To some people, there's no such thing as too much glitter on Rodeo Drive. With Christmastime at hand, Beverly Hills has taken the art of holiday decoration to a new level. It has lined the...
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. To some people, there’s no such thing as too much glitter on Rodeo Drive.
With Christmastime at hand, Beverly Hills 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.
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To passers-by, it’s very Beverly Hills. But is it over the top?
Erin Doyle, 35, an office worker at a nearby hair-products firm, squinted thoughtfully overhead and offered the opinion that fancy chandeliers look odd on a public street.
“Well,” she said, “it’s all about ‘the look’ of Beverly Hills. Personally, I think they look kind of pretentious.”
To others, however, the display goes with the territory.
“The $50,000 watches were what we expected. But we didn’t expect this. It’s sort of like icing on the cake,” said awestruck Bob Bechta, 56, a first-time visitor from Stafford Springs, Conn.
His wife, Kathy, added: “They’re just beautiful. But if they were in our small town, they’d be totally out of place.”
From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, it’s a tradition in many towns to drape business districts with twinkling skeins of snowflake lights on trees and storefronts.
But on Rodeo Drive’s three-block stretch of swank emporiums, such décor 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 each, 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.
Yanique Barnes, assistant manager of Cole Haan shoes and accessories, is among many shopkeepers who applaud the overhead eye candy.
“I think it’s very elegant,” she said. “It goes well with the street. Anything that draws people and helps them enjoy the shopping experience is good.”
But a courtly 82-year-old man waiting for his wife to finish shopping was unmoved.
“I think they’re gilding the lily,” said the Westwood resident, who gave his name only as Ken. “They may make a statement to some people. I don’t know if it’s money well-spent on [Baccarat’s] part.”
Each multi-tiered 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. With controversy in recent years over the often-religious overtones of seasonal displays, officials said, part of the beauty of the chandeliers is that they’re nondenominational.
The display will end Jan. 2. The chandeliers will be taken down and sold at Geary’s and other retail outlets for Baccarat crystal and jewelry.