Arguably the most luxurious department store in the city, Saks Fifth Avenue is the result of a partnership between two powerful New York City department store families: the Saks’ and Gimbel Brothers. In September 1924, Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel opened this famous chain’s flagship store in Midtown Manhattan, next door to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and across the street from the site that would become, in 1939, Rockefeller Center.
Saks’ flagship building occupies an entire city block and is decorated in the Art Deco style, inspired by the 1925 Paris Exposition. The store’s layout is divided into a series of high-end specialty shops, each highlighting individual designers of clothing, accessories and home wares. The 8th floor shoe department, 10022-SHOE, is a fantasy-inducing collection of the world’s greatest luxury shoe designers, and is named with the zip code of the surrounding neighborhood.
Though utilizing ground floor windows for elaborate product displays had become common practice by the 1920s, the flagship has since become especially famous for its window scenes, which feature entire room sets, costumes, mannequins, a wide variety of art and craft materials, video projection screens and more. Especially at Christmastime, the window displays here are a tourist attraction all on their own.