About 10 years ago or so I worked as an Area Sales Manager at the Downtown Crossing Filene's location.
(If you bought a handbag at Filene's Downtown Crossing location anytime from 1997-ish to 2002-ish, you bought it from me and my crew, but I digress... : )
There are so many things I wish I had taken pictures of when I had the chance roaming around the back halls of the old Filene's building but the building is mostly gone now and life moves on. I have made it a bit of a life challenge to never miss another opportunity to take pictures of neat things, (especially neat vintage things, visit my vintage blog at www.grrlpickers.com ) and now have a camera stashed in my bag everywhere I go.
I first encountered this chair many years ago when I passed it in back hall storage area at Filene's. I was excited when I first saw it and asked my boss if this was an old Santa chair and if the store was going to have a Santa that year. (There were no department store Santa's at either Filene's or Jordan Marsh/Macy's across the street during my years working in the area)
My boss informed me that as red and ornate the chair was, it was not ever used as Santa's seat. This chair had been manufactured and delivered to the store as part of a product launch (fragrance?) and was originally designed to seat not Santa but, Fabio.
I thought for sure she was kidding but nope, "The King of Romance" Fabio.
At first glance it appears to be an awesome Santa throne but upon closer inspection, one can see that there are no holiday references carved into it, in fact even the red fabric seems a little off for a holiday celebration and more appropriate for a coronation. Cherubic angel face below the seat? Not quite a North Pole elf...
For a couple of years the Fabio throne sat in the back halls of Filene's as a monument to the absurd excess that are most department store product launches (especially fragrance launches...) until one day, Tommy Hillfiger was due to arrive at the store to launch one of his products.
Fragrance? Men's pants? Tennis shoes? Who knows?...
What I do know is that this cahir was brought out of storage and used to seat 'his royal highness of ready to wear' for an instore event sometime 2000-ish.
Which brings us up to today (or a couple of days ago to be more precise). I now work for another business in Downtown Crossing and was passing by Macy's the other day when I saw an old friend.
"Hello Fabio chair! It's nice to see you again!" thought I.
About 3 days a week now around lunch time a really great Santa sits here outside Macy's and passer by are encouraged to use their own camera's and take all the free pictures with Santa that their hearts desire. It's a really nice thing that appears to completely confuse consumers more used to getting the hustle to buy something when walking through Downtown Crossing.
I have contemplated approaching him and telling him the history of the chair as I know it but he would undoubtedly, believe me to be one of the many 'assorted nuts' that roam the area and the very last thing I want to do is irritate Santa.
I want to stay on the good list this year...