There a few iconic department stores throughout the world that are destination places in, and of themselves: Harrods’s and Harvey Nichols, London; Galleries Lafayette, Paris; David Jones, Sydney; KaDeWe, Berlin; (and once magnificent, now defunct, Marshall Field’s, Chicago); none can touch the mythical, legendary reputation cemented by Bergdorf Goodman in New York City; it is the crystallization of glamour, epitome of possession; a monument to unimaginable success in design and the lionization of the “purchasing power” of the consumer.
This colossal enterprise germinated from two ambitious tailors: Herman Bergdorf and Edwin Goodman, never envisioning the magnitude of their success when their store opened in 1899 . In 1914 they were the first to initiate Ready-to Wear; fortune “reigns” on every designer blessed with the “gilt” of approval from Bergdorf Goodman: Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Georgio Armani, Olsen Twins, Jason Wu, Vera Wang a few among the many. The rich and the famous are key sources of public relations: Susan Lucci, Candace Bergen, Joan Rivers and those whose lights have dimmed: Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon.
“Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” ( Victoria Roberts, New Yorker cartoon) is delightfully flawed fluff, but compensated by the Merlin of 57th Street, David Hoey, a visionary who creates the windows that mesmerize multitudes at the holiday season; super -saleswoman Betty Halbreich, whose blatant honesty and chutzpah garnish a six -figure yearly income; Linda Fargo, spectacular, stylish, 75-watt smile, vice president, king- and –queen- maker at Bergdorf’s; her flair and prescient insights inform the world of “what-to-wear”, her power resonates universally.
A major irritant was the ubiquitous bastardization of the word “like”; a colloquialism that is destroying proper grammar; Ms. Fargo with her wit and intelligence should eliminate this affliction, affecting the masses. Longed for more depth, history on the founders and their families; there was enough to water the fashion buds, but rootless, historically.
The film is stunning in depicting the transformative, electric force emanating from Bergdorf’s formidable aisles; without spending a cent, just wandering through the wonderland of extravagantly displayed merchandise: shoes, gowns, jewelry beyond beauty, beyond owning but amazingly Bergdorf Goodman’s doors are open, embracing everyone, regardless of demographics, monetary girth; for a fleeting moment, miraculously, a store eases the tribulations of the day; lightens one’s step; euphorically, jubilantly, wallowing in the “glory of it all”.
I saw Joan Rivers there on two separate occasions…she could have escaped from or to a window display.
Long live BG!
Down with “like”!
Mara, “like” disease is an epidemic; truly driving me “like” crazy! Funny comment, thanks P.
Sounds like a good one to see, particularly for those of us who love fashion.
The other day I was looking for an old review of yours, you have done so many !!!! You are truly amazing, Peneflix!
You have saved many of us from seeing some very bad films, and, encouraged us to see some fabulous ones! Thank you!
I could not do this without the support of so many readers; you always add a glow to my life! Thank you, P.
Thanks for the review. Do you know where “Ashes” is playing?
I enjoy reading your reviews the vocabulary is amazing sounds like a good thank you for your efforts in bringing us the reviews.
You are so welcome, dear Rosa. P.