Just Above Sunset
Volume 5, Number 10
March 11, 2007

Christmas Coming

 The world as seen from Just Above Sunset -

"Notes on how things seem from out here in Hollywood..."

Santa as Voyeur, and more…

"He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he know if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake." He's a bit strange. This is part of the Christmas display at Bijan on Rodeo Drive - a little bit ominous. Christmas is strange out here. Irving Berlin was so freaked out by it he wrote "White Christmas" while sunning himself at a pool one December in 1940 about a mile north of this Santa (check out the verse).

Christmas display at Bijan on Rodeo Drive
Christmas display at Bijan on Rodeo Drive

Other Santa guys -

Christmas display at Bijan on Rodeo Drive
Christmas display at Bijan on Rodeo Drive

Bijan, at 420 Rodeo Drive, is the single most expensive store in the world. You must make an appointment in advance to shop at Bijan (which was named after its Iranian owner). On a typical visit, Bijan's average customer spends about a hundred grand on men's fashions, which range from fifty dollar pairs of socks to the fifteen thousand dollars suits.

Suzy Menkes in the International Herald Tribune on 27 November says Rodeo Drive is so last decade. The important center of fashion is now Melrose Place - "The intimacy of Melrose Place compares to the bustling, youth-oriented Robertson Boulevard, a five-minute drive away, and the glossy plate glass and palm trees of Rodeo Drive (which has chandeliers as its Christmas lights)." She quotes Bill Blass when he found an old house on Melrose Place he could buy - "I had my eyes on Melrose Place for four years and then this house came up. I think it is very chic and I am in love with this space. It is going to be the most important street in fashion. Rodeo Drive is for tourists." Blass' place opened last month. Note that Melrose Place is just around the corner from Trashy Lingerie.

This is an odd town.

And the Baccarat chandeliers are back for the third year…  Here's how they looked the first year - and how they look now...

Baccarat chandelier, Rodeo Drive
Baccarat chandelier, Rodeo Drive

See this - 

Is Rodeo Drive's Light Touch a Bit Heavy-Handed?

Chandeliers made and installed by Baccarat are worth $1 million. Some say they are over the top, but others think they go with the territory.

Wendy Thermos, Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2004 (no longer online)

    To some people, there's no such thing as too much glitter on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

    With Christmastime here, the city has taken the art of holiday decoration to a new level. It has lined the median of the famously posh street with $1 million worth of formal chandeliers.

    To passersby, it's very Beverly Hills. But is it also over the top? 

We report, you decide. 

    From Thanksgiving through New Year's, it's a tradition in many towns to drape business districts with twinkling skeins of snowflake lights on street trees and storefronts.

    But on Rodeo Drive's three-block stretch of swank emporiums, such decor might seem a little déclassé.

    So when Baccarat, the renowned French crystal maker, offered to dress up Rodeo, gratis, with 20 handcrafted chandeliers valued at close to $50,000 apiece, city officials and the Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically accepted.

    The shimmering crystal lamps are suspended from sleek standards temporarily installed by Baccarat at an additional cost of $500,000. The bases of the displays include the Baccarat logo. The chandeliers are encased in clear plastic boxes to protect them from the elements.  


    Each multitiered creation - there are six styles - sparkles with 750 to 1,000 multifaceted beads that were either hand-blown or hand-poured before being cut, polished and assembled by craftsmen in Baccarat, France.

    "Nothing like this has been done anywhere in the world that we're aware of," said Brent McDaneld, a top executive with the 240-year-old company. 

The final disposition? 

    The chandeliers will be taken down and sold at Geary's [the Baccarat store on the street] and other retail outlets for Baccarat crystal and jewelry.

    There are already signs that they will be hot sellers.

    Hours before the Dec. 1 lighting ceremony, "some Saudi Arabians came by and were asking about them," Donovan said. "They wanted to buy them."

Whatever.  They're back.

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

[Christmas Coming]

Last updated Saturday, March 10, 2007, 10:30 pm Pacific Time

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 - Alan M. Pavlik