When Marc Jacobs' gothic-inspired, feathered, and terrifyingly high-heeled collection made its runway debut in February on the likes of Kendall Jenner and Lady Gaga, it looked very Tim Burton. Seemingly everyone noticed, but particularly Saks Fifth Avenue and 20th Century Fox, which paired up Jacobs and Burton in honor of new film, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which debuts later this month. They tasked Jacobs with dreaming up a series of window displays for Saks Fifth Avenue's New York flagship inspired by the film's plot and characters, using the designer's own fall '16 collection and incorporating actual props from the set.
Jacobs confirmed the Burtonian influence on his witchy autumnal runway back in February: "We were thinking about creatures of fashion and fallen angels," he told The Guardian backstage, "everyone from Lydia in Beetlejuice [which Burton directed in 1988] to Cinderella." When it came to putting his spooky designs on display, Jacobs expanded upon his original vision. "Everything became bigger and bigger to create something theatrical for you all," the designer says in a behind-the-scenes video of the making of the installation.
Burton may not have a particularly indulgent approach to fashion ("Anyone who knows me knows that I wear the same clothes all the time," he writes to us.), but he is interested in how other creators translate his distinct aesthetic into other artistic mediums. The director says that fashion plays a big role in developing the characters in his big-screen projects — both in how the actors step their roles and in how an audience perceives them. Burton has long collaborated with costume designer Colleen Atwood, crediting her for helping him "translate ideas into clothing and a look for each character."
Still, Burton's work has long been an influence to designers (a subject of museum exhibitions, even). Apparently, Jacobs approached the director a few years ago about designing a range inspired by the characters in his 1997 anthology, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. "I thought it was cool that he approached me with the idea, and what he did looked great," Burton says — so much so, that he was open to working with the designer once again. Mark Briggs, executive vice president of the Creative Center of Excellence at Saks Fifth Avenue, who works year-round on the legendary store's visuals, noted that this partnership was particularly unique — while still aligned with each individual brand: "Burton's mystique juxtaposed with Jacobs' romantic fashion, all set within the grand Saks setting, create a truly cinematic scene."
Saks Fifth Avenue is known worldwide for its dreamy window displays — although, most of the hoopla revolves around the retailer's holiday windows, which according to Briggs, can take up to 11 months of planning. "There's a fine balance with fusing fashion and style with pop culture and entertainment," he told Refinery29 about this type of undertaking, adding that it's Saks' M.O. to always maintain the luxury element in its artful displays. "Our goal is to translate these moments into retail theater, and we welcome our customers to stop by and enjoy the show."
In a landscape where the brick-and-mortar experience is constantly being reevaluated, Saks Fifth Avenue is still heavily invested its storefronts — and, specifically, the elaborate displays that still draw in crowds to its locations (even if they might not be planning on dropping big money inside). "Saks is Saks because we continuously offer our customers an exciting experience at every channel — whether inside or outside of our stores," Briggs explains. "Brick-and-mortar stores continue to be avenues for creating engaging, immersive experiences for our customers, and giving them reasons — in real life — to shop."
Refinery29 got an exclusive first look at the spooky display in full. Check out the decked-out mannequins, which luckily will not have to balance themselves in those gravity-defying heels, ahead.