"Once Upon a Time . . . "

on Post Street

Once upon a time - a very, very long time ago - there was a 
young man from Mississippi named Scot.  And for many, many 
years he worked for Ralph Lauren -  
designing and installing the store's display windows 
in the magical land of San Francisco.  He was younger and 
thinner than he is now.  But, he was full of passion and a great love of style - 
which he still is to this very day.

Each year he would wait.  And wait.  And wait.  
He would look at the calendar almost every day.
"Is it time yet?"  "Is it time yet?"

For he knew very well, that beginning the 
first day after Halloween - he would
begin to install the holiday windows 
for ALL the Polo stores in and around San Francisco.

This was his favourite time of the year.

on Post Street

Now, many people would complain as he began to install holiday windows the first week of November.

"Christmas already?!?!?!" would be the daily outburst.

on Post Street

But Scot would try to tell everyone, "It takes SO long for these magical windows to be created. We must start 
early so that we can be finished by Thanksgiving."

But, no one seemed to believe him.

Corner of Geary and Stockton

So everyday Scot would go to each store.  
Working 12 to 16 hours each day.  Everyday.
Including weekends.  Dressing mannequins.  
Making enumerable wreaths.  Building sets for windows.

on Geary Street

Slowly.  Each day.  The stores began to transform.
It was very hard work.  And some days he would be cranky.

"It is very hard work creating magic."

And he would go home each night - 
and sleep for a few hours - before going back to the store.

on Grant Street

One day he heard someone say, "Happy Holidays!" 
on the street outside the store.

on Grant Street

And slowly, people would begin to stop and 
point and smile at the holiday 
creations taking shape in the store's windows.  

on Kearny Street

And finally, after weeks of work, on the 
Wednesday before Thanksgiving - 
everything was perfect.

on Post Street

And after everything was completed.  
Scot would give himself a treat . . . 

He would walk around the streets and 
byways in the magical land of San Francisco,
and see what everyone else had been 
doing whilst he'd been working.

on Post Street

And everyone on the street was smiling.  
And wishing each other Happy Holidays.
And he hoped that his little contribution 
helped make the magical land of San
Francisco just slightly more magical.

Th end.

I decided to begin my holiday celebrations a few days early.  So on my way home from the office on Wednesday, I grabbed my camera and relived those old days - wandering the city streets to see all the holiday windows.  Sometimes I miss being able to work on the holiday windows.  

Be sure to be back on Monday - I've got an exciting announcement.  


All photography, Scot Meacham Wood for "The Adventures of Tartanscot."


So much creativity.............so few hours!
Let the holidays begin. Enjoyed the window shopping!
Oh, my!!! So much inspiration in each one of them!

I was missing your posts!!!!

This is simply so elegant and I am in the mood for Christmas now! :-)

"Let it snow, let it snow... let is now... "


Luciane at HomeBunch.com
Splendid Sass said…
You never disappoint, Scot.
You are a very talented person.
Have a lovely weekend.
La Boheme said…
This is a great inspiration before some serious shopping starts! Can't wait to browse streets of San Francisco and seeing it all myself. Have a great weekend and can't wait to hear your exciting announcement! xo
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this post and how much I miss seeing those sights in person.
I live in a place where they just don't do that.
Perhaps because it is summer time and everyone just wants to leave town for Christmas.
But I miss it.
And those stores.
The only one we have here is Tiffany's ... and thanks to my good luck, I have a husband who shops there :)
I need to go back to SF. I lived there a long time ago and always thought I would go back .. it might be time.
Kerri@Treschiclifestyle said…
Scot -
I love this post - the pictures and the story!!! I used to work in retail and I loved creating the windows - thanks for sharing!

Gwen Driscoll said…
What a fabulous experience those years must have been! And, I would think, though painstakingly hard, really, really fun and rewarding. Hope you are having a great holiday weekend.
Anonymous said…
ahhhh... my story is the same, just change it to the east coast. I miss everything about my RL days -- except the fake snow-- its still stuck in every sweater I own!

Good lord, the scatter flakes! the scatter flakes! I'm sure that stuff is toxic in some mysterious way - lol.

But, oh those late nights creating magic in the windows - 'ahhhhhh' is the perfect response . . .
Anonymous said…
yes the toxic flakes! I am sure corporate had them laced with something to keep us all there for so long!

If I ever write a book, I think I'll use "Toxic Flakes, sueded Heros and Violettas" as the title of the chapter about my years at Ralph Lauren. :)
Oh Scot, every picture is just gorgeous and filled with beauty and inspiration. My son, who is an interior designer is now living in Fort Lauderdale and told me that NM has 2 three story reindeer out front of the store!!! I can't wait to see pictures! I LOOOOVe, love Christmas and am up to my neck doing my house right now. I just started a blog and would be HONORED if you would come visit! XO, Pinky
Unknown said…
What a fantastic job you have! Your window is wonderful! What a fun post, thank you for sharing!
LadyeLisa said…
Oh, Scot . . . this post is beautiful! So endearing and full of the wonder of Christmas. You've reminded me of that all-important part of the season. Thank you!
Maggie O said…
THANK YOU for your inspiration, your amazing work and for sharing with us common folks!! That was trip to remember.
This east-coaster stuck in Texas thanks you for these visions of NYC.
Robin said…
So many beautiful, perfect windows. Thank you.

But this Neiman Marcus you write of, I beg to differ. That is and will always be City of Paris to me.
It's difficult to imagine a more delightful job! Hard work, I know, but what magic!
Just lovely! It inspired some Christmas spirit here! Happy Holidays! Enjoy!
La Dolfina said…
Great story and beautiful windows!
Vickie H. said…
Beautiful post, Scot! I am sure they were sad to see you go when you departed RL....no doubt a little of your mojo remains in every window they do these days. The pictures you shared with all of us are wonderful..in most cases I would never see them otherwise.

Loved your spread in RUE....every square inch of it!!! You are amazing!

God bless!
Dawn said…
This is my favourite post yet!
Reed Stevens said…
What gorgeous stage sets these windows are, promising happiness every winter! And we, the children in the Christmas tale.

Snow, the magic mist that carries us back to Once Upon a Time. Merchandise is almost irrelevant in these fabulous scenes.

Thanks for the memories!
Anonymous said…
Oops, my blog: reedstevens.blogspot.com

Come visit!
What a captivating tale.
This could make for a wonderfully sophisticated children's book -- the anticipation mounts like an advent calendar ;)
Everyone whose ever worked for RL was changed for the better by the experience -- the real, original lifestyle brand.
I want to dive into the first RL window.
Cheers and happy holiday season, Alcira

Thank you for your great post on windows! I too used to decorate store windows for a living and always love seeing what happens around Christmas.

Enjoy your holiday!
David @ Ashfield Hansen Design
Rick said…
Those are wonderful! Thank you for sharing.
Belle de Ville said…
Those holiday windows are magical. I would be tempted to fly to San Francisco just for an evening of wandering around to look at them.
Scot, what a gorgeous, gorgeous post! A hundred years ago, I "did" windows, so I know how much work, love and care goes into each one. Yours were absolutely stunning!

I'm sad to say many of our stores here in southern CA no longer go all out, so thanks so much for getting us in the spirit.
I'm sure it's so much pressure, each year, to create a new and perfect and wow window; being a New Yorker of course Bergdorf and RL Flagship on Madison were the standards. Please know your work will continue to inspire many many people for years and years to come.

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