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Confessions of a Window Dresser Paperback – August 2, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Studio (August 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141003626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141003627
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Simon Doonan is the creative ambassador for Barneys New York and the author of several books, including Gay Men Don���t Get Fat, Wacky Chicks, and Beautiful People (published in the U.S. as Nasty), which became a BBC TV series. Originally from England, he worked on Savile Row, at Maxfield in Los Angeles, and with Diana Vreeland at The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art before becoming the creative director of Barneys New York, where he designed legendary window displays for more than twenty years. In 2009, he designed the holiday decorations for the Obama���s first White House Christmas. Formerly a columnist for The New York Observer, he is now a contributor to Slate.com, and has appeared on Gossip Girl, Iron Chef America, America���s Next Top Model, and elsewhere. Doonan lives in New York with his husband, Jonathan Adler.

From The Washington Post

Confessions of a Window Dresser ought to be a depressing read, a reminder of the price-tag culture into which we're sunk, material boys and girls in a material world. But Simon Doonan makes it all seem so fab, so wonderfully delish, and he does it in such a guilt-free shopping spree of here-and-now enthusiasm, that he comes close to restoring the innocence to this consumer paradise. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David J. Brink on November 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Doonan's personal od(d)yssey begins in dreary Reading, England turns violently into the ultra-chic dept. store of Maxfield's on the Sunset Strip, then veers off into the never-never land of Barney's. This is a visually stunning book, a great achievement in art direction, despite Doonan's persistent refusal to hold the management of Barney accountable for its heady fashion forward taj mahal nineties excesses. Nevertheless, Doonan understands his subjects (fashion and display) and imparts great wisdom for those who covet it. The appendix of useful words in the back is really great. I plan to pepper my conversations with such useful vocab as "big girl blouse" and "trag." (abbrev. form of tragic) Interestingly, Doonan never really comments (or dishes)on the deseigners themselves, but judging from the # of photos, he appears to have a soft spot for Azzedine Alaia (who doesn't?). I've also chanced upon his rather trenchant commentary... I appreciate the distinction he makes between fashion in terms of clothing and fashion in the abstract sense.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Simon Doonan is the mad genius of the display world. His confessions weave a tale of a truly twisted spirit operating within a truly twisted demimonde. Doonan's celebrity anecdotes puncture the veil of fabulousness that surrounds so many famous people, and his personal recollections of his supremely dysfunctional family are mesmerizing. This is a book that will delight any creative soul. Doonan's story provides a glimpse into a rarely exposed world where insanity seems to be a big career booster. I also love the fact that all the profits from the book are being donated to God's Love We Deliver, an incredibly worthy organization that delivers hot meals to home-bound people with AIDS. I'm giving Confessions to all my friends for Christmas. In short, Simon Rules!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "rjudith" on January 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an honest portrayal of the odyssey from being a self acknowledged gay window dresser in England to director of corporate advertising for Barney's New York with LA being a formative stop along the way. The book itself has hundreds of photographs and great narrative to go with them. Unfortunately the printing of these pictures is not all that crisp and the way they are interspersed throughout the book is distracting. Many pages have more photo narration than text. I found it helpful to look at all the photographs and read the descriptions and then proceed to read the book. Overall a wonderfully revealing insight into how a store shapes its image and attracts the public by a brilliant "artist" and a darn good, witty writer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Senay GOKCEN on June 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Fashion Marketing is everywhere, especially in Fashion Windows where's the retailer's most economical form of advertising; bring glamour, fun, theatre and art to the streets, while visibly expressing the store's image. Of his approach to visual merchandising, Simon Doonan brings a wealth of personal experince and insight to these window displays. The ones who are interested in Fashion Windows, Fashion Marketing and Fashion Advertising, must have this book. (P.S. I bought this book from Amazon and received it at the right time and with no harm. Thanks Amazon.com )
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hilario Ponce on October 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for a gift, but was so intrigued by Doonan's windows I had to read it myself. From the minimal and sometimes upsetting displays of his early years to the more recent, gaudy and pop-influenced windows of Barneys, Doonan's book shows and tells the craft, work, and often times controversy that went into his displays. An incredible glimpse of one man's work, and the importance of a store display to grab and interact with the customer. Never bores, never falters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Fishburn VINE VOICE on June 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not really sure how Simon Doonan managed to fail the Eleven Plus; he's (among other geniuses) a Comic Genius. Confessions of a Window Dresser has (surprisingly!) turned out to be an excellent read-aloud.

Mr. Doonan's life is awfully fascinating even without the window dressing (hehe), but if you're interested in display in general, and window dressing in particular, I recommend this book as a Must Have. The archived photos merit close study.

I received the paperback version as a gift. Sadly, it's true about the binding, so the copy i bought for my baby brother is hardcover, built to last!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Biskup on July 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a ride for sure, an artistic roller-coaster with a nice beginning, no ending and a meandering middle. I think it would be appropriate to call this book self-absorbed and it is up to you to decide if that is what you want to read. Some of the problems I encountered: First, I really should have bought the hardcover; the [paperback] book literally fell apart in my hands. By page six, the cover was off and soon after that I was picking little bits of glue off my lap. About one third the way through the book, I gave up and tried to stay ahead of the mess by picking the glue off the binding myself. I have read hundreds of books, many of them paperbacks, and I have probably never seen a book so poorly bound; by the end of the book it started to look and feel like a newspaper! Additionally, for what is mostly a color-picture book the quality of paper used is also astonishingly low; the total lack of quality of this book is depressing. Perhaps this is what you get when you manufacture in China and don't have someone watching who speaks Chinese.

Second, I found the text of this book hard to follow. The whole thing should have been arranged better, the captions for the volumnous pictures were all ploped down in paragraph-form and the main text was constantly cut up for random, unpredictable, lengths by the pictures. On the other hand, with careful reading I thought the captions explained the pictures very well.

Third, I would have liked to learned more about his early career in London and L.A. It felt to me that the middle of the "how-I-got-to-where-I-am" story was a soft, like part o the story was missing. Overall, I enjoyed the story.
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