2010 November 12

Henri Bendel's Pas De Deux

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(NEW YORK) Bendel met ballet Thursday night, as the iconic department store unveiled its holiday windows---the first of many such celebrations---inspired by The Nutcracker. Henri Bendel CEO Ed Bucciarelli and dancers from the New York City Ballet were on hand for the festivities.

“I have actually never seen The Nutcracker!” laughed the store's visual director Gilberto Santana. “I had to do all of this research, but I only saw it on video. I’m not from New York!" The main window captures Act One of the Christmas classic, with a 6-foot-tall Nutcracker and tree accessorized with mini monitors playing footage from the show. Three ballerinas also take center stage, donning Swarovski jewels and tutus. One, masked as a mouse, rocks bling from House of Lavande, Natasha Accessories, and Jennifer Behr. “It’s pretty extraordinary,” said NYCB principal dancer Charles Askegard (who, in addition to being a dancer, is also is the hubby to Candace Bushnell). “I wouldn’t want to dance with that rat hat on. That looks kind of heavy, but the bling is fantastic.”

Inside, shoppers sipped champagne while children from the New York City Ballet performed a few numbers on the second floor balcony. Then a DJ took over, playing everything from Katy Perry to “Jingle Bell Rock.” “The energy is contagious! You’re happy, there’s good music, there’s a little bit of alcohol—there’s no better way to shop,” said designer Sabina Les.

As customers worked on their holiday wish lists, they also supported a good cause: ten percent of the night’s proceeds will benefit the ballet. “We still need support, even though we’re doing well,” explained principal dancer Maria Korowski, clad in a Marc Jacobs dress. As the night came to a close, most sneaked one last peak at the Sugar Plum Fairies suspended over the atrium. The floating mannequins sport 15 different looks custom made by the New York City Ballet Costume Shop, under the direction of Marc Happel.

So how much did this holiday production cost? “More than I care to think about,” laughed Bucciarelli. “You just ruined my evening!”

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