For those who don’t watch “Sex and the City,” subscribe to Vogue or live in New York City, Bergdorf Goodman’s is a 114-year-old department store that is positioned on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The store is considered the end-all/be-all for world-reknown fashion designers from around the world, and is privy to a high number of wealthy celebrity clients (Susan Lucci, Joan Rivers, Elizabeth Taylor in her prime).
“Scatter My Ashes” is a documentary on the history of Bergdorf’s, featuring spirited interviews with many designers in an attempt to help broaden the appeal of a fashion-forward department store to those whose closets are not loaded to the hilt with hat boxes and quarter-million-dollar mink sashes.
For the most part, filmmaker Matthew Miele does an admirable job in his efforts. Miele seems to have caught on that a 90-minute exposé on fashion might be better suited to the Style Network, so he mixes in scenes that give us perspective on how important it is for designers to have their work displayed at the iconic Fifth Avenue store, as well as many behind-the-scenes glimpses into what goes into the annual outdoor window displays, which are as important to New Yorkers as the murals at the Corn Palace are to the citizens of Mitchell, S.D.
Almost all of Miele’s interviewees are fun company to be around, and even if you don’t recognize the faces, you’ll definitely recognize the names (Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Oscar de le Renta and Isaac Mizrahi all turn up).
But the two most interesting interviews are a couple of Bergdorf employees whose job it is to keep B.G. on the top shelf: Linda Fargo, “Vice President of Visual Merchandise” (who tells an amusing anecdote about a passer-by who made the mistake of confusing her with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour) and David Hoey, the guy in charge of bringing those window displays to life.
With likable enough folk as these two on the payroll, you can understand why Bergdorf Goodman has succeeded and will continue to succeed for years to come.
★★★ out of ★★★★
Rated PG-13 for a couple of bad words and one see-through shirt. 93 minutes, 2013.
Director: Matthew Miele.
Read all of Jesse Hoheisel’s reviews at AFistfulofPopcorn.com.