At the movies

‘Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s’ brings out the bold faced names


Who isn’t in the new documentary Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s? The cast reads like a front-row seating chart at New York’s Fashion Week.

Anyone who’s ever picked up a copy of Vogue will recognize the stable of designers featured: Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Christian Louboutin to Rachel Zoe and the Olsen twins.

They all were on hand to support the movie, an homage to the famed New York City department store whose title is based on a 1990 New Yorker cartoon.

Director Matthew Miele also interviewed fans of nice clothing: Susan Lucci, Candice Bergen and Joan Rivers, who provides some comic relief with, “People who take fashion seriously are idiots.”

But few dared utter a bad word against the mighty Bergdorf Goodman.

“Once you make it in America, that’s where you shop,” says Miele. “People hold out for the moment they can go there. It’s a place to find beautiful things.”

Miele is originally from New Jersey but grew up visiting the store’s lushly decorated window displays during Christmastime. He first thought about making a documentary on the window dressers, but the story evolved.

“My antenna went up. I decided to put together a living archive of sorts by anyone who’s been impacted by the store over time.”

The film goes over the history of the luxury shopping mecca, founded in 1899 by French tailor Herman Bergdorf and his apprentice Edwin Goodman. The store moved to its present Fifth Avenue location in 1928, on the site of the Vanderbilt mansion.

“They designed it like a home away from home. They wanted it to feel like your living room,” says Miele, who is married with a 1-year-old son.

He acknowledges the economy may put a crimp on regular folks’ plans of shopping at a place that charges $350 for a cotton top.

“Yes, people may say, ‘Why are we talking this up now?’ But one of the strongest points is that Bergdorf’s tradition hasn’t wavered. Not many stores have taken that mantle of excellence. It’s one of a kind. They haven’t made a chain. This is it.” (It’s presently owned by Neiman Marcus).

Nabbing all the stars to chat wasn’t as hard as it seems.

“Once Karl Lagerfeld said ‘yes,’ everyone kind of wanted to come to the party,” says Miele.

Of the prickly Chanel creative director: “He was probably the most intimidating. There was this whole prelude to his arrival. His publicist said he won’t answer any of your questions. But once he got there, he was a total comedian. He had us rolling.”

As for Miele’s shopping experience in the hallowed halls?

“I got no perks, nothing!” he says, laughing. “My wife bought me a tie for the premiere from the men’s department, that’s it.”

Madeleine Marr

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