Halston looking through the window of a 1976 display, photo by Malan Studio Victor Hugo created the Halston store window displays on Madison Avenue starting in the mid 1970s. Warhol called it street theater, New York magazine called it mayhem, and Hugo simply called the windows his "weekly paintings." Most themes leaned toward the Grand Guignol, with mannequins being used as a site for fantasy, melodrama, and violence.
Just like the style of brutal eroticism in 1970s fashion photography (Bourdin, Newton, Von Wangenheim, Turbeville, etc), many NYC retail windows echoed the same sentiment. Along with Hugo, there was Candy Pratts Price for Bloomingdales and Robert Currie for Bendel's, who all constructed bold narratives that asked more questions than they answered.
Luxury and terror in a fashion image: an unlikely or now obvious pairing? Often appealing nonetheless. Shock and seduction as an allure to purchase.
Parka by Irving of Montreal at Saks, Vogue, Dec
1950 | Waterproof mittens by White Stag at Lord & Taylor,
"zippered so you can keep mittens on, still get at cigarettes, tow
tickets," Vogue, Dec 1950
"Paris, this winter, gives a new ballet flavour to the ski-run. Offers: a new look to legs, in pants of black gabardine, tight as tights. A new look to ankles, in red leather straps laced high like a dancer's." Carven, Vogue, Dec 15, 1946
"White rawhide thong (like those in your boots) threads the sack-neck of this black nylon parka; easily pulled on, pulled close." Vogue, Dec 1950
Nylon jacket with removable hood by White Stag at Bloomingdales, Vogue, Dec 1950 | Parka with emblems of Swiss cantons by Irving of Montreal at Saks, Vogue, Dec 1950
"A lift from a Swiss milkman's jacket" by Picard of Sun Valley Idaho at Bloomingdales, Vogue, Dec 1950
Alpaca cape coverall "worn between runs. With collar that's almost a hood." Vogue, Jan 1947
Vogue Paris, 1953? | Lanvin ensemble, Vogue Paris, Jan 1938