(All photos courtesy of HarperCollins and Bergdorf Goodman)
If you're a fashion-lover (or shopaholic—tomatoes, tomahtoes) and have ever been in or around New York City, chances are you've put in time at legendary Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman.
Founded by master tailors Edwin Goodman and Herman Bergdorf, the luxury mecca has been located on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street—on the former site of the Cornelius Vanderbilt mansion—since 1901. This year, to mark its 111th birthday, Bergdorfs will release a documentary and a book—both celebrations of the store's incredible legacy, not only in New York, but in the landscape of international fashion.
We took a sneak peek at the book, out today, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf Goodman ($35). It's an incredible collection of stories, art, and photography—featuring contributions from luminaries such as Carol Burnett, Candice Bergen, Christian Louboutin, Balmain, Chanel, and Lanvin. Not to mention personal anecdotes from people including Victoria Beckham, Michael Kors, Joan Rivers, Candy Pratts Price, Susan Lucci, Isaac Mizrahi, and Oscar de la Renta.
(Courtesy of HarperCollins) A Balmain sketch for Bergdorf Goodman
Did you know that legendary Vogue editor Candy Pratts Price did an internship at Bergdorf Goodman?
"I was also a Christmas angel not long after I started," she reveals. "These were young girls who would stand at the front of the store, and people—usually gentlemen—would come in and give you their shopping lists. And you would say, 'I'm your Christmas angel. How can I help you?' That wouldn't be very PC today."
(Courtesy of HarperCollins) Lanvin sketch for Bergdorf Goodman
Isaac Mizrahi talks about how the store is a luxurious sea of calm.
"When I was a kid, somehow when you walked into Bergdorf, you just felt that everything would be okay," he says in the book. "Like, if there was a hurricane, or an earthquake, or a tsunami, if you were at Bergdorf Goodman, you would be just fine."
(Courtesy HarperCollins) A Bergdorf Goodman ad from Vogue, 1969
There's also the amazing story of Carol Burnett leaving her identification at home and having to do the Tarzan yell as proof of her identity (page 98-99).
And the anecdote about one sales associate made a housecall to John Lennon and Yoko Ono's apartment one Christmas Eve—and sold the couple 70 fur coats (page 108-109).
(Courtesy HarperCollins) An Akris image from House & Garden
We love this story about how Jackie Kennedy Onassis had to eat lunch in the fitting rooms:
"Mrs. Kennedy—well, she was Mrs. Onassis by then—would walk down Fifth Avenue from her apartment come here," says former BG President Dawn Mello. "She would wear an old, beat-up raincoat so that no one would recognize her on the street. But she still couldn't eat at the restaurant. We'd have to serve her in the fitting room, so she wouldn't be bothered."
(Courtesy of HarperCollins) A BG window display
And it's not all serious business—Bergdorf Goodman gets its fair share of fun and games.
"I was asked to do a scene in The Muppets Take Manhattan," says Joan Rivers. "We filmed it in Bergdorf. They opened up the store on a Sunday, and I was with Miss Piggy. In the movie, we were working there. I was a little upset, though, because that swine stole the show from me."
Have you been to Bergdorf Goodman? Tell us what your favorite part of the store is! Ours is the shoe department—it's one of the best in town.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf Goodman (HarperCollins) is out today.