Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

This week I watched the documentary, 'Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's' - a look into Manhattan's most exclusive and glamorous department store, Bergdorf Goodman, and the ultimate fashion fantasy and aspiration for designers. 

I was expecting to be greeted with a rich history about the store and the Bergdorf family, a fundamental aspect of the company, but this was merely skimmed over via an animation which, combined with the documentary's constant music, projected more of a infomercial feel, scattered with superficial 'insights' from designers and celebrities. This was disappointing as the documentary had potential but, rather than providing the audience with more of an insightful look into the legendary department store, simply felt like a promotion stunt for the department store, disguised as a documentary. 

'Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's' was undoubtedly humorous, mainly due to the inclusion of interviews with such designers and celebrities but it felt as though this was relied on a little too heavily, making the documentary feel far too comedic and less than informative - a balance which should have been reconsidered. 

However, what the documentary does deal with well is, unsurprisingly, the universal appeal and allure of fashion and retail, demonstrating how each and every person from anywhere around the world is hypnotised by the beauty of Bergdorf's and the lifestyle is has to offer. It shows how Bergdorf's and fashion is very much a collective experience 

What was also interesting were the glimpses we see of the preparation and build up to the 2011 Christmas window display, as Bergdorf's is notorious for its outlandish and extravagant displays. Here we see the admirable craftsmanship of those who work behind the scenes to create such fantastical props and structures, as well as the hard work and meticulousness of David Hoey and his team to source just the right pieces of antiquity to be featured in the windows. 

The inclusion of Bergdorf's staff is what perhaps saved the documentary which paints admirable portraits of key players such as buyer Linda Fargo and personal shopper Betty Halbreich. It was fascinating to see what both individuals require of them and what a standard day consists of. 

Overall I felt the documentary fell short of any true insight, resulting in a disappointing watch rather than something exciting and informative, of which I was expecting after having viewed the trailer.  

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