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Life Arts

"Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's"?

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(Article changed on May 26, 2013 at 17:30)

                                              From Luxury Jewelry and Fashion Shopping at International Gem & Jewelry Show
Luxury Jewelry and Fashion Shopping at International Gem & Jewelry Show by InterGem Jewelry

Luxury Jewelry and Fashion Shopping at International Gem & Jewelry Show by InterGem Jewelry

One brief clip in this fluffy, boring film I saw today, just out of masochism for however materialistic I am, implies that my  ashes would be swept up more quickly than you can say "pig" and disposed of in Bergdorf Goodman's tony garbage receptacles.

     In that clip, the boss leaves a message for an employee that there's a dead fly on one of the window seats, which is disposed of by the employee's underling more quickly than you can say any four-letter word.

     Bergdorf's was actually purchased by the Neiman Marcus group some time ago and is considered their crown jewel. I wondered to myself whether I could afford the very cheapest item in the store, whatever that was--an ostrich feather perhaps?

     The history of the store is so boring I couldn't concentrate, except that I think they said that the block-long building used to be the Vanderbilt palace. A photo of their young son bringing some friends home to play after school is offered, accompanied by totally banal commentary--something like "Wow, can you imagine being one of those friends?"

     To give you an idea about those $6,000 red glittery spikes, my friend the jewelry designer, who exhibits at Bloomingdale's, is told to jack up the price(s) she wants three times, and she'll get it if she makes any sales and invoices for them. Bloomie's gets the dough first. Therefore, those spikes actually cost at least $2,000, so don't be so aghast the next time you find them at TJ's for that price and are horrified. Shall we think fair trade? Not for the source of the shoes, a middleman. You can be sure that if they were made in China, no more than one penny will get back to the real source.

     Where are those glitzy spikes actually manufactured? Who cares? Somebody gets ripped off hugely. Us. Didn't you read about Apple keeping its money in Ireland to avoid paying taxes to the homeland? You need pay no taxes on your billions as long as you keep them out of the country. Does that make any sense? Another behemoth avoided paying a cent in taxes back in 2010. Who pays those taxes? Us.

     Because the government has to keep going somehow. So some states guarantee that the poorest of the poor will not benefit from ACA by refusing to add to the funding they allocate to Medicaid. Looks like nothing will be left to trickle down. Instead of "bottom-up," it's "vomit-up" whatever we've got. Dig deeper into those pockets with holes in them.

     Back to the film, that documentary about the top one percent paying $50,000 for a Bergdorf's pillbox. I mean real pillbox, not the hat they sold to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, which she was wearing--from Bergdorf's--the day JFK was shot.

     Then there is the anecdote about Yoko Ono telling Bergdorf's fur department to send someone over on Christmas Eve because John Lennon wants to buy her some furs. That's puzzling even for Snobs UnLtd., but they manage and, after waiting two hours for John to come home, surprise, forty pieces are purchased for the happy couple and their friends and relatives. Bergdorf's is happy, too, so Merry Christmas, even considering the huge overhead of paying staff to hang out there (overtime?).

     Then, the day Elizabeth Taylor stops in for some furs, she asks if they have any mink earmuffs. When they say yes despondently, she orders four hundred pairs, perhaps for each day she was married to Richard Burton before he dropped dead from so many one-night stands. Sorry. Very bad joke based on something he said once. She actually was buying Christmas gifts too.

     Actually, I believe that the couple was together longer than four hundred nights but am too lazy and bored to Google for this information.

     There is lengthy footage on Bergdorf's windows, those tableaux vivants that coat their mannequins with Swarovski crystals, inter alia, small units of them in droves. The cost of one of those windows, which are changed several times during the year, would feed several developing countries for God knows how long--these statistics were not provided in the film.

     You need window designers, who charge a lot since they are crème-de-la crème, and props, which are purchased from only the highest-end emporiums (emporia?), not from the Internet. And what they do creatively with those props is wallet-boggling.

     Our favorite designers, most of whom I never heard of, are interviewed amid their "lines." If, like Isaac Mizrahi, you condescend to work with someplace like Target, forget it. My favorites, Ralph Lauren and Jones New York, are not even mentioned. So much for my taste in clothing and my budget; I only buy on sale. One designer made it to Bergdorf's shelves by flaunting Saks's interest in her wares. Presto! Bingo! The Valhalla's doors open.

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A jack of some trades, writing and editing among them, Marta Steele, an admitted and proud holdover from the late sixties, returned to activism ten years ago after first establishing her skills as a college [mostly adjunct] professor in three (more...)
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