New York Fashion Week may be over (at least, until it picks up again in February), but for Saks Fifth Avenue’s Windows Director, Raylin Diaz Suarez, his work is really just starting.
During the holiday season, Raylin and his team need to up their game, especially with other luxury Fifth Avenue Stores like Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman doing the same.
“The holiday windows prep takes almost the whole year from the starting point, concept steps, to the execution process,” explains Diaz. Once a theme is finalized, the creative process begins and it’s all hands on deck.
While Diaz has certainly landed his ‘dream’ job, it didn’t just fall into his lap. Like all major players in the fashion world, he had to pay his dues. After graduating with a bachelor degree in Architecture in 2008, Diaz moved to New York for his masters at Parsons.
Another unique challenge for Diaz was language. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Raylin wasn't only getting a masters at Parsons; he was learning to master the English language, as his mother tongue is Spanish.
Soon enough, he landed an opportunity with Sully Bonnelly, one of the few CFDA Dominican Fashion Designers based in New York. Raylin was in charge of the visual production for her seasonal fashion week shows.
Shortly thereafter, he found his way to the DVF—Diane Von Furstenberg—team. He started off as a visual coordinator but soon rose the ranks of Lead of Visual Presentation. This meant designing the windows for not only DVF’s Meatpacking location, but her global stores as well.
For Diaz, his years working under Diane Von Furstenberg really helped shape his career and take his creative approach to the next level. “Diane was a big mentor at the beginning of my career,” Raylin notes, further adding that under her watch, he learned how to translate creative ideas into reality.
The fashion industry is sometimes described as being cut throat, but this wasn’t Diaz’s experience. “Diane always pushed each member of our time to give the best of their talent, and to listen and respect everyone’s opinion.” Describing his time at DVF as a profound learning experience, it also empowered him to be a team player.
After DVF, Diaz began his work for Saks Fifth Avenue, bringing their window displays from concept to fruition. “A window display tells a story; it is an opportunity to dream and create a more surreal moment,” he describes.
A display can be simple or complicated, but it needs to tell a story in the instant a person passes by. “What is captivating about the window display is that our work is up for interpretation; is like 3D art,” Raylin explains.
So what exactly makes a window display stand out? According to Diaz, it should literally stop traffic. “It’s not only about creating a beautiful story; it’s also a tool to showcase new trends, store merchandise, and products.” He also notes that it should elevate the product and bring your eyes directly to the product.
Raylin is stying mum about this season’s holiday theme but if it’s anything like last year’s, which included several windows celebrating the 80th anniversary of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, we’re in for a real treat. After all, last year’s collaboration brought on board custom gowns from Alberta Ferretti, Marchesa, Naeem Khan, and Monique Lhuillier, all inspired by the classic fairytale.