680 Madison Ave., New York City
On Manhattan’s tony Madison Avenue, diamond rings stuffed into fresh flowers are de rigueur when it comes to creative window dressing. So you can imagine the stir Aaron Basha is causing with his Willy-Wonka–meets–Barnum-and-Bailey displays. At first, it’s the pop-art colors and candy props that catch your eye. But look closer, and you’ll see the jewelry—Basha’s signature gold-and-diamond charms. Fittingly, they’re stuck, just like a child’s tongue, to a lollipop.
“Our collection is all about fun, whimsical, smiles, playful, childlike—you know, it’s a circus,” explains president Sasson Basha. “And we figure that since our jewelry almost looks like candy, then why not actually bring candy into our windows to express what we do? Our philosophy is we take fun very seriously.”
Displays of Confection
Because we know you’re wondering, yes, it’s all real: taffy, old-fashioned hard candy sticks, whirly pops, gumballs, and more. And the staff doesn’t hoard it all for themselves, though Basha says they all have “big-time” sweet tooths. “You don’t really need a coupon to cash in any of the sweets,” he jokes, referring to the rolls of pink raffle tickets. “Every kid that passes by, it’s like, ‘Candy!’ They freak out,” says Basha. “It’s all about bringing kids in. Our jewelry represents kids.” And, presumably, Mom—who will stop to peruse Basha’s high-end accessories while Junior is working his way toward a major sugar high.
The store switches up the windows five to seven times a year. “We have a few designers we work with. We toss up ideas—naturally, all the ideas come from our jewelry,” says Basha of their charms, which range from $300 to $18,000. “We have our new zodiacs that we just came up with. We have our prince frog and our princess frog—that’s another idea that could be developed. We’ve got the ladybugs that are all about good luck. That’s another theme. Our Christmas windows were about the evil eyes. People love the windows; they talk about them. It’s not normal. Yeah, well, it’s Aaron Basha!”