“Being able to shop at Bergdorf-Goodman is an aphrodisiac.” — celebrity stylist Robert Verdi
The one-of-a-kind mecca of materialism at the corner of Manhattan’s 5th Avenue and 58th Street is practically an erotic destination for society’s wealthiest and most stylish personalities. But for other mere mortals, the store’s magnificent window displays are the closest they’ll get to the fabulous designs inside — 1.5 million walk by and gawk each week.
Director Matthew Miele followed David Hoey, Bergdorf-Goodman’s senior director of visual presentation, and his team during their holiday window preparations in 2011 as part of his documentary about the store’s legendary mystique, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s. “The windows are sort of an embodiment of the personality of the store, the fashion Id of the store, in a way,” says Hoey, who’s been conceiving and creating Bergdorf’s windows for nearly 17 years. “You have to think of three levels of scale. Windows have to look interesting from across the street. Then they have to look good from the sidewalk. But then there’s a whole other layer of interest, which is up close.”
Thanks to his elaborate and artistically thoughtful displays, Hoey is a revered pillar of the New York fashion scene. (Yes, that’s his name on the doc’s poster, above Marc Jacobs and even with Giorgio Armani.) “A good window dresser is really pretending that he’s doing many other professions: You’re doing fashion, you’re doing theater, advertising, and you’re a story-teller,” says Hoey. “On the professional spectrum, window dresser is somewhere between industrial engineer and cake decorator.”
During the course of the year, Hoey supervises the decoration of hundreds of store windows, with the famous holiday displays taking months to prepare. Crowds flock to 5th and 58th the day they’re unveiled, but Hoey isn’t able to bask in the success. “Believe it or not, in my case, I’m thinking about the next year immediately,” he says. “Once they’re revealed, we almost immediately begin the next set. We’re our own harshest critics.”
Click below to see an exclusive scene from Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf‘s that takes you behind the store’s holiday glass.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, which also includes interviews with Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar De La Renta, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenberg, Georgina Chapman, Christian Louboutin, Linda Fargo, and Betty Halbreich, will open in select theaters on May 3.
Here’s the trailer.