By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)
Perhaps I do not fall in the correct demographic for this film. I am in no way whatsoever a fashionista. I am a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy. I love to dress as comfortably as I possibly can, depending on the occasion. Still, as I ponder this documentary on the famous high-end, luxury department store in New York, I cannot really think of any reason to watch this mostly dull film which plays out like an extended advertisement. Honestly, why was this film made? Most real fashionistas who know and love Bergdorf Goodman probably won’t learn anything new by watching it. I can see young budding fashion gurus enjoying some of the history of the store which is very briefly touched upon and beholding the work of some of the most famous fashion designers in the film, but other than that, I am having a difficult time finding reasons to recommend the documentary.
As stated above, the movie does discuss some of the history behind what may be the most famous department store in fashion history. Founded in 1899, by Herman Bergdorf and later taken over by the Goodman family, the store has come to represent expensive luxury in clothing and shoes. Not any label can be sold there. They must meet the lofty standards which has been the tradition for many years. The Bergdorf Goodman name not only resonates in the fashion world, but also gets recognized for its appearance in the pop culture of television and film.
The film features narration by actor William Fichtner and appearances by designers such as Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, people who have worked in the store to maintain the integrity of the name such as Dawn Mello, Linda Fargo and Betty Halbreich, and famous clients such as Candice Bergen, Susan Lucci, and Joan Rivers. Designers, employees and customers all share stories regarding their connection with the store.
The film actually does have an interesting beginning, but just past the halfway mark I was pretty much bored with the content. The film basically is a glossy and glitzy infomercial promoting the store. Writer/director Matthew Miele does very little with the anecdotes, the history or even the future of Bergdorf Goodman. If this documentary is intended as a love letter to the Bergdorf Goodman experience, it succeeds in making the store look pretty and expensive. It reveals little else.