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Bergdorf Goodman's Multimedia Celebration

The retailer is feting its anniversary with a film, a book and a special issue of BG Magazine.

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Bergdorf Goodman

Bergdorf Goodman is dedicating BG Magazine to the 111-year anniversary.

Photo By Courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Milestones issue 08/14/2012

The Bergdorf Goodman anniversary celebrations will be a multimedia experience — including a film, magazine and book.

The store is devoting BG Magazine, the quarterly title it publishes, to the milestone, which will take up 140 pages of the issue. A special section will focus on the women’s and men’s ready-to-wear and accessories created exclusively for the event. Akris, Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Marchesa, Valentino and Alexander McQueen are among the designers who have provided illustrations and quotes for their anniversary designs.

A classic cartoon from The New Yorker provided inspiration for a documentary that will be released to coincide with the anniversary. In the cartoon, a woman confesses that her lifelong dream is to have her ashes scattered at Bergdorf’s. The film and book take that thought as their titles. The documentary, "Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's," offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Fifth Avenue retailer.

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Director Matthew Miele, who has written and directed two feature films — “Everything’s Jake” and “Eavesdrop” — asked designers, celebrities, clients, current and former employees and fashion personalities such as Karl Lagerfeld, Candice Bergen, Lauren Bush Lauren, Mary-Kate Olsen, Michael Kors and Giorgio Armani to share personal stories, including what it was like to shop at Bergdorf’s as a child. Designers also provided a glimpse into what it’s like to present a collection for the first time to Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation, and the buying team.

The 90-minute film also has an inside look at the preparations behind the creation of the store’s famous holiday windows and a portrait of eccentric personal shopper Betty Halbreich, who has dressed the most powerful names in fashion, politics and entertainment for more than three decades. Final edits are being done now, in anticipation of the documentary’s premiere at the Paris Theatre during New York Fashion Week.

The book, "Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf Goodman" [Harper Collins] is mostly an anthology of fun, insider anecdotes. Employees recall celebrities and socialites visiting the store, like the time Grace Kelly discreetly popped in unattended to order her wedding invitations. Or the last-minute holiday gift shopping by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who had 70 furs delivered to the Dakota on Christmas eve.

Celebrities, too, contributed to the book, which was written by Sara James Mnookin, notably Carol Burnett recounting how she broke the austere mood by belting out one of her Tarzan calls, as she famously did on her television show. Joan Rivers writes about filming “The Muppets Take Manhattan” in the store, and some her antics with Miss Piggy.

Designers recall their early days selling Bergdorf’s, including Nancy Gonzalez who admits when Bergdorf’s first carried her bags in 1998, she bought two of them to get the buyers excited. Isaac Mizrahi says that as a student he was assigned to sketch the Bergdorf windows, felt foolish standing outside doing it, but learned to draw that way, and Albert Kriemler of Akris says that he wrote letters for five years to Dawn Mello, Bergdorf’s fashion director and subsequently president, before she finally visited his showroom.

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