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Gilded Age

Enchanting as our holiday store windows are, they don’t just appear by magic. Here, a behind-the-scenes look at how the festive display in our new flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City came to be.

After months of creative and mechanical development, as well as a series of all-day (and all-night) installation shifts by our amazing, five-member visual-display team, we unveiled our Good as Gold holiday display window at the opening of the brand-new Aritzia Fifth Avenue flagship. The otherworldly scene is enhanced by the team’s new twist on a winter icon: the snowflake, here rendered as large, kinetic copper sculptures.

Informed by his fascination with optical illusions, our head designer engineered the snowflakes using two intricately cut, starburst-shaped metal pieces rotating in opposite directions. The result: a hypnotic, Escher-esque vibe. “The amount of negative and positive space, plus the shape and angle of the lines, combine to give the mesmerizing effect of blooming, radiating, and pulsating as the two layers spin,” the designer explains. The snowflakes were made using one-quarter-inch thick water-cut aluminium sheets plated in real copper, a metal chosen for its distinctive rose-gold hue. The largest flake, at four feet in diameter, was so big that a custom tank had to be built in order to plate it.

Just as breathtaking are the display’s ice-crystal and tree sculptures, which our team created together with a crew of sculptors with a background in movie-set design. The sculptures were finished with a high-gloss automotive paint, an innovative way to achieve an ultra-sleek, porcelain look. Dotted throughout the display, for texture, are gleaming ingots of varying shapes and sizes. “We weren’t just trying to recreate nature—in a way, it’s almost opposite to how they’d appear in the natural world,” the designer says. “The lustrous textures and finishes were important in making each piece a work of art, one that captures the decadence and glow of the season.” CANDY SOO