design:retail Announces ‘Winning Windows’ 2020 Award Recipients

design:retail has named Bloomingdale’s as the Platinum Award winner in the annual Winning Windows of New York holiday retail window competition. Macy’s Herald Square took home the second-place Gold Award, and Anthropologie Rockefeller Center was honored with the third-place Silver Award.

Now part of the Retail TouchPoints network, design:retail is proud to continue the Winning Windows legacy in 2020 — marking the 21st year of the awards program, which celebrates the art and mastery of visual merchandising by honoring excellence in holiday windows.

“As part of our ongoing integration of design:retail into the Retail TouchPoints network, we are excited to continue the annual Winning Windows program celebrating excellence in holiday windows,” said Andrew Gaffney, Editorial Director of Retail TouchPoints. “By adding design content to our portfolio of offerings, Retail TouchPoints is poised to be the go-to source for a holistic view of the retail industry, all the way from the storefronts of brick-and-mortar retail to the data and logistics of ecommerce and everything in between.”

Due to the unique circumstances of 2020, this year’s competition was judged virtually, which allowed the publications to expand its scope to include a new category — Winning Windows of North America (open to all retailers in North America). These entries competed for the Judges’ Choice Award and a PAVE People’s Choice Award.


MartinPatrick3 in Minneapolis received the inaugural Judges’ Choice Award for Winning Windows of North America, while the City of Beverly Hills’ “Holiday Glamour on Rodeo” installation was selected as the PAVE People’s Choice Award winner, determined by voting with a donation to PAVE.

Windows were judged on three sets of criteria:

  • Originality and creativity;
  • Captures the spirit of the season, entertains and delights; and
  • Professionalism, execution and technical aspects.

This year’s judges were Jessie Dowd, former Editor in Chief of design:retail and now Senior Editor of Retail TouchPoints; Anne Kong, Associate Professor, program coordinator for visual presentation and exhibition design at the Fashion Institute of Technology; and Judy Bell, Founder of Energetic Retail.

“This year, the importance of the role that store windows play is more evident than ever before,” said Dowd. “Windows serve not only as a brand extension, but also as a powerful medium of connecting with consumers via ‘positive street theater’ that can delight, transport and inspire — especially during these challenging times. Outstanding windows are part brand expression, part artfully crafted masterpiece and part human connection. The good ones tell stories, the better ones elicit an emotional response and the very best make us want to view them over and over again.”

Platinum Award: Bloomingdale’s

This year’s Bloomingdale’s windows encourage viewers to take joy in the little things that make you happy during this challenging time in New York City and all over the world. Inspired by light and the colors of Bloomingdale’s holiday campaign, each color-blocked window uses simple objects and unexpected materials to make viewers smile. The vibrant displays — dedicated to one of the themes of Give Good Cheer, Give Snuggles, Give Happy, Give Love, Give A Smile, Give Light and Give Joy — were further bolstered with movement via spinning components and blinking lights, video elements, two scented windows and uplifting music played outside the store.  (View a video of the windows experience here.)

“Bloomingdale’s highly saturated, colorful environments tickle our senses behind the glass with inspiring sentiments during the season of giving,” Kong said. “The right combination of color, light, motion and bling offers theatrical delight from window to window. An abundance of soft fuzzy plush toys cuddles our consciousness, enveloping the viewer with a sense of tactile warmth, like wearing a cozy blanket. The message suggests a smidge of self-indulgence is okay for all of us in a very tough year.”

Gold Award: Macy’s Herald Square

The theme of Macy’s windows this year is “Give. Love. Believe.” — taking the form of a heartfelt thank-you letter to New York’s first responders, essential workers, marchers for equality and colleagues who showed their grit, good humor and hopeful spirit during this tumultuous year. Depicting classic New York scenes, holiday moments, the joy of believing and unity, the windows create a feel-good moment for onlookers that is capped off by a plethora of applauding hands in an array of diverse skin tones.

“Macy’s opened its heart to the city’s first responders, essential workers and marchers for equality with messages of thanks in every language and in keeping with the theatrical spirit of New York: applauding mittens!” said Bell. “Animated in brilliant color, the high-spirited energy that we all experience in this vibrant city was expertly conveyed.”

Silver Award: Anthropologie Rockefeller Center

“Be Present” was Anthropologie’s theme for the holiday season, translated into windows at Rockefeller Center that offer a handcrafted world full of charm, whimsy and special moments to make every passerby smile. Pulling inspiration from iconic NYC places and objects, the visual team created a fanciful narrative featuring animals delivering piles of gifts in a classic yellow taxi. Exquisite attention to detail, outstanding craftsmanship and delightful storytelling engage viewers with the holiday spirt.

“Everyone can find themselves in their favorite spirit animal at Anthropologie this year,” said Kong. “The windows are caricatures, capturing the essence of a Red Grooms art installation in a candy-colored palette. The iconic NYC yellow cab overflowing with games and gifts has a whimsical, cartoonish quality as it transports an array of colorful creatures wearing cozy sweaters. The windows are like a bite of holiday candy, sweet and delicious, a treat for the eyes.”

Judges’ Choice Award: MartinPatrick3

For 55 years, Minnesota Dance Theatre has presented a magical production of Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy, but due to the pandemic, 2020 is the first year the production won’t take place. To keep the tradition alive, the dance company collaborated with MartinPatrick3 (MP3) of the North Loop. In a clever pairing of old and new, Greg Walsh, Principal at MP3, and his team have brought the street-side windows to life by weaving original Nutcracker costumes with apparel from MP3’s bespoke collections, reigniting memories of performances and holidays past. Music from the ballet accompanied the windows, providing the inspiring message that the show must go on.

“Several on the visual merchandising team who created the scenes at MartinPatrick3 actually began their careers in the windows of Dayton’s stores around the Twin Cities, under the direction of the legendary Andrew Markopoulos,” said Bell. “Today, those who walk by the windows at MP3 are reminded of the days of trips downtown to see the Dayton’s windows, reigniting treasured memories and bringing smiles to the faces of all.”

PAVE People’s Choice Award: City of Beverly Hills’ “Holiday Glamour on Rodeo” installation

The City of Beverly Hills’ “Holiday Glamour on Rodeo” installation, created by Set+Stage Creative, took home the inaugural PAVE People’s Choice Award. The voting raised a total of $1,500 benefiting PAVE student programs in 2021. PAVE provides scholarships, financial aid, design challenges and other resources for students that enable them to build successful careers in all aspects of the retail design industry.

“This year, the PAVE People’s Choice Award celebrates and recognizes extraordinary design throughout local communities outside New York,” said Kong, who is also VP of PAVE. “These hidden treasures are a source of inspiration and represent the resilience and creativity of designers during challenging times for retailers.  We were proud to invite the members of our industry to share their favorite window displays while supporting our mission to help design students everywhere.”

The Winning Windows honorees were announced on Dec. 16, 2020 during a virtual cocktail hour celebrating the winners.

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