Window Wonderland

For the past three years, Saks Fifth Avenue has published a children’s book that serves as the basis for their holiday windows (above and below). This year’s volume, A Flake Like Mike by The Simpsons writer Mike Reiss, tells the story of a lacy snowflake who is shunned by the mass of lookalike flakes but who eventually leads a bloodless revolution against conformity with a smile on his face. Honored with his own parade, Mike is featured on the cover of “The Daily Flake,” the local tabloid. Today, thanks to Mike, snow now floats down to the earth, flake by flake, instead of dropping in one big whomp. The book and windows are illustrated by Chris Capuozzo, who runs Intergalactico, a multimedia firm, and teaches in the MFA Designer as Author program. He portrays an abstract past in New York City, one where today’s parents are young, dinosaurs roam, and aliens regularly visit Earth.

I asked Chris how he got the job: Through a friend’s recommendation, Saks loved the illustration work I did for Nike’s “Join Bode” campaign a few years back (promoting the U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller).

How he got the idea: Growing up in Staten Island, a stone’s toss from one of the biggest garbage dumps in the world, had an influence. Ever see the stuff that washes up in the tide line on a Staten Island beach? Tons of weird stuff. I’ve used mixed media collage for years and I love orchestrating and manipulating disparate fragments into pictures (god bless Photoshop).

What was the most fun
: When I showed some proofs of the book to a 5-year-old friend and his mother. He was instantly captivated. Now, I want to do more of this.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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