Tuesday, December 8, 2015

**Bergdorf Goodman 'Brilliant Holiday' Windows 2015**

This November marked my 10 year anniversary as a Bergdorf Goodman window dresser, and coincided with one of the sparkliest years of holiday windows to date! The Bergdorf 2015 'Brilliant Holiday' windows were designed in collaboration with Swarovski. An estimated 7 million crystals were used to embellish Bergdorf's scintillating 5th avenue holiday vitrines. According to window director David Hoey 'These windows have everything to do with 'crystals, gems, and jewels.' The street is lined with fantastical scenes including an Amethyst encrusted cavern, a nautical pearl-laden Poisiden, a regal rhinestone royal court, and a glittering fortune teller scene. The windows have gotten much fabulous press this season including glowing mentions in the NY TimesArchitectural Digest, and Vogue. Swarovski also produced a short video that reveals a glimpse behind the scenes of the massive team effort that makes these dream holiday windows come true.

On a hot summer day in late August, two 3 foot tall winged mythic griffins and a large shopping bag full of Swarovski crystals descended upon my studio. From there on, I worked around the clock for three solid months jewel encrusting custom props for the Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows. 2 griffins, a blue ribbon, an alligator head, a bear head, 2 baby birds, and a partridge in a pear tree… ;) My studio was fondly coined the 'Sarah Sparkles Super Sparkly Swarovski Sweatshop' with shopping bags full of crystals and glittering props covering the room. The two griffins were commissioned for the royal themed 'Crown Jewels' holiday window. They were the most labor intensive project of the season that required an extensive amount of shading and contoured work. We exhausted Swarovski's entire inventory of the SS30 Gold Dorado and Bronze Shade crystal. These glittering beasts are an absolute must see in person!! Special thanks to my trusted assistants at the Sparkles Swarovski Sweatshop; Abby Hertz, Kayla Jo Berley, Contessa Create, and Timothy Wood.

 Knights and crowns by Burke and Pryde, Hair by Mio Guberinic, Griffins by Sarah Sparkles studio.
  Window design by David Hoey, Fashion by Libertine, Bergdorf 'Brilliant Holiday' windows November, 2015

Crystal birds, bear head, and copper leaf rocks 
commissioned by Shane Ruth, visual director of Bergdorf Goodman's Men's store
 for the 'Crystal Cabin' 2015 holiday windows.

As the pair of griffins for the 5th ave 'Crown Jewels' window neared completion, I acquired additional commissions to embellish a large Blue Ribbon and Alligator head for the 5th Avenue shadow boxes at the women's store. At the Sparkle studio, we affectionately called the blue ribbon 'Baby Boy' and the Alligator 'Ali G the Scorpio.' Though he was the last prop to come in sending deadline pressures through the roof, Ali G was my favorite sparkle project of the season :)

                                              'Rockstar' Swarovski Alligator by Sarah Sparkles Studio
                                              Window design by David Hoey, Purses by Judith Leiber
                                              Bergdorf 'Brilliant Holiday' windows, November 2015

Dreams do come true!!! :) I am so deeply grateful for the opportunity to participate in this dynamic collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman and one of my favorite sparkle mediums of all time- **Swarovski Crystals.** The Bergdorf 'Brilliant Holiday' windows on 58th street and 5th ave are up thru January 4th, 2016. If you are in NYC, go check them out!!! Wishing you all a happy, sparkling holiday season. <3

Sarah Sparkles

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bette Midler's Hulaween Party, and 'Crimson Peak' Windows at Bergdorf Goodman

This October, I took a respite from my glittering holiday window production to work with art director Douglas Little on 'Crimson Peak' windows at Bergdorf Goodman and event decor for Bette Midler's Hulaween party. Noted for his glamorous and other-wordy flair, Douglas conjured a macabre 5th avenue window spectacle in conjunction to the launch of 'Crimson Peak', a newly released gothic horror movie by director Guillermo del Toro. The installation incorporated original props from the film with sets custom built to fit the Bergdorf windows. My tasks included fabrication of spooky candles out of bees wax for the eery bathroom scene and extensive prop styling in the attic window. There was so much detail under the floor boards, that enthusiasts on the street would get on there knees to discover the story beneath the surface; remnants of jewels, scraps of letters, combs, wigs, photos, spectacles, and vintage accessories that once belonged to the mistresses of this haunted house.

Window design by Douglas Little, fashion by Valentino
in homage to the film 'Crimson Peak' by Guillermo del Toro
photo by Ricky Zehavi, October 2015

                                                Bathroom fabrication by Kramer Arts
Spooky custom candles made by Sarah Sparkles and crew
Window design by Douglas Little

After installing the Crimson Peak windows, my focus shifted gears to working as the decor production coordinator for Bette Midler's Hulaween party at the Waldorf Astoria with art direction by designer Douglas Little. This was my 5th year working on Hulaween, the annual benefit party for Bette Midler's non-profit organization the New York Restoration Project. This years theme was 'Hell Night on Hulaween Island,' with open grave centerpieces on 60+ tables constructed out of mountains of crushed Oreos, painted bones, severed appendages, glitter roaches, and Bette's head in a jar. This year I took on a large portion of the coordination, including sourcing and ordering props, photo printing, tracking shipping (I Hate UPS!!!!!!!!!!) managing the budget, hiring labor, overseeing and executing decor fabrication, and the installation and breakdown of the event in the Waldorf Astoria's Grand Ballroom. What a massive undertaking!! Our install team was fabulous. The event went off without a hitch. So very grateful :)

