Photography by Skot Yobauje
From Warhol to Gentileschi, western artists have always drawn upon their childhoods for inspiration. So when commissioned with designing the holiday window displays for the Hermès boutique on Madison Avenue, artist Don Porcella also drew upon his upbringing for inspiration. The five windows are all presented as mini-golf courses—each with Hermès-branded flagsticks throughout, all made from pipe cleaners. “I look for the everyday. I enjoy embedding myself in everyday life,” Porcella says.
The windows, which were unveiled last week, warranted a soirée of their own: the cocktail hour following the unveiling included a live band and the artist himself, who also explained what it’s like to work with Hermès. “I think the most challenging aspect of this project is the amount of time it takes to make my work,” he said. “But working with Hermès was fantastic, off the chain. They're super supportive, they love working with independent artists and they have a handler who works directly with me.”
It’s the second project Don Porcella has done with Hermès: he first designed the store windows in Shanghai. “Shanghai is further from the flagship, so they were more interested in pairing it with their new line that was coming up. So, they kind of delayed me a little until they got their line - it was a little hard to turn things around quickly,” he said. This time, he was given a carte blanche to do what he saw fit with the display. “the window content, and my work should have nothing to do with the merchandise. So, they told me that I have reign to do whatever I want and that they would put the product in there afterward.”
The windows have a plush, yet minimalist feel to them: animals and humans of all shapes and sizes (also fabricated from pipe cleaners) roaming the minigolf terrain; orange and blue backdrops complement the red and green trees. The display is equal parts ease and frivolity— just as one should feel during the holidays. And just as Porcella claims to only own one piece from Hermès, a change tray once gifted to him, he also knows the rules of the brand, as well as how to break them. “So I think this project opens the brand up in a kind of punk way,” he says, “kind of going against that whole 'luxury' thing.”