Film review: ‘Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s’ profiles an institution

SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORF'S

‘Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s’
Director: Matthew Miele
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG-13
2 (out of 5) Globes

A glossy, 90-minute infomercial for Bergdorf Goodman — New York City’s most luxurious retailer — this self-serving documentary will best be appreciated by fashionistas who strive and aspire to live the fantasy inspired by the store. Unfolding as a series of various chapters, “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” takes viewers behind the scenes of the exclusive store without revealing anything particularly special. The parts here are greater than the whole.

Viewers meet Linda Fargo, the store’s fashion director, who recounts once being mistaken for Anna Wintour. She counsels designers and shows and tells how exclusive lines are bought and developed. In contrast, artists and decorators are seen busily developing the holiday display “Carnival of the Animals.” But even for those wowed by the store’s celebrated windows, this running vignette grows tiresome and repetitive.

Celebrities including Susan Lucci and Candice Bergen reveal their passion for the store, and name designers from Michael Kors to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen emphasize the value of being represented by Bergdorf’s. Various sales associates recount famous celebrity encounters, too: from Liz Taylor’s visit, or when a very slow Christmas came to a very good end after John and Yoko bought 70 furs.

And speaking of either cache or cash, viewers might gasp to learn how much a Bergdorf’s sales associate earns. The film’s best sequence showcases Betty, a personal shopper whose wry and honest approach to selling has become justifiably legendary. Viewers will crave her advice (and fashion sense), and admire her sharp tongue.

The store itself is less well showcased. Its history and the 16-room apartment perched on top of the building are discussed, albeit rather dryly. The famous shoe salon — aka every girl’s dream — is shown, but what resonates is that they have trouble keeping a pair of $6,000 shoes in stock. This anecdote proves the film’s point: Bergdorf customers do indeed have a deep emotional connection to the store’s clothes. But it is hard to develop a deep, emotional connection to this film, which makes viewers feel like window-shoppers once removed.

Moreover, no one in “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” has a bad thing to say about the store, which suggests that Bergdorf’s is a magical place for its wealthy, discerning clientele — and the bag lady who once pulled out thousands of dollars to purchase a fur coat, much to the shock and delight of the associate trying to get her away from the high-priced merchandise.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dr. Dre is king of hip hop with…

With $620 million in estimated pre-tax earnings, veteran rapper and record producer Dr. Dre topped Forbes list as the highest paid hip hop artist, ousting Sean "Diddy" Combs from the…

News

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in U.S.…

A seemingly unrepentant Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in New York following his conviction on terrorism charges.

National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Television

Craig Ferguson wants you to see his new…

Craig Ferguson thinks his new game show will become "a comedy show in which a game is played and money is won."

Television

Anthony Anderson on dealing with your 'ish'

Anthony Anderson discusses finding the humor in his "Black-ish" family.

Gossip

Photos: See who Robert Pattinson was caught holding…

Robert Pattinson has a new girlfriend.

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

MLB

Bud Selig honors Derek Jeter as both prepare…

Bud Selig’s 22-year reign as commissioner will end Sunday, and while it’s had its share of negative moments, it also had Derek Jeter.

NFL

Column: Geno Smith not the answer for Jets…

There were highs for Jets quarterback Geno Smith in Monday night’s loss to the Bears and there were incredible lows.

NFL

3 things that went right in Jets loss…

It wasn't the result the Jets wanted, a 27-19 loss to the Bears, but this team deserves some credit.

Sports

Here's the 8 best and worst sporting goodbyes

With Derek Jeter set to retire following the 2014 Major League Baseball season, we look back at some of the great and not-so-great sporting goodbyes.

Home

NYC fall real estate hot list

The upcoming developments and areas everyone's buzzing about.

Style

Milan Fashion Week shows the best of Italian…

Metro rounds up the cut of the collections at Milan Fashion Week.

Tech

The 2014 Maker Faire saw robots, printers and…

Got a broken button maker? There’s a fix for that – and Tony Stanzione of the Fixers’ Collective says he can show you how.

Parenting

First look: Uniqlo's fall/winter 2014 kids collection

Get a sneak peek at Uniqlo's kids and babies fall/winter 2014 line.