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Starry, Starry Night

At the opening of the new Hugo Boss flagship store, the stars come in all shapes and sizes

Author Hunter R. Slaton

NEW YORK – A small multicolor splotch appears on each of the three massive video screens suspended from the ceiling of the Time Warner Center in New York City. Usually, the multistory atrium here affords commanding views of Columbus Circle and Central Park, but the looming overhead triptych has mostly obscured that—presenting instead a stylized version of the world beyond the windows.

Gradually the splotches grow, resolving into pointillist images of pedestrians, cars, trees, cityscape and sky, all generated using a laser mapping tool called Lidar (light + radar). “That is so cool,” says a slim, well-heeled blonde perched on tiptoe nearby, craning her neck to see.

The installation, by the artist Marco Brambilla, is titled “Anthropocene”—a term used to describe the current geological age, in which, as never before, big planetary shifts are being driven by a single species (us). Pretty heavy stuff, you might think, for the christening of a fashion outlet.

“We’ve been thinking about how best to represent Hugo Boss in Manhattan for several years,” says CEO Mark Brashear of tonight’s event, which is celebrating the grand opening of the company’s new flagship store here.

 Among those standing transfixed by the screens are Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, Natalie Suarez and new father Josh Duhamel, who has an incongruous infant onesie (a gift perhaps?) draped across his tuxedo-suited shoulders.

For the most part, the attention of the beautifully attired, champagne-sipping guests is fixed not on each other but on the screens. “The fact that people are being ‘transported’ into the park makes the work successful, I think,” Brambilla says.

Yet even the artist himself has to grant that the highlight of his evening is not the world premiere of his new work. What is it?

“Meeting Woody Allen for the first time,” Brambilla sheepishly admits.

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