My earliest memory of Bergdorf Goodman? The windows, of course! For me, they are quintessential New York, and an important element of one of my favorite childhood landmarks. As a little girl, going to Bergdorf Goodman (BG, as the inner crowd calls it) was an experience – it was right up there with having tea at the Plaza Hotel with my Eloise doll.
Right after Thanksgiving, I’d start getting excited about NYC. Every year in December, my nana Martell and I took the train into Manhattan. Picture this……I’d wear one of my best dresses, black patent leather shoes and fur coat (PLEASE HOLD THE JUDGEMENT – I DIDN’T KNOW BETTER BACK THEN), and then there was my nana – equally dressed to the nines – smoking her cigs up and down 5th Ave.
A must stop for us was BG. As we approached the majestic building with the marble façade, I’d always proclaim that we’re going to spend an equal amount of time at each window and ask my nana not to rush me. I liked to day dream and would make up my own little story for each window. My inner artist was in full effect back then.
While this luxury 5th Ave department store certainly caters to the rich and famous, it was more about roaming around the store looking at all the amazing clothes for my nana and me. More than not, nana Martell didn’t buy anything, but on the rare occasion she did, it was usually for me J We went year after year because it was an experience, and I think it’s this way for many others.
Whether a person visits BG for the fashion and shopping, or just because it’s an experience. Whether you know BG from pop culture (Remember Barb’s song-n-dance?), or if you’re like me and have a profound love for the shoe salon……BG is an institution. That said, you can understand my excitement when I learned of Matthew Miele’s new documentary “.”
With my dear friend Alberti Popaj (Alterna Education Expert and beloved QVS personality) in toe, I attended the LA film screening. The film depicts the behind-the-scenes story of how a modest ladies’ tailor shop became the epicenter of global fashion. It reveals the inner workings of BG and how and why it’s so influential around the world.
Miele says, “When I started this project I realized immediately that Bergdorf’s is an institution that everyone from designers to customers talks about in the most reverential of terms. So that was our starting point: this incredible passion that this store is known for inspiring.”
He conducted 175 interviews of the crème de la crème of the fashion world. Once Karl Lagerfeld agreed to be interviewed for the film, an avalanche started with both new designers as well as icons like Armani, Kors, Louboutin, De La Renta, and Mizrahi all wanting to share their BG experience.
Within the BG family, there is a team of people that play an integral part in maintaining the brand. Let’s take BG’s magical windows. The genius behind them is David Hoey. Window Designer, David Hoey is responsible for turning window displays into gallery-worthy exhibits. The film highlights Hoey’s devotion to perfection and chronicles his process creating the 2011 holiday “Carnival of the Animals” display. For me, especially given my long-time love of the windows, it was exciting to learn what goes into making them come alive.
In addition to Hoey, the film highlights the untold stories of Linda Fargo and Betty Halbreich.
Fashion Director Linda Fargo, a.k.a. Bergdorf’s gate keeper. This lady has the power to make or break the career of a new designer. The film highlights Fargo’s kind and nurturing demeanor toward young designers, and what it’s like to be one of the few lucky to get selected by her. Viewers will get a look inside Fargo’s decision-making process.
Personal Shopper Betty Halbreich tells it like it is no matter who the client is. A fixture since 1970, she’s known for her no-holds-barred advice, and celebs like Joan Rivers, Candice Bergen, Susan Lucci and NY stylist Patricia Field (“Sex and the City” and THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.) love her for it.
Bergdorf Goodman is loved by many – and not just by fashionistas, designers and those with deep pockets. It’s for the average American like my nana and me who like to dream and appreciate beautiful things. If you love fashion and art, then you’ll enjoy this film. You’ll get an up close and personal look into a world that doesn’t allow itself to be seen very often. The film opens up this week in select markets.
Kristin Martell is a Pacific Punch Correspondent and Author of Damn the Odds. A recent Los Angeles transplant from Washington, DC, she’s pursuing her dream of acting while working as a PR consultant. Visit her at www.damntheodds.com. Follow the Pacific Punch on twitter @ThePacificPunch.