As I was meandering along the side-street windows of the Container Store on 58th Street and Lexington Avenue, I was quite taken by the dress forms standing at attention in the windows. Each was wearing a most marvelous outfit—made entirely out of gift wrapping supplies! I didn't see much explanation about them, other than the name of the maker, which clued me in to the fact that this was something beyond just a window display for the season. So a call was in order to the store's press department where I learned a little more. I share it all with you, since I think stopping by one of the Container Store's two Manhattan outposts is de rigueur right now, before they take down the fabulous garments early in the new year.
Employees at the Container Store were given the chance to participate in this happy-wrappy festival of glee and couture. One needn't have been a window display artist or gift-wrap designer to participate—I am sure stock people, cashiers, management, and--mirabile dictu!--even "real" designers all tried their hands at it. They were all given supplies from the core gift wrap collection, called the Signature Collection—including ribbons, wrap, and trimmings—and then told to just go wild! A few dozen employees participated, and the fantastic results of their efforts are on display at the stores on 58th and Lexington Avenue and at the larger store at 18th Street and Sixth Avenue. Additionally, there are gowns and garments showcased at the company's Century City shop and at the mother ship, i.e., corporate headquarters, in Dallas; in all, 25 garments are on exhibited in the three stores with additional dresses on display in the Big D, where some of the frocks will actually strut down the catwalk (with humans inside them) at the company's holiday party.
The ingenuity of the Container Store's employees is inherently on display, along with the finished dresses, as it's a real treat to see what highly imaginative and inspired people can do with basically the same raw supplies—uh, that is to say, paper. They fold, they cut, they curl,they weave, they feather, they ruche, they twirl, they paste, they encircle, they crimp, they gather, they fringe, and...dare I go on? The cleverness on display is true inspiration for us all--O.K., well at least to me.
And if you want a little guidance for just plain old gift-wrapping (forget about making yourself a gown), then take advantage of the company's free, in-store gift-wrapping demos—every Saturday at 11am and 2pm; they reprise the lessons on Sunday at noon and 2pm. (Lessons continue through December 22nd.) Stock up now on their wondrous papers and trimmings. (Just as an aside, I have tried year after year to hit the store after Christmas, hoping to score a few of their beauteous wrappings discounted after the holidays—to save them for next year—but, in truth, the company apparently sells out its gift-wrapping stock completely, so now I buy at full price before Christmas!)