There’s a memorable dinner party in the window at the northern wedge of the Flatiron building, where Broadway angles across Fifth Avenue. The “hosts” who put it all together are three Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design (VPED) seniors taking Advanced Store Window Presentation class with Professor Anne Kong.
Riffing on postmodern installation artist Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party,” a female mannequin wears the place settings, amid a gallery of icicles. The feast is at her feet.
“We were challenged to create a holiday window about tradition and celebration to rival the flash and dash of Bergdorf Goodman’s window displays,” says Prof. Kong. “The students, Alexandra D’Alleva, Joseph Klaus and Yoo Jung Lee, were inspired by the traditions and cultural celebrations that take place around holiday times. They wanted to capture the spirit of New York and how we are all connected.”
The feast includes fruit cake, gingerbread, cider, and all types of cups, glasses and goblets. There is wooden driftwood with candles and holly for Yule in St. Lucia, unity cup with fruit for Kwanzaa, latkes and dreidels for Hanukkah.
Rather than taking a traditional approach to setting the table, the students chose to outfit a mannequin to represent the table itself, donning plates as the skirt, table napkins as the bodice, and a table cloth as a train.
Her necklace is constructed of flatware: knives, forks and spoons attached to a chain. On the tip of a fork there’s a mouthful of caviar diamonds.
“The scene abounds with elements that are reminders of the different celebrations that represent the people of New York,” says Prof. Kong. “I go home at night and I can tell whether it’s Ramadan or a Hindu celebration by the lights or the projections of the stars on their homes. But food closely ties to the specific celebrations that touch us at holiday time.”
Does Bergdorf tell Goodman? “The display’s secret weapons are the eye candy that attracts the shopper or viewer and makes them linger. The students used Icy iridescent lucite stalagtites dropping from the ceiling. They’ve been in storage, donated by a faculty member,” says Prof. Kong.
The illuminated fiber optics threading through the mannequin’s hair creates another dramatic visual. The students deconstructed a lamp to create it.
“We were using every tool in the shop!” says Prof. Kong. Students used a saw, a grinder, and a drill press to convert the flatware into a jewelry piece.
The project, a collaboration between Sprint, Cheryl McGinnis Gallery and FIT, will be on view through mid-January.
The FIT community is also encouraged to visit the Harlem Holiday Window 2017 project, window displays of local businesses that span the corridor of Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard between 117th and 127th streets.
Photos provided by Anne Kong