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20 November 2018

Holiday Windows 2018 : Saks Fifth Avenue

CHRISTMAS IN Midtown Manhattan is always more than just a holiday shopping tradition. It becomes the world's preeminent showcase of visual merchandising at its grandest and most enchanting form. For decades now, beginning in mid-November, Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and other department stores on and around Fifth Avenue outdo each other in transforming their windows into elaborate, magical wonderlands. It's the stuff that visual merchandisers dream of.

On Monday evening, Saks Fifth Avenue unveiled its 2018 windows called "The Theater of Dreams" at the flagship on Fifth Avenue. The launch, in partnership with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, was a stunning theatrical event with over 120 Broadway dancers and a theatrical 10-story light show. The store's six windows are themed around Broadway and depict a shopper’s visits to The Fifth Avenue Club and The Salon & Spa at Saks. Digital images are used as backdrops, the first time that Saks ever incorporated such technology in their windows.

The entire launch event encapsulates the New York City we all love: electric, aesthetic, ecstatic! Watch it by clicking the "play" button on the video below. The program starts at 13:40.

18 November 2018

Joining Lenskart

THIS WEEK, I joined Lenskart to form and run the visual merchandising function for the company. The venture is now the fastest growing eyewear group in India, almost a decade after it started. This marks new beginnings for me. I'm amongst true innovators, entrepreneurs who take risks and go for it, young leaders who always look at new ways of doing things.

The atmosphere at the headquarters is awesome. I'm surrounded by youth and youngness, transformative ingredients that anchor a culture of continuous learning and doing. Jeans at work. Long tables instead of cabins and cubicles. Lounge seats everywhere. A masala chai station. A game room. A sleeping room! I can make a few jokes to my "table-mates" (the executive assistants and the merchants, all old enough to probably NOT know how to repair a broken cassette tape), and expect the jokes to land flat, which makes it even funnier (to me, at least). Everyone moves fast. Everyone talks with passion. Everyone works hard. There's a strong sense of personal ownership and liberty. It's such a contagious spirit.

I'm about to help Lenskart in further changing the way Indians shop for eyewear. What a special thing to join them on this ride.

03 November 2018

FOCAL POINT : Barbra Streisand, "Walls"

BARBRA STREISAND's new studio album, the lush and variegated Walls, showcases the triumph of two voices. One is that unmistakable singing voice, unchallengeable since 1962, now sounding almost outworldly with its surprisingly pliant crescendos, effortlessly intuitive phrasing, and dramatic resonance. The 76-year-old icon proves on this album that she remains the singular force of nature in pop vocal music.

The other voice is what's on Ms. Streisand's heart and mind: social principles advancing the unity of the human race. She created the album in light of contemporaneous sociopolitical tensions in the United States. However, the project is far from being a partisan vessel. There are no references to political parties or individuals in the carefully-selected songs.

To the contrary, Ms. Streisand explores the themes of gender equality, racial harmony, elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty, and, above all, love in its most unifying power. No other studio album in Ms. Streisand's long, spectacular career is as principled as Walls. This is clearly a musical project with nothing but the best intentions.

My personal standouts: "Love's Never Wrong", a new anthem of equality, and "Happy Days Are Here Again", Ms. Streisand revisiting her classic song in her best form as an actress who sings.