Founded in 1899, Bergdorf Goodman is an exclusive New York department store, stocked with luxury brands and bent on catering to an elite clientele of upper-crust Manhattanites. Most people going into this documentary about the preferred shopping spot for Gotham’s gold-card-carrying crème de la crème will know that already; the tragedy is that they’ll leave having learned little more. Director Matthew Miele squeezes in slivers of the store’s history—the historic night in the 1970s when John Lennon and Yoko Ono bought a small fortune in fur coats—but much of the focus falls on glowing testimonials from famous customers like the Olsen twins and designers like Dolce and Gabbana, all of whom speak of the retail mecca as the place to be.
What interest Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s does generate comes from the sections devoted to a pair of staff fixtures: Linda Fargo and David Hoey. The former is the store’s smiling, exacting senior vice president, who has the final word as to which designers make it to the floor and which have to settle for Barneys. (One of the film’s few tense moments showcases her delivering a polite, firm rejection to a team that almost makes the cut.) The latter designs the store’s famed window displays, thoughtful works of art that beautifully complement products with already-sterling reputations. Alas, the same description can’t be applied to Miele’s tribute.
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