October 21, 2016 by Caroline McFarland and Jill Patel
Macy’s in Center City held a magical event Tuesday, Oct. 18, ideal for any fan of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.
The otherworldly costumes used in the upcoming film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” were unveiled and put on display in their Grand Court. With a disc jockey, food arrangements inspired by the film, raffle opportunities and a giant step-and-repeat banner for photo-ops, the event was sure to be extraordinary right from the start.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is essentially a story that takes the viewer decades into the past, way before the world of Harry Potter as we know it even existed. J.K. Rowling was influenced by a Hogwarts textbook, written by character Newt Scamander, to create this film.
It features a lurking danger which takes place in the 1920s wizarding world of New York where something strange is set on destroying the secrecy of the wizarding community to the Second Salemers, a faction of muggles, who are set on diminishing wizards.
In the midst of the hazard, Scamander arrives after his global travels to research and aid magical creatures — some of which he personally safeguards in his leather case. The plot takes a turn for the worst as, within a city already brimming with unrest and tension, the character of Jacob Kowalski lets some of Scamander’s creatures loose into the world. As their journey continues, fear continues to expand and press the world of the Second Salemers against the wizarding community while destruction looms over the city as a whole.
About a half-hour before the event was supposed to begin, the costumes were already unveiled and on display in giant glass cases on mannequins that were about the height and size of the actors that portrayed them.
It was fascinating to see the detail put into each costume to truly emulate the spirit of the wizarding world as a whole. They had the costumes worn by Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Katherine Waterston (Porpentina Goldstein), Colin Farrell (Percival Graves), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski) and Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein).
Each costume perfectly exuded the 1920s ambience that the movie itself portrays and incorporated various aspects of New York style to capture the essence of the time period. From tailored, minimalist suits to a refined and modest dress, the costumes epitomized the polished fashion of the 1920s.
The costumes worked well alongside one another through the use of similar, simple colored fabrics and sophistication. A magical flair was included by the wizarding wands that some of the mannequins held to not only present who the characters were but also to tie together the theme of the event itself.
Employees set up an elaborate table inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, including snacks such as Fantastic Beasts which were essentially gummy dinosaurs, Cadbury Eggs resembling Fantastic Beast Eggs, chocolate covered pretzel “wizard wands,” gummy candy eyeballs as muggle eyes and chocolate covered popcorn claimed to be Beast Bites.
The food was displayed in miniature suitcases and boxes, next to plastic cups and paper bags. They also set up various refreshments: honey ginger lemonade, non-alcoholic apple cider sangria and cranberry apple iced tea. An exhibit of potions enhanced the magical and enchanting feel that the event manifested. The display allowed attendees to delve into the experience of the movie themselves.
People passing through the Grand Court flocked to the table to check out the snacks. The DJ started the event by playing some Harry Potter themed music, eventually expanding into general pop songs. Attendees showed up gradually, some enthusiastically dressed in wizarding costumes. Those in costumes were rewarded with a $10 Macy’s gift card.
A photographer took pictures of participants in front of the step-and-repeat banner, and next to the banner was a table where people could enter to win reserved seating at an advanced screening of the film. As the event continued and more people joined in on the festivities, the DJ gradually began to announce winners of the raffle and presented them with their prize.
Overall, the enchanted event was a success. Even those who weren’t fans of Harry Potter were intrigued by the event and stayed for the celebration of the movie. It was an occasion that all could enjoy and take part in no matter how extensive your Harry Potter knowledge may be.
Holding the event amidst a crowded Macy’s was an ideal tactic to attract all types of people whether they simply browsed the store or arrived in full costume to participate. The costumes will continue to be displayed in Macy’s windows through this week.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” hits theaters Nov.18. Be sure to watch the film to find out how the tension between the two worlds unravels.