Window Dressing

updated 12/21/1992 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/21/1992 01:00AM

ROSS PEROT IS POSED LIKE NAPOLEON, next to a Christmas tree made of money. Whoopi Goldberg wears a chic black dress with tennis shoes, and her Oscar sprouts dreadlocks. Queen Elizabeth has a fire extinguisher between her feet. "She's the ultimate female icon because everybody knows who she is, yet she remains an enigma," says Simon Doonan, 40, creative director of Barneys New York department store and the mind behind Manhattan's most talked-about Christmas windows. "Nobody," says fashion designer Donna Karan, whom Doonan also immortalizes this year, "does wittier windows."

Doonan has been casting the year's hottest celebrities in compromising positions since 1990. This year, he envisions a glamorous Roseanne Arnold with a photo of husband Tom around her neck; a grinning Dan Quayle, seated on a suitcase covered with Indiana slickers; and an eight-foot-tall Magic Johnson next to a Christmas tree decked with basketballs and condoms wrapped in gold foil. Although Doonan has received complaints about the condoms, he says, "We wanted to promote AIDS awareness, and Barneys supports my creative decisions."

The son of Belly and Terry Doonan, who both worked for the BBC, Simon grew up in Reading, England, and took the long road to Barneys. He landed there after working with the late fashion doyenne Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Supervising a staff of 30, he begins planning his Christmas windows, which are on display for six weeks, in April.

Still, late-breaking news can kill a mannequin. "We wanted to do Woody Allen as the quintessential Manhattan director, but after the Woody and Mia scandal, we felt whatever we did with him just wouldn't be funny," Doonan says. But most of the chosen are content with their caricatures. "My daughter thought my teeth were too big, but I didn't care," says super-homemaker Martha Stewart, who is seen swinging from a chandelier wearing a ball gown and a tool-kit apron. "I loved the body they gave me."

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