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4.4 out of 5 stars
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Being someone who watches documentaries about every conceivable subject, I like to speculate about how much cross-over appeal a movie might have. Some documentaries strike such a universal chord, they can be embraced by a diverse array of viewers. Others may have a more specialized allure. Matthew Miele's "Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's" might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is practically essential entertainment if you follow fashion and/or if you're a shopping enthusiast. Profiling New York's legendary department store Bergdorf Goodman, this star studded affair is a veritable who's who of the fashion world. From designers to celebrity clientele, dozens upon dozens of well known personages weigh in on what has made this shopping destination such an iconic and elite spot.

It would be virtually impossible to rattle off the names of every contributor to this project, but here's a sampling of some of the bigger ones: Designers include Giorgio Armani, Michael Kors, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, and Dolce & Gabbana. Clients include Joan Rivers, Candice Bergin, and Susan Lucci. But these are only a fraction of the subjects interviewed. The list of established, as well as up-and-coming, designers included is truly astounding. Each is committed to the notion that Bergdorf's is the absolute pinnacle of the fashion world. If your line is there, you've really made it.

Aside from these testimonials, the documentary offers a nice amount of behind-the-scenes footage. We get a historical time line as the Bergdorf's legend evolved, get to know the head buyer and taste maker of the store, meet one of the shop's most notorious personal shoppers, and spend a few months with the team readying the dazzling Christmas window display. From an artistic standpoint, watching the windows move from concept to execution is one of the film's highlights. It is really a spectacular sight.

From a technical standpoint, the movie uses an occasional narration from actor William Fichtner. Truthfully, I found this device a little awkward and unnecessary. As Fichtner's voice only chimes in sporadically, I always found it a bit jarring. However, it's a small point. The film is edited together with efficiency and moves at a brisk pace. The soundtrack adds dimension (with a shout-out to Streisand), and the feature uses a generous and diverse array of movie and TV clips that have featured the legendary establishment. Having no particular pre-existing interest in Bergdorf Goodman, I still found this to be an amusing and lighthearted entertainment. If you aren't a fashionista, you can still enjoy the movie. But if you are, you won't want to miss it! KGHarris, 8/13.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
The fabled Department Store Bergdorf Goodman is profiled here, and this is a behind the scenes look at it, and it is fascinating. If you love fashion, as I do, and labels, as I do, you will LOVE this video. I've shopped there before, and had personal shoppers before, but had NO IDEA the amount of money they make, nor the amount of money these big moneyed customers drop at a single shopping trip (amazing!). If you're fascinated by the uber-rich and their world, you will eat this UP.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
I'm not into fashion at all, but I loved this documentary. I am also in love with everything New York City and nothing is more New York then Bergdorfs. Even though I could never afford to buy anything in Bergdorfs it is still a fascinating place to visit and see how the other half lives.

The people in this documentary were fascinating and the film does a good job moving from subject to subject in a quick pace. I thought this film would bore me, but it was quite the opposite due to the skill of the filmakers. Great documentary for anyone who is into fashion or people who love New York history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
This was a tres fun documentary about NYC stalwart Bergdorf's. How I enjoyed it! How I wanted to book a flight from the hideous redneck hellhole I'm currently stuck in, order a glass of champagne on the flight, all the while cooing into my cellphone "Make me an appointment with your best personal shopper, STAT!" Then put on my dark sunglasses and flee undercover of night, my two kitty carriers my only betrayal as to identity as I board my private jet to my new life of glamour and rich lover(s).

Anyhoo, if you enjoy following high fashion as I do, this is the documentary for you. Isaac Mizrahi is particularly bitchy, and it's really funny. I enjoyed the whole darn thing, and it was hilarious, as are the incredibly stupid reactions some people have had to it in the comments. Ahhhh, Bergdorf's. Someday we will be together again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
For anyone who loves the store and has a love of fashion, you really get a sense of behind the scenes and what it matters to the designers themselves who feel honoured to have their pieces there
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Wow!!! I have been waiting for this film since I heard about the book. This is for every fashionista out there.

It is stellar as a production and the behind the scenes look at this emporium of luxury and glamour is so exciting.

I have shopped here years ago without ever knowing how much of a unique experience being there really was; I was not
overwhelmed but rather rejoiced in all the beauty surrounding me there.

This film is gorgeous!!!! BG is gorgeous as a store! And as they say in the film, you need not be rich to shop there.

Funny thing, the window displays were heavily emphasized in this film and like the famous personal shopper, Betty, I as
a patron never looked at them, just opened a door and entered a world filled with luxury that made me joyous.

Bravo to all who took part in this film. Can't wait to own it as a DVD. It is a very delightful experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
The world we see in "Scatter My Ashes..." is one that I grew up in, so I was very interested to view the movie. But after watching an hour and a half of such intense, silly, self-centered, deliberately self-insulating and alienating behavior, I was (sorry, our side)kind of sick. One speaker in particular summed up the callousness that is required to live that way...you'll catch it if you watch the film...but many, many voice "the concupiscence of the oppressor."
Certainly, you can see it, and be amused. It has lots of "pretty." The music is often, but not always, good. Thematically, however,it is not strong or very cogent. For example, the periodic return to the process of windows being created for one year's Christmastime display was, overall, not enough to hold repeated interest. But - rent it. You meet many personalities already known to you by name; and as a saving grace for BG, you can get a sense of Linda Fargo's pure heart; she really just loves beautiful things.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2014
Format: DVD
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2014
Format: DVD
The most impressive part of the documentary “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's” is the names of people who agreed to be interviewed. The list is quite long, including fashion designers like Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Isaac Mizrahi and Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, and actresses like Joan Rivers, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Unfortunately, what they have to say before the camera is mostly not very interesting, except for a few amusing episodes.

The film consists of a series of loosely thematically connected segments, each of which deals with several aspects of the Manhattan department store, such as aspiring designers trying to “get in” or the backstage of window display design. The film has lots of visuals and some interesting people like delightfully sharp-tongued personal shopper Betty Halbreich.

But to me, the film does not seem to know what it really wants to say about the potentially intriguing subject matter. What is worse, each segment of the episodic film is not really revealing.

So, what do we learn about Bergdorf Goodman after watching the film? Sorry, but we learn not much. “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's” tells us a bit about its history (not enough), a bit about celebrity customers (interesting but not enough again) and how business is done (not enough). The film shows a lot about the New York high-end department store, but not much about what makes it a special place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2013
Format: DVD
I found this to be a very slow, fairly dull documentary. The store looks beautiful and you do learn some interesting things about high-end retail and the people who work there but that's about it. You don't really learn why Bergdorf's is more special than other high-end retailers.

The film was separated into different themes (each with it's own title) but this meant a scene didn't always logically flow into the next. The camera work seemed a little off-kilter. Most noticeable, everyone on screen seemed to lack energy, even some of the celebrities who were interviewed.
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