19 April 2014 | l_rawjalaurence
Documentary About Manhattan's Iconic Fashion Emporium
SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORF'S looks at the interior workings of Manhattan's famous store, interviews some of their most celebrated employees and talks to a series of fashion designers and customers who have enjoyed an association with the store over the years. Divided into a series of sections - for example, looking at how designers get accepted, the business of selling, or the planning that goes into the Christmas window-dressing campaign - the documentary shows how the store maintains its aura of exclusivity, not just because of the outrageous prices it charges, but because of the way it treats its customers. Star salesperson Betty Halbreich tells her clients the truth about themselves, while persuading them to spend fantastic sums on clothing. In the shoe salon, staff take a conscious pride in selling what they perceive as top-of-the-range models. Running throughout the film is a narrative concentrating on Bergdorf's iconic window-displays for 2012 - entitled "The Carnival of the Animals," they are quite simply mind- boggling in their detail and richness, creating a never-never land of their own that draws customers as well as tourists and window-shoppers. The interviews with the fashion designers are perhaps the film's least interesting aspect; it is much more instructive to look at the way in which hard-edged buyer Linda Fargo both nurtures and directs potential designers; she knows what she wants, and is prepared to get it at any cost. While Miele's film celebrates the store's durability - it even managed to weather the 2008 economic crisis - it perhaps lacks a sense of historical background: we could have found out more about how and why it attained its prestige in the first place. It remains highly entertaining nonetheless.