In 1990, a Victoria Roberts cartoon appeared in The New Yorker magazine that showed two women conversing over tea. The caption beneath the scene read, “I want my ashes scattered over Bergdorf’s.”
The Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York, which is casually called Bergdorf’s, is apparently the fashion cultists’ Vatican City. It is the pinnacle for all who are to be successful in the industry to reach. It is such a fixture within the New York City culture that it can be the understood punch line of a cartoon in a rather hoity-toity editorial. This documentary, swiping its title from the aforementioned cartoon, covers every aspect of the grandiose haberdashery and the status it has achieved across the boards.
As someone who knows little about fashion and simply hates shopping, I was still engaged by this film and found it very interesting. From the position the store holds in the fashion industry and the world-famous holiday window displays to the bombardment of celebrities sharing their experiences with Bergdorf’s, I was hooked. If you are familiar with the place, you are going to love this. If you aren’t, you soon will be. Don’t worry; it won’t be painful. It is a rather fun and interesting portrait of a whole other reality.
Obviously, anyone interested in the worlds of fashion and design shouldn’t miss this. There are clips from every other designer in the world chiming in about the place. From Karl Lagerfeld down, it is established that having your line in Bergdorf’s elevates you to higher fashion strata.
Linda Fargo is Bergdorf Goodman’s fashion director. She is featured prominently and openly lauded as a friendly, approachable sort-of anti-Anna Wintour (who, as Vogue’s editor-in- chief, has the reputation of being fashion’s “Ice Queen”).
There is a good amount of time spent showing what happens behind the scenes for the few months leading up to the unbelievably festive holiday window displays and, of course, a history of the family and their story is included as well.
The entire documentary isn’t just about fashion; the extra features on the DVD, however, are. A collection of interviews and segments that did not make the final cut are there for your viewing pleasure. To be honest, you can see why they are not in the actual documentary, but they were certainly entertaining none the less.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's is currently available on DVD.