2 déc. 2007

10 questions with Tim Wisgerhof, Artistic Director of the Saks Fifth Avenue

Tim Wisgerhof has been the Artistic Director of the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York City for 10 years. I was glad to meet him last Thursday when he graciously answered my questions surrounded by mannequins and other props in the windows team’s basement workshop.

1- How did you get this position at Saks?
I came from the New York theater where I designed costumes and fell into this by accident. It was an opportunity to come to Saks. I was first the production director for Saks and then I got promoted. Now, it’s my seventh Christmas! It’s been a great deal for both of us.

2- What’s Saks for you?
Saks is my home, my family. I have to care about what I do because I spend the majority of my time here. So, it’s at the same time both a magical and frustrating place for me.

3- What are Saks windows for you?
Each store has its own personality with windows. Saks attracts lots of people because we have wide range of prices and we are also well-situated in front of Rockefeller Center. There are 33 windows here at the flagship store and we do between 16 and 20 changes a week for windows. You can imagine how many changes we do a year!

4- What about your team?
The windows team is separated; I report to the head of the store. We are called “the kids”! I have 9 people working with me, but we hire extra people for big installations like Christmas.

5- What’s your favorite time for windows?
I love fall because there are lots of events. I also like spring because it’s a wacky time with creative windows and focuses on designers. We have more freedom then. I appreciate the Christmas windows, but it’s a lot of work, so when it’s done, I don’t even want a tree at home!

6- What are your favorite windows of the year?
I love the windows we did in April. The first ones are about paint and plastic rag. The second ones are an homage to the Italian vogue. Let’s take a look…

7- What are the events to begin next year after the holiday windows?
The holiday windows are going to last 5 weeks; they were launched November 19 with a show on Fifth Avenue. On December 26th, some windows are going to be hidden with just one word “sales”. It’s the first time we’re doing that at this time at Saks. In January, we are going to have a partnership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Then, in February, we will follow Fashion Week and have trunk shows.

8- Finally, let’s talk about these Holiday windows. When and how did you start the preparation?
We started to work on the Christmas windows one year ago. For example, I have a meeting today to talk about Christmas 2008. Since 2004, Saks has chosen the snowflakes as a symbol to celebrate Christmas. We wanted to have something different. Now, every year, the store tells something about snowflakes, trying to reinvent them. This year, we decided to talk about snow people and to have a partnership with St Jude Children’ Research Hospital.

9- How did you create the main holiday windows?
For the partnership, Saks created a book “Snow People” illustrated by Trish Burgio, so I used the book as a reference to build these windows. I tried to tell this story outside in 6 windows. They are versions of different pages of the book. I loved the blue and the circles of the book, so I took them for all the other windows and added more circles and squares. If I had to say one word for these windows, I would say painterly.

Let’s take a look at the book and some windows:

- The first window is a mix of the first pages of the book

Windows two and three...

- The fourth evokes the story of fashionistas in the stores

Window five...

- The last one looks like the final page of the book “Different is brilliant”

10- What’s the scoop for next Christmas?

We are going to work with a Canadian artist, but we still have to decide if we again want to work based on a book or to do it by ourselves. You’ll see…

I hope you had as a good time with Tim as I did.
Thanks Tim!
Thanks also to you all and see you tomorrow!

5 commentaires:

fanette a dit…

Dis donc, ça c'est intéressant et ça explique tout. Engager des artistes pour faire les vitrines...

Cécy a dit…

J'adore. Très intéressant et l'histoire des bonhomme de neige qui décident de s'habiller est très bien illustrée en vitrine. Magique leur travail. Je ramènerais bien un snowman à la maison. hi hi
Finalement l'artiste c'est comme les cuisiniers qui ne font rien à la maison, tu n'as pas envie de faire ton travail quand tu es chez toi.

Mr. Anglais a dit…

I'm leaving a token English comment in recognition of your herculean translation efforts! Interesting interview giving a human perspective to the windows process. Thanks!

Anonyme a dit…

Saks Fifth Avenue always does an amazing job - the windows are charming yet sophisticated.

Saks should be applauded for supporting St. Jude's with windows and a book.

Anonyme a dit…

Saks Fifth Avenue always does an amazing job - the windows are charming yet sophisticated.

Saks should be applauded for supporting St. Jude's with windows and a book.