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Barneys Battles Dreaded R-Word With Peace, Love, Understanding

Photo: Courtesy of Barney’s

Step aside, Anderson Cooper. Simon Doonan’s unlikely muse for this month’s holiday windows at Barneys is none other than the original silver fox of broadcast news, Tom Brokaw. “I wanted someone with a little bit of gravitas to cut the ribbon,” Doonan says of the anchorman, who will do the honors at this Sunday’s window unveiling. Brokaw’s latest book, Boom! Talking About the Sixties was one of several zeitgeist indicators that Doonan honed in on when coming up with this year’s “Hippie Holiday” theme. (Original counterculture girl Joan Baez was first in line for ribbon duties, but no need to mention that to Tom.) “We picked the cheery, upbeat elements of the sixties,” Doonan assured. “No overdoses, no assassinations.” Yes, a syringe would look out of place on Madison Avenue, whose newest semi-permanent resident is a Barneys-commissioned carbon-neutral VW Beetle kitted out by artist John Paul Philippe. We got a sneak peek at the windows (and a ride in the new VW CC—so roomy!) this morning, which seemed to be coming along quite groovily. Expect lots of denim, macramé, and something made entirely out of afro wigs. There won’t, however, be any modern-day counterculture girls. Doonan just couldn’t think of any. “It’s hard to imagine Janis Joplin getting a record deal now,” he sighed. “Someone would want to make her over, give her a spray tan. Things weren’t so ersatz back then.”

—Alison Baenen