Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship unveiled its “Wonka” holiday windows Thursday night, hosted in partnership with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
“Wonka,” which stars Timothée Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant, Keegan-Michael Key and Sally Hawkins, tells the story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka. The movie opens Dec. 15.
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In addition to the colorful and whimsical windows featuring oversized candies and chocolates, Bloomingdale’s has transformed its 1,600-square-foot Carousel space into a world inspired by “Wonka,” encompassing fashion accessories, ready-to-wear and exclusive products.
The unveiling, which was open to the public, was hosted by Amber Ruffin, co-writer of Broadway’s “Some Like It Hot,” and writer of the upcoming “The Wiz,” with special guest Jonathan Groff.
Groff, who’s currently starring in “Merrily We Roll Along,” on Broadway, didn’t perform because it was after 6 p.m. and he said he had to get on his bicycle and ride crosstown to his performance. The evening did feature a performance by Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis (“The Phantom of the Opera”) and Broadway actor and singer Jessica Vosk (“Wicked” and “Fiddler on the Roof”).
They each sang a solo (“Home” by Lewis, and “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” by Vosk), and then did a duet, “Winter Wonderland.”
Among those standing along Lexington Avenue and watching the festivities was Olivier Bron, the new chief executive officer of Bloomingdale’s, who’s been on the job for four days. He was there with his wife and children, along with Frank Berman, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Bloomingdale’s.
“I’m so excited to welcome you this evening to our Bloomingdale’s flagship and our annual holiday window unveil,” said Matt Dunphy, vice president of stores. “This celebration is our gift to our city, and to you, our customers,” he said. “We look forward to this festive event every year and we are thrilled to welcome you back to celebrate the ‘Best Holiday Ever.'”
“I’m so excited to be there with you all for one of New York City’s greatest traditions,” said Ruffin, citing the Rockefeller Center tree and skating in Central Park. “It would not be a true New York holiday season without Bloomingdale’s gorgeous holiday windows,” she said. “There is nothing like the holiday season and a few show tunes to cut through the cold,” she said.
Taking the stage, Groff admitted, “I never buy clothes, ever. This is my thing. Maybe once every two years I will purchase clothes. This is not a lie, really they did not tell me to say this, but I will go to Bloomingdale’s to buy my clothes.” Groff said he’s having fun doing “Merrily We Roll Along,” and raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. That money goes to help people facing hardship with lifesaving medications, health care, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency financial assistance.
As for the windows themselves, one of the windows that makes up the candy storefront to Wonka’s first chocolate shop has a real milk chocolate fountain that has never been installed in a window and will run for seven weeks. A mannequin to the right of the fountain is a representation of Wonka in a purple velvet topcoat with a replica of his magical cane from the movie. Mannequins are inside the shop sipping hot chocolate and frolicking about. Both the windows showcase mannequins dressed in festive costumes made by local New York City costumers and embellished with Swarovski crystals. The walls are adorned with 80 jars of candy and swirling videos as a backdrop. There are also oversized cupcakes, candies, lollipops, cherries and a gingerbread man that are all decorated with Swarovski crystals as well.
Other windows tell one story of the magical candies Wonka invented, and there are mannequins on motors moving up and down, depicting that when you eat a particular candy, you float and hover up in the air. Another mannequin ate the “Hair Repair Eclair,” and grew magical hair.
Prior to the window unveiling was a cocktail party at The Carousel @ Bloomingdale’s. The colorful space features an exclusive gifting assortment including bags, barware and accessories, as well as holiday looks from brands such as Cinq à Sept, Sandro, Aviator Nation, Golden Goose, Ted Baker, and Piccolini NY. Overall, there are more than 300 unique products.
Following the unveiling, customers were invited to go inside the store and enjoy experiences and live activations on all the floors, such as a cabaret performance with Telly Leung and Brittney Mock, fashion illustrations by Kristen Doney, performances by Tony Yazbeck and Parsons Dance Company, performances by Preston Dugger “DJ Duggz” and Broadway Inspirational Voices Choir, a Candy Kiosk by Lady Wong, and a Candy Kiosk by Stick With Me Sweets.
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