MAC Cosmetics moved into E.A.’s former digs at 691 Fifth Avenue, across from the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Whew!
This is the very spa where Anaïs Nin wrote, “The church bells are ringing while I sit at Elizabeth Arden’s on Fifth Avenue with my face covered by a mask, and I almost come near God again.” Now that’s a beauty treatment!
1. Henri Bendel 712 5th Avenue (at 56th Street)
First stop! Henri Bendel and its “street of shops” made the Fifth Avenue scene in 1990. Now saddling two historic buildings (the Rizzoli Building and the Coty Building), classic French glass windows by René Jules Lalique were recently discovered during the redo. Commissioned by perfumer Francois Coty in 1908, don’t you dare walk by the three-story Art Nouveau masterpiece without a little glass gazing!
We have the late, great style icon (and store president for three decades) Geraldine Stutz to thank for giving Andy Warhol his first break when she hired him as a shoe illustrator. Stutz was also the first to feature European designers like Jean Muir and Sonia Rykiel.
Fit for a king: Heck, even the Duke of Windsor shopped here! He also stored his New York wardrobe in the Bendel’s fur vault. Now that’s regal service!
As Geraldine Stutz would often quip, “What is the difference between mere fashion and true style? Fashion says, me too. Style says, only me.”
2. Tiffany & Co. 727 5th Avenue (at 57th Street)
Golly, gee—glam! Get ready for your close-up because we’re approaching another sweet cinematic backdrop, perfect for your social media profile portraits. Created by Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young in 1837, Tiffany & Company made the big frog leap from 37th Street to 57th Street in 1940.
Here is where Holly Golightly bid farewell to the “mean reds,” while lingering over sticky buns and window-shopping. Fanatics of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” book and flick still pay homage, so you might have to wait in line for the picture-perfect shot.
3. Bergdorf Goodman 54 5th Avenue (at 58th Street)
Overlooking Central Park, Herman Bergdorf and Edwin Goodman’s flagship opened during the 1920s. This season its vitrines salute the “Schiaparelli & Prada, Impossible Conversations” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Meet my favorite designer. Mad about Dada and Surrealism, Elsa Schiaparelli worked with artists like Jean Cocteau, Dali, and Man Ray. A publicity maven, Schiaparelli would launch her collections with circus performances, complete with prancing elephants and daredevil tightrope walkers outside her “Schiap” shop at Place Vendôme in Paris, Oh, la la.
Film buffs: Do keep your eyes peeled also for the Plaza Hotel at 750 5th Avenue and Central Park South. Located next to Bergdorf Goodman, “The Way We Were” is just one of the many movies to feature the photogenic hotel.
Wiping away the salty tears in my eyes, “Yes, Hubbell, your girl is lovely!” Just thinking of the film gets me all emotional!
After a much-needed crying jag (and pretzel break) at the “Abundance” fountain, let’s now hotfoot it to Barneys. Rebounding just got easier!
4. Barneys New York 660 Madison Avenue (at 61st Street)
Come hither! After Haberdasher Barney Pressman pawned off his wife’s engagement ring for $500 (with her consent!) and forty discounted suits, he opened Barneys during the roaring twenties.
“No Bunk, No Junk, No Imitations” was his shop’s slogan! A cross between P.T. Barnum and Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., Barney hired barrel-clad gals to give away matchbooks stamped with the store’s logo and address. Talk about a store-wide campaign with legs!
Keep on strolling!
Now let’s wind it back with Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada at Bergdorf Goodman. Created by David Hoey, the surreal vitrines doff a “bachi” to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s springtime Costume Institute exhibition.
Pinching once again from “Schiap,” “If the wind catches your hat and tantalizingly blows it farther and farther away, you must run quicker than the wind if you want to retrieve it!”
Okay, let’s get surreal!