FAO Schwarz window display

Thirty years ago (!) I designed and installed a series of window displays for the now gone FAO Schwarz toy store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  I had just returned from London and going through the process of getting my work visa to return so during that wait time I went around looking for freelance work. I think there was a total of 5 windows but these are the only photos I’ve found so far.  The concept, if I recall, was the FAO Schwarz train’s journey from Grand Central Station through NYC landmarks to its final destination on Fifth Avenue.  See the Mary Blair influence in the Central Park window?



  1. Mike Edholm says:

    I have such fond memories of the old FAO Schwarz as a kid. What an incredible place. I didn’t know you created windows for them. They’re fantastic, Ann!!

    • Ann says:

      Only once but it was cool to do. I remember struggling with my adhesives because I didn’t consider how hot the display lights would be inside those boxes!

  2. Bob Scherer says:

    Of course I had to google Mary Blair. I see a mid-20th C Scandinavian connection in her work.
    Some of her images made me think of Marrianne Starck, a 20th C Danish ceramist. (I have several of her tiles.)
    I see she was a great animator as well!

    • Ann says:

      Now it was my turn to google; definitely a similar design approach. Lovely work!

      Mary Blair was definitely the most influential Disney artist on the animators and designers who came out of CalArts, at least during the time and prior to when I was a student. Her sense of color was extraordinary; no one has matched her.

  3. Barbara Dale says:

    I love these!

    • Martha Kennedy says:

      Thanks for sharing these! They’re wonderful. I see the Mary Blair influence — in the tone and colors especially.

  4. signe says:

    Lovely. I miss good department store windows generally though our Anthropologie in Philadelphia does good ones.

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