One of the joys of shopping for the holiday season is keeping money in your pocket, for looking at the colorful window displays at stores does not cost you a cent. The Christmas displays are the most striking and include reindeers, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, elves, garland, tinsel, snowflakes, sleighs, winter scenes, colorful lights and even mistletoe - - just to name a few examples. Gene Moore, who joined Tiffany’s in 1955 on Fifth Avenue, worked as a window dresser. There is a charming story about a Christmas display that Moore created. He made a little gold reindeer in snow and the antlers were adorned with diamonds. The gold reindeer caught the eye of a lady; her fiancé bought it for her. Moore created another gold reindeer to put in the window at Tiffany’s.
Moore, who studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts hoping to become a painter, began to work in an artificial flower shop making floral arrangements. One beautiful bouquet drew the attention of Jim Buckley, a freelance window display man. Buckley offered Moore a job as a display director for I. Miller; Moore accepted the position and began to work as Buckley’s assistant. Afterward Moore created stunning displays for windows at Bergdorf’s and Bonwit’s. He got his big break and became famous when he created window displays for Tiffany’s.
Moore’s window displays for Tiffany’s drew crowds who stopped and looked. Due to his unique window displays, more customers came to Tiffany’s and bought merchandise. Some of his artistic designs were a bicycle on a quill, ice cream cones, ice tongs holding a diamond and a heart cash register. He became the leading window dresser of the 20th century and made displays for 5,000 windows.
Not only did Moore excel as a window dresser, he also designed sets and costumes for the Paul Taylor Dance Company. He also created the sets and costumes for Gielguid’s production of Thornton Wilder’s The Ides of March. He wrote a book titled, My Time at Tiffany’s with Jay Hyans, which was published in 1990. After a fulfilling career, Moore retired as vice-president for window designs at Tiffany’s at the age of 84. He will always be remembered for bringing magic to Fifth Avenue through his window displays.
Purtell, Joseph. The Tiffany Touch New York: Random House, 1972.