Last month, a Fifth Avenue holiday window drew crowds of spectators, provoked heated sidewalk exchanges and caused at least one call to the police. While Bergdorf Goodman’s drew passersby into an ornately detailed world of the fantastical, the XOXO window display down the street hinged on a somewhat simpler fantasy: live young women in lingerie and the thrills of voyeurism. The models in the window were instructed to act like they were alone in their apartment, texting, painting each other’s nails and changing in and out of clothing. (What else do young women do all day?)
If a Christmas Eve expansion deal is any indication, the pop-up display appears to have been fruitful. The brand XOXO is owned by lingerie manufacturer Dreamwear, which expanded its offices at 183 Madison Avenue by 1,500 square feet. The five-year deal for a total of 11,237 square feet, brokered by FirstService Williams‘ Harry Blair, was rung in with 2010 on Friday.
While passersby of the XOXO window models would never know, Dreamwear banks most heavily on its plus-size-friendly appeal (it owns the brand Delta Burke). Both the marketing display and the company, however, share certain unifying qualities. The display elicited condemnation from those who called it blatant objectification of women as well as from religious conservatives, who saw it as part of the “war on Christmas.” (A NewsBusters piece titled “Come All Ye Faithless” leads with the XOXO display and goes on to cite a CBS Web site marketing video called “Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman,” along with internal White House debate over its traditional manger scene.) Meanwhile, in testimonials on Dreamwear’s site testifying to the lingerie’s accommodating fit, customers identify themselves as full-figured, as senior citizens and as cross-dressers. Lingerie that fits for all-what could be more in the spirit of the holiday than that?