While away on vacation in San Francisco last week, I had the news on in my hotel room one evening as I was preparing to go out and was surprised to learn Barneys
New York was taking a political stance. Or at the very least, they had election fever. Last Tuesday afternoon,
portraits of the wives of 43 American presidents,
painted by the artist Laurie Munn were hung in the Barneys window.
In the current display everyone is represented from Martha Washington to Laura Bush.
Munn also painted first lady
hopefuls Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain and this is where things go awry.
In the portrait of Obama, she is smiling and soft, while McCain is all hard angles and
appears to be the devil. Could the renderings have been
influenced by Barneys creative director Simon Doonan? When asked recently whom he was supporting, Doonan said, “Apart from being the right candidate, [Barack] Obama looks better in a suit, which can only be a good thing.”
Now I don’t know about you, but for the past few months it seems we have been constantly bombarded with everyone’s political opinions…and frankly I am sick of it! I certainly don’t expect a high-end retailer to make one. Especially when many of Barneys’ clients are probably Republican. Why would a store chose to alienate any of it’s customer base in this foul retail and economic climate? For some reason…this really upset me. I expect actors to spout off because they don’t know any better, but not a business which needs to make a profit to survive. A store I love has suddenly soured for me. I go to stores to escape…particularly from politics. They should be politically neutral.
I must not be the only one upset because when I went over to Barneys yesterday to see the display for myself, the caricatures of Obama and McCain were removed. However, I was able to find them for you! (Check out Laura Bush’s not so subtle milk mustache). I’m all for edgy and provocative window displays, but this was not a good idea.
Shame on you Barneys. You should not be taking sides.
– Lauren Dimet Waters
Photos: Second City Style & WWD