Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's (2013)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Sociology  |   Release Date - May 3, 2013 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Cammila Collar

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's is a reasonably entertaining and at times compelling film, giving audiences a peek inside the legendary New York luxury store Bergdorf Goodman, an institution with the power to provide top-tier status to up-and-coming designers for whom the chance to sell their goods within its hallowed walls is a true "big break."

The movie is divided neatly into segments about various points of interest: the shop's famously ornate window displays; its storied history with celebs like Jackie Kennedy and Liz Taylor; its chic and charismatic senior vice president Linda Fargo (Bergdorf's far more lively answer to Anna Wintour), beloved veteran personal shopper Betty Halbreich, etc. Some of these vignettes are more interesting than others, with most of the content presented in the form of copious interviews with the usual cast of characters, like Lynn Yaeger, Rachel Zoe, Iris Apfel, and Patricia Field, as well as designers such as Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin, Vera Wang, and Oscar de la Renta.

The reason these luminaries can so easily be described as "regulars" is that there have been a number of documentaries about the fashion industry in recent years, all of which seem to trot out the same individuals to make similar observations. We've seen the world of luxury and design explored through biographies of designers (Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston), the pages of Vogue (The September Issue), and the career of a quirky street photographer (Bill Cunningham New York). And while this movie is perfectly watchable, it's worth noting that most of those other films are more enthralling than Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's, which, for a documentary ostensibly about opulence, is surprisingly modest and muted in tone.