It has become traditional as June wears on for Bleecker Street's boutiques to give a nod to the West Village's traditional but slowly vanishing character. This year, the 1969 Stonewall riots, which started the modern Gay Rights movement and took place only a few blocks from Bleecker, hit their big 40th anniversary.
Marc Jacobs, for one, has typically recognized Gay Pride, and this year he has festooned his women's and Accessory stores with rainbow graffiti and slogans. Thankfully, it appears that he has avoided revisiting last year's poorly received "Rebel Pride" t-shirt.
Now that he has even more Bleecker frontage, Ralph Lauren has upgraded his displays from the clever but spare racks of Polo shirts arranged in rainbow formation he has used in recent years. This year, he has added a more dynamic window design promoting a $10 "Live Colorful" tote bag his stores are selling to benefit the Hetrick Martin Institute. The bags read "I Kiss Girls" or "I Kiss Boys" depending on whom you feel like kissing (presumably, bisexuals will be encouraged to buy both).
Interestingly, the most respectful commemoration is not in the West Village, but a neighborhood away in SoHo, where Bloomingdale's has installed windows specifically referencing the uprisings that began at the Stonewall Inn. Mannequins free of merchandise depicting a retro Christopher Street scene are affectionately styled as West Village stereotypes (OK, the Madonna t-shirt is slightly less retro, but entirely appropriate) recalling some of the recently republished photographs of the riots including a protesting drag queen carrying a placard with her rebel cry:
We wear our hair in curls!
We wear our dungarees
Above our nelly knees!