                        Visual artist Abby Hertz putting finishing touches on podium tombstone :)

In the aftermath of Hulaween, I spent the remainder of the holiday weekend picking severed fingers out of my personal belongings and recovering in the woods. Gathering my strength for the major final two weeks homestretch of production for the Bergdorf Goodman 2015 holiday windows.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Iron and Glory Launch at Harley Davidson, Mermaid Parade, and More

Last summer I was lounging on the beach basking in the glow of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade when I met 'Iron and Glory's' founder Richard Brandt. We hit it off and stayed connected via social media.This spring Richard contacted me and requested to hire me as a consultant, to design custom installations for the Iron and Glory 'Whiskey and Motorcycle's' launch party at Harley Davidson's flagship store in Manhattan. Iron and Glory features an array of meticulously curated accessories, apparel,  home decor, and custom engraving that appeals to the biker-chic, Americana, and rock and roll subcultures. Striking out on his own, Iron and Glory is Richard Brandt's love child. His enthusiasm is unparalleled! A very exciting experience for me to support this dynamic, independent business. I do love rock and roll... ;)


                                                   Installation design by Sarah Sparkles for
                                      'Iron and Glory' at Harley Davidson, NYC Spring 2015

Shortly after, I get a call from one of my favorite designers, the illustrious Douglas Little asking me to build a cat suit out of feathers for an installation in a unique art-filled Soho condo.

Art direction by Douglas Little 
Fabrication by Sarah Sparkles and Paloma Soledad

Other art adventures this season included installations at the Juliska showroom on Madison ave and  flagship store in Stamford, Connecticut. Juliska is also a dynamic, independently owned business- the love child of the divine Capucine and David Gooding, purveyors of fine glass wear and home decor.

                                                          Art direction by Douglas Little
                                               Installations by Douglas and Sarah Sparkles

 One of the highlights of my entire year is attending the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. It is a national holiday for my mermaid tribe. This year I designed a new jewel encrusted bikini to wear in the parade. In tandem, designed a new collection of One of a Kind Creations mermaid jewelry sold exclusively at Enchantments in the East Village.
                                  One of a Kind Creations mermaid jewelry by Sarah Sparkles
                            Sold exclusively at Enchantments NYC and online etsy store.

                                             custom design mermaid bra by Sarah Sparkles
 **Mermaid Tribe**

With my mermaid sister Kai Altair <3
**Happy Summer**

Now the Fall season is upon us. I am working around the clock in my studio, bedazzling props for the Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows. Coming up for air to do ongoing window installations, and make preparations for Bette Midler's Hulaween party. Tis the season to hustle and grind, but those sweet mermaid days of summer will remain close in my heart. <3

Thursday, April 9, 2015

*Bonnet Bash @ National Arts Club, Accessory Design and More*

This spring kicked off with an exciting invitation from the Fashion Committee at the National Arts Club to design the d├ęcor for the annual Milliner’s Guild ‘Bonnet Bash.’ Who doesn’t love a fancy hat party?! This years theme ‘Into the Woods’ inspired me to design jeweled elven sprites to wear the hats, woodland nests, a stage draped in rich olive green cloth with matching foliage, tables set with burch candles, moss, birds and butterflies, and fashion adorned muses draped in earthy mesh and flowing green and brown fabric. I'm so happy, the event was such a hit!! People were lined up down the block, awaiting to join the festively adorned crowd in this historic Gramercy park location. 
                                'Into the Woods' event decor designed by Sarah Sparkles 2015

Hats by members of the Milliner's Guild

'Into the Woods' decor installation by Sarah Sparkles and Dicie Carlson
                                                           What a fabulous crowd!!!
For more pix from this enchanting evening, check out the Photo spread by Tod Seelie in the Gothamist . Special thanks to David Zyla and Nina Urban from the Fashion Committee, the Milliners Guild, and the National Arts Club.

While on the subject of fabulous hats, headdresses, and hair accessories, my passion for design in that realm has been growing exponentially. One of my favorite recent commissions was for the illustrious Katherine Crockett, star of Queen of the Night. She asked for a headdress with many jeweled cascades and dangles, alluding to glamorous, glittering icicles. J'adore! 

                                    Katherine Crockett- Photo by Steven Trumon Grey

Another recent favorite was a custom design headpiece for Kostume Kult's Horned Ball, made with Swarovski crystals, acrylic gems, and a titanium treated druzy geode pendant.There are more exciting headdress commissions underway, and new designs from the Vintage Glamor Accessories line for upcoming trunk shows, so stay tuned.

In other exciting news, my book Parades, Parties, and Protests is being featured in an exhibit at the Museum at Bethel Woods, home of the 1969 Woodstock festival. The book as well as 30 of my photos will be included in the slideshow of the exhibit 'Peace, Love, Unity, Respect: The Rise of Electronic Music Culture in America' featured in the Museum's Special Exhibit Gallery.

The show is up from April 4th- May31st. If you can take a day to drive into the woods, check it out. Happy Spring!!!