Barneys goes Gaga with stunning VM

Luxury specialty retailer Barneys New York has gone Gaga with its latest holiday season theme.

The upmarket department store has converted the entire 5500sqft fifth floor of its Madison Ave mens store to a Lady Gaga’s Workshop installation featuring vibrantly colourful artworks, unique Lady Gaga-designed or inspired products and created a truly unique gift-giving environment.

(Scroll to the bottom of this story for a video showing the workshop and Monday’s night’s opening ceremony).

It’s partnered with the Born This Way Foundation, a charity established by singer Lady Gaga and her mother focusing on youth empowerment and equality by addressing issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development.

Gaga’s Workshop is a take on Santa’s iconic workshop, the project realised through the eyes of creative talents Lady Gaga, Nicola Formichetti, and Eli Sudbrack and avaf, in collaboration with Barneys’ creative director Dennis Freedman.

The Workshop is divided into elaborate structural shops, such as a jewellery shop created out of an oversized Lady Gaga-turned-spider and a boudoir in the shape of a giant wig. Working with the Barneys New York team, Eli Sudbrack and avaf have designed giant sculpture installations as well as signature artwork which features on special holiday shopping bags and packaging.

There are eight stations in Gaga’s Workshop, reflecting the product categories available for sale, as well as a number of iconic references to Lady Gaga herself. Stations include: Candy Shop, Toy Shop, Closet (for apparel and accessories), Library (for books, CDs, media, and paper goods), Gallery (for collectibles and specialty items), Jewelry, Boudoir (for candles and cosmetics), and Holiday.

Barneys New York is donating 25 per cent of sales from all items featured in Gaga’s Workshop to the foundation.

The workshop concept is extended into window displays and online where an interactive website has been created. 

Barneys is famous for its stunning window designs and each holiday season’s creative is awaited with excitement by retail enthusiasts, designers and New York residents alike.

In addition to conceptualising a Gaga holiday destination within Barneys New York, Eli Sudbrack and avaf also designed a giant facade that has taken over the 60th Street entrance to the store. Designed to create the illusion of walking into the mouth of a giant monster-like Lady Gaga, this entrance is the gateway to the workshop.

“Gaga’s Workshop is the largest and most completely realised holiday project ever undertaken in the history of Barneys New York and we are beyond thrilled to present it this season,” said Mark Lee, Barneys’ CEO.

“We hope to raise significant funds to benefit the Born This Way Foundation and we thank Lady Gaga, Nicola Formichetti, Eli Sudbrack and avaf, as well as all of the collaborators and vendors who have worked so hard to make this holiday initiative come to life.”

Items for sale – ranging from studded leather motorcycle jackets for infants to Gaga-on-a-motorcycle ornaments – purposely run the gamut of price and aim to appeal to many ages, observed Samantha Critchell of AP.

“I wanted it to be a wide spectrum,” Gaga said.

In the lolly shop section there are cookies shaped like little monsters (Gaga’s affectionate term for her fans) and rock candy necklaces, while inside the boudoir, sort of a tent shaped like a wig, there are hair bows and hologram-effect nail polishes. For toys, there are plush monsters riding a train, and the jewellery store has chunky necklaces and bracelets from Erickson Beamon and Pamela Love.

Underneath an oversized, archlike spider, shoppers can get $US4000 ($A4,065) heel-less booties or $US50 heart-shaped sunglasses. There are special editions of Roald Dahl’s aforementioned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as well as James and the Giant Peach and Matilda, wrote Citchell.

The Barneys New York historical Madison Avenue windows have been transformed into a series of Gaga-themed tableaux as part of the workshop experience this US holiday season. Lady Gaga’s vision for the Madison windows was to create individual, magical holiday environments inspired by music, art and fashion.

“For my first ever window designs, it’s an honor to be collaborating with the prestigious Barneys’ brand and its creative history,” said Nicola Formichetti.

Working with renowned hairstylist and Gaga collaborator, Bob Recine, the Gaga’s Boudoir window is a surrealist take on Lady Gaga’s own personal boudoir. Constructed entirely out of hair, the room is filled with iconic references of hair styles and fashions from past Gaga moments.

The Gaga’s Crystal Cave window sees display space turned into a mysterious ice world. The window is made up of light installations and a mermaid sculpture reminiscent of Gaga.

The Gaga Machine window plays with the idea of Lady Gaga physically morphing into a machine. In this case the machine being a motorcycle in the shape of Lady Gaga’s body.

Gaga Constellation features a new interactive short film by director Tim Richardson and creative director Nicola Formichetti.

Gaga’s Workshop was opened by the star herself on Monday morning (US time), and traded through the night, the first time Barney’s has remained open 24 hours. The Workshop will trade until January 2.


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