I can’t help but write my first blog about my home town of New York and how what may be considered fabulous here could be considered deadly elsewhere. Bill Cunningham, the quintessential New York observer, revels in the delights of Christmas from 5th Avenue to Madison. He highlights windows at Bergdorf Goodmans and Ralph Lauren, each of which features mannequins in white surrounded by white birds. To the New York stylist it makes perfect sense – white, Christmas, snow, elegance, but to someone from another culture it could mean something entirely different.
The displays are gorgeous by anyone’s standards, except possibly a Chinese shopper who may subscribe to the traditional belief that white means death. Or consider the important government official who was said to have walked out of a New York hotel lobby that was covered in white flowers, proclaiming that there was no way he would stay there.
In today’s day and age, fashion and status-by-branding may super cede traditional Chinese beliefs, but you never know and who would want to risk putting off 1 billion customers. White windows aside, New York is host to a wide variety of visual stimuli like the man walking down 5th Avenue wearing a suit and a horse head! Even Cunningham couldn’t make sense of it, but as he says, “It’s just another Saturday afternoon in New York,” and we’ll take it – white and all.