Mario Batali’s decapitated head is surrounded by a garnish of Crocs.
On Tuesday, Barneys unveiled its much-anticipated food-themed holiday windows. Inscribed with the command “Have a Foodie Holiday,” the three tableau offer an assemblage of 70 Food Network “personalities,” chefs, and assorted luminaries, represented by giant, compellingly grotesque figures and smaller, heavily stylized portraits. There’s also a vitrine dedicated to an Illy coffee fantasia that stars a mannequin clad in a fabulous gown made largely from silver espresso capsule bags.
The first window, called “Innovators,” renders influential chefs and cooks like Thomas Keller, James Beard, Jamie Oliver, and Julia Child as steam wafting from a pot labeled “Revolutionary Stew.” Little portraits of similarly groundbreaking chefs like Grant Achatz, Eric Ripert, and April Bloomfield are strung around the periphery. Weirdly, Craig Claiborne is absent from the proceedings.
The next two windows are segregated by gender. The men are represented by Anthony Bourdain, Daniel Boulud, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, and Wolfgang Puck, who congregate around the severed head of Mario Batali. Ribbons of mustard, ketchup, and sauces spatter the window like ejaculate; it’s as if Lord of the Flies had its way with The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover at a frat party.
The women’s window is more subdued: Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, Sandra Lee, and Ina Garten all sit around in Snuggies, while the face of Rachael Ray is rendered as a cross-eyed wall clock and Anne Burrell manifested by a burning oven. The likeness of Lee Schrager, the founder of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, leers ominously next to a pile of Food Network cookbooks, like the Crypt Keeper. The faces of estrogen-endowed personalities like Ruth Reichl, Dana Cowin, Gail Simmons, and Anita Lo line the fringes, though Gael Greene is noticeably absent. As are a multitude of influential cookbook writers, chefs, and pastry chefs: whither Dorie Greenspan, Deborah Madison, Elizabeth Faulkner, and Karen DeMasco, for starters?
Still, it’s a pretty enthralling sight, though in an ideal world the men would have been wearing the Snuggies and the women cavorting around the disembodied head of Padma Lakshmi. Click through for some photos of the splendor, spatulas, tinsel, etc.
The men’s window is a riot of cartoon masculinity …
… while the women’s window is a picture of domesticity.
Anthony Bourdain winks and grimaces as Daniel Boulud gnaws a baguette.
Cake sorceress Margaret Braun and writer/cookbook queen Melissa Clark look on demurely.
Anne Burrell is somewhat ingeniously rendered as a malfunctioning oven.
Alain Ducasse, suave even on a platter.
Guy Fieri threatens passersby with mustard.
Bobby Flay straddles the head of Batali, while Emeril Lagasse fixes onlookers with his eerie stare.
Culinary innovators, vaporized.
John Besh, innovator.
The likeness of Anita Lo fights to be seen amid the tinsel.
Nigella Lawson is bold and vibrant, Sylvia Weinstock a grandmotherly pastel.
Ina Garten resorts to savagery as Rachael Ray keeps time.
Eric Ripert and Tom Colicchio, looking less like chefs than the Ambiguously Gay Duo.
Lee Schrager, doing that evil-dictator eyebrow thing.
Sandra Lee, her features as immobile as they appear in real life.
Jacques Torres looks on benevolently.
Illy coffee has never seemed quite so Warholian.