Starting with a timely "Innovations in Energy" theme, the store next enlisted local third graders from St. Philip's School and Reconciliation Outreach to invent narratives about the future of energy.
Six of the resulting stories exploring fuels as diverse as monkeys, math, dancing and kindness will be recreated in the windows. The magician breathing 3-D life into the tales is Ignaz Gorischek, Neiman Marcus' Vice President of Stores Visual, Design and Planning.
Along with local artist Larry Leathers, Gorischek has spent the last nine months building power plants that convey a captivating Willy Wonka sensibility.
Adding an innovative twist, the life-sized scenes will be connected by an 80-meter long, 30-inch wide crawl tube outfitted with 42 porthole windows (shown above).
Designed to allow visitors to live each story in the most interactive way, the clear plastic tunnel even allows them to share their own energy by dancing inside a window.
Non pint-sized patrons, meanwhile, can experience the adventure via the 16 video cameras positioned in the tube and streamed to streetside monitors.
As he works through the last stages of construction, Gorischek took a moment to talk to StyleList about this true winter wonderland.
StyleList: How many years have your worked on the Neiman Marcus holiday windows?
Ignaz Gorischek: Going on 18 years, but ten years ago we embarked on a new mission to go above and beyond people's expectations. Since then, the window unveiling has become the city's major holiday event. Last year there were over 20,000 people.
SL: Tell us about a few of your favorite past windows.
IG: Two years ago we did a robotic window with three industrial robotic arms decorating a high-tech chrome Christmas tree in the future. Another year, we sculpted a tree out of 13 vintage automobiles. It was ablaze with taillights, fenders and chrome. We are starting traditions without being traditional.
SL: Where did you get the inspiration for the tube?
IG: I'm not sure, actually. I started almost a year ago, trying to come up with something that hadn't been done. I had this idea, it looked viable and the more people I shared it with, the more enthusiastic responses I got. This is truly something that's never been done before -- to break through glass and enter the window from the inside. Kids are going to remember this for the rest of their lives, and parents, too, will feel like they're on the journey with them
SL: How many people do you have working on it?
IG: There are a lot of nuances, trying to put so much into small sets, so it has been a combined effort of 15-24 specialists: sculptures, painters, surveillance specialists, etc.
Check out another high-end department store's holiday window plans.