Capitalist Christmas 2017

My annual survey of amazing goods and decorations in Manhattan.

You can’t escape the Greeks (and why would you want to?)

The windows you shouldn’t miss are at Louis Vuitton – Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, and Madison Avenue at 60th Street. Looks like Santa Claus, yes?

Louis Vuitton window, 57th Street at Fifth Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

It’s the Hercules Farnese!

Herculese Farnese, later copy of a work of the 4th (?) century B.C. Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikipedia

And Mrs. Claus:

Louis Vuitton window, 57th Street at Fifth Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

She’s the Sleeping Ariadne.

Sleeping Ariadne, copy of a Greek work of the 2nd century B.C. Photo: Wknight94 / Wikipedia

These ancient sculptures have been famous since their rediscovery in the Renaissance. I get a kick out of seeing both of them in the Portrait of Charles Crowle by Pompeo Batoni (ca. 1761-1762), meant to remind us that Crowle went on the Grand Tour and soaked him up some culture.

I’m not so good at identifying animal sculptures, but I’m guessing Santa’s out-of-control reindeer has a Baroque inspiration.

Louis Vuitton on Madison Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Madison Avenue

I don’t secretly yearn to spend $100,000 on a holiday ensemble, but Madison Avenue in December boosts my spirits like a rocket. From 59th to 72nd, the flagship stores of the world’s most famous designers display dramatic holiday dresses whose sole purpose is to make women look stunningly beautiful. It’s a pleasure to study the textures, colors, and ingenuity of design, even on a mannequin rather than a real woman. If I were going to splurge on a party dress, this gold lame number would be it.

Madison Avenue in the 60s.

And to go with it? So many choices.

Diamond fireworks: necklace, earrings, and ring at Hueb, Madison Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Jewelry at Fred Leighton, Madison Avenue. Love the tassels (so unusual!), but with gold lame, I might have to go with the dripping emeralds. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Jewelry on Madison Avenue in the 60s: I love that asymmetrical pair of sun / moon earrings on the left, although I couldn’t wear them for more than 5 minutes without getting a headache. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Vintage Van Cleef and Arpels. L’Etoile Royale, Madison Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Or keep it simple? The Captain America bracelet: “When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree by the river of truth, and tell the whole world ‘No, you move.’ ”

At Chanel, Madison Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Rockefeller Center and Midtown

Fountain decorations on Sixth Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

When you can’t find a taxi, but you want that feeling that you’re in control of two of them? And ouch, my toes hurt just looking at these. In a store facing the ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

One of the Tiffany windows, Fifth Avenue at 57th Street. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Interior (lower level) of Trump Tower, Fifth Avenue at 56th Street. The wall behind is a waterfall. Wallerfall. Waffleter. Working on that.

Trump Tower, lower level. Fifth Avenue at 56th Street. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Radio City at Rockefeller Center. I should add seeing the Rockettes to my (very long) to-do list. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

 

Flags around the skating rink at Rockefeller Center. They do shimmer so. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Paul Manship’s Prometheus and the tree at Rockefeller Center. The skating rink is empty while the zamboni does its thing. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Time Warner Center

Love these lights.

Time Warner Center, intersection of 59th Street, Broadway, and Central Park West / Eighth Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Time Warner Center, intersection of 59th Street, Broadway, and Central Park West / Eighth Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Time Warner Center, intersection of 59th Street, Broadway, and Central Park West / Eighth Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Late entry: the irresistible Mrs. Claus

At Dennis Basso, Madison Avenue. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

Parting thought

From a series of windows at Bloomingdale’s that’s tied in to the upcoming movie on P.T. Barnum. The one quote that resonated with me: “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”

From the Bloomingdale’s windows, Lexington Avenue at 60th Street. Photo copyright © 2017 Dianne L. Durante

More

  • Last year’s Capitalist Christmas post is here.
  • The albums for earlier years are on Facebook: 2015, 2014, 2013 (part 1 and part 2),  2011, and 2010. I seem to have skipped 2012. Flipping through all of them, it appears I have a few obsessions ….

About Dianne L. Durante

I’m an independent scholar and freelance writer /lecturer on art and art history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are *Innovators in Sculpture¸* a survey of 5,000 years of art in two hours, and *Monuments of Manhattan,* a videoguide app by Guides Who Know that’s based on my book *Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide.*

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