The opening of Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s is reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada (2006), setting up a quick paced world of fashion. Instead of revolving around what pieces of clothing get chosen to be featured in a highly respected fashion magazine, this documentary is all about the Mecca of fashion: Bergdorf Goodman.
Matthew Miele directs a wonderful documentary even the fashion challenged can appreciate. If you love fashion, you will learn about the great store that Bergdorf’s is and all that it stands for, get insider tips on how the business of fashion works, as well as hear from other designers both up and coming and established on their experiences. If you don’t love fashion, you’ll find some interesting history, enjoy comical stories and maybe gain an appreciation for the art you didn’t love before.
In the documentary, Miele introduces audiences to several key players in the Bergdorf Goodman world, including Linda Fargo, David Hoey and Betty Halbreich.
Linda Fargo is the fashion director at Bergdorf’s. She is the woman behind the fashion, giving the green or red light to fashion designers dreaming of getting their fashion lines in the store. Fargo is the leader in predicting fashion trends, understands the poetry of the clothing and is incredibly approachable.
The film structure follows David Hoey, the senior director of visual production at Bergdorf’s as he prepares to out-do the window decorations of the previous holiday season. Hoey believes the windows aren’t just displays, but “frozen in time movies” where “the more you look at it, the more impressive it gets”. There are several windows and each are decorated with a different material. One window is all wood. Another is entirely made of paper. A third window is crafted out of glass. They’re all very intricately done. An amazing fact about the windows is that the backgrounds are created well before a piece of clothing is chosen to be the centerpiece for the window. In fact, sometimes Bergdorf’s pays a designer to create a piece of clothing specifically for a window.
Inbetween preparation of each of the windows, the film breaks off into sections telling the story of Bergdorf Goodman. The sections elaborated upon in the documentary include the designers, the windows, the building, getting in, the women, the Europeans and the business. One of the more interesting moments in the film is learning that the Goodman family actually lived on the top floor of the department store in a sixteen room apartment. Another is that Mr. Goodman once had a woman come into the high class store wearing rags carrying a plethora of bags to purchase an expensive fur coat with cash hidden in the many bags.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s features fashion gurus including Giorgio Armani,Candice Bergen, Manolo Blahnik, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Naeem Khan, Michael Kors, Karl Lagerfeld, Lauren Bush Lauren, Susan Lucci, Christian Louboutin, Catherine Malandrino, Gilles Mendel, Isaac Mizrahi, Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Thakoon Panichgul, Joan Rivers, Jason Wu and more, and is narrated by William Fichtner (Black Hawk Down, Crash). The documentary will be released on DVD August 27, 2013 by Entertainment One.