Capitalist Christmas, 2016

Jewelry on Madison Avenue, in the 60s

Choker at Vhernier.

Sapphire set in a blue-enameled ruff edged with diamonds: what Queen Elizabeth I would wear to a New Year’s Eve party if she were alive in 2016, and had the right little black dress.  Vhernier.

Pearls and diamonds. (Chanel, maybe?)

Pearls and diamonds. (Chanel?) The thrill of window-shopping on Madison Avenue is seeing creativity and workmanship that can’t be scaled down to department stores and costume-jewelry boutiques.

Love the necklace and the swirl earrings at far left.

Love the necklace in progressively darker shades of blue, and those swirl earrings at far left. The weight of those earrings would give me a headache, but since I’m just looking …

More on Madison Avenue

Tasty shoes at Jimmy Choo.

Tasty shoes at Jimmy Choo.

Agent Provacateur rings in the New Year. What a great name for a lingerie store!

Agent Provacateur rings in the New Year. What a great name for a lingerie store!

South Park window at Barney's. They look mind-bogglingly real when they "talk."

South Park window at Barney’s. They look mind-bogglingly real when they “talk.”

Bergdorf Goodman, Fifth Avenue at 59th

Balmain evening gown at Bergdorf's.

Balmain evening gown at Bergdorf’s.

If your purse is shaped like an elephant, will you never forget it?

If your purse is shaped like an elephant, will you never forget it?

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Part of the decoration around the arches inside Bergdorf’s.

Fantastic bejeweled Christmas tree, about 12 inches tall. Bergdorf's, top floor.

Fantastic bejeweled Christmas tree, about 12 inches tall. Bergdorf’s, top floor.

Stuffed deer embellished with needlepoint. I am still trying to think why anyone would want this in their home. Bergdorf's.

Winner in the so-bizarre-I-can’t-resist-showing-you category: stuffed deer embellished with needlepoint, and non-deer fur.  Bergdorf’s.

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Enormous tree in Bergdorf’s, gray-painted paper with musical instruments for decoration.

The Bergdorf windows are spectacular, but between the glare and the gawkers, difficult to photograph.

The Bergdorf windows are spectacular, but between glare and gawkers, difficult to photograph. This one involves gorillas made out of plants (?!).

Chandeliers in Berdorf's jewelry department - cousins to the Met Opera "sputniks".

Chandeliers in Berdorf’s jewelry department – cousins to the Met Opera “sputniks”.

Tiffany, Fifth Avenue at 57th St.

Exterior of Tiffany's, with the giant "star" at Fifth Avenue and 57th St. in the left foreground. Trump Tower, where the president-elect was interviewing for cabinet posts, is at the right.

Exterior of Tiffany’s, with the giant “star” at Fifth Avenue and 57th St. at the left. The day I took this, the president-elect was interviewing for cabinet posts in Trump Tower, the glass skyscraper toward the right.

Tiffany's has the challenge of catching your eye with small pieces of jewelry rather than full-size mannequins and grass gorillas. In this window, each plate on the dining table has an exquisite piece of jewelry.

Tiffany’s challenge is to catch your eye with small pieces of jewelry rather than full-size mannequins and grass gorillas. In this window (4 feet wide?), each miniature plate displays an exquisite piece of jewelry.

Tiffany's entrance, as shown in one of Tiffany's windows.

Tiffany’s entrance, as shown in one of Tiffany’s windows. There is not actually a towering tree taking up most of the display floor.

Time Warner Center

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At this time of year, a dozen or more glowing stars hang in the three-story lobby of the Time Warner Center at Central Park West and 59th Street. They fade from one color to another in time with holiday music.

Rockefeller Center

Swarovski crystal tree topper. Behind and to the left is the Rockefeller Center tree, topped by another Swarovski crystall doodah.

Swarovski crystal tree topper from a previous year. Behind and to the left is the Rockefeller Center tree, crowned by the current Swarovski crystal topper.

Detail of Swarovski crystal tree-topper.

Detail of Swarovski tree-topper.

Trumpeters around the ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center. They're always there, and I always love them.

Trumpeters around the ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center. They’re always there, and I always love them.

Ice skaters, with Prometheus (Paul Manship) and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

Ice skaters, with Prometheus (Paul Manship) and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

New York Public Library

Can’t beat classic simplicity.

Patience or Fortitude, dressed for the holidays.

Patience, dressed for the holidays.

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  • Thanks to Iris Bell for her Black Friday tour of the two Ralph Lauren stores at Madison and 72nd Streets and the stroll down Madison Avenue to Bergdorf Goodman. A fun and fascinating day! If you’re interested in the tour, look Iris up on Facebook, or contact me and I’ll put you in touch (DuranteDianne@gmail.com).
  • All photos copyright (c) 2016 Dianne L. Durante. Ask nicely if you want to use them (DuranteDianne@gmail.com).

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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