Well, I certainly hadn’t planned on rubbing elbows with styling royalty today, but it just so happened that at around 2pm today I found myself inside of Bergdorf Goodman. I had originally gone out hoping to find fabulously dressed New York women to add to my “Caught Being Fabulous” page. But as I got to 5th Ave and 57th Street, I realized that I was knocking at Bergdorf’s door. Having just read Betty Halbreich’s book, I’ll Drink to That, I had a sudden urge to meet her. I walked through the entrance on 5th and made my way through the first floor mesmerized by a woven Chanel coat. I headed up the escalator to the second floor where I saw the famed shoe department. I awed over a pair of two-toned Manolo Blahniks, but my visit was to be much more than the material goods gracing the floors of Bergdorf’s. I wanted to meet the woman who had for decades styled America’s elite.
Credited for having started the “Solutions” Department at Bergdorf’s, Betty has helped women from Jackie O, Candace Bergen, and Joan Rivers to New York’s elite to find items to make them look wonderful.
So, what did I say to her… I spoke to her office mate first and mentioned that I had come to meet Betty. I was able to walk right to her and introduce myself. She posed for a few pictures and then we talked briefly about my goals. Betty said that the clothes that I saw today pale in comparison to the clothing of the past. The fabrics, she said, were those that in the past had been used as lining. She told me the Geoffrey Beene went out of business because he could no longer find fabrics. Hearing her talk made me wonder what the vintage clothing in the past were really like. She said they used to be made with multiple layers of quality fabrics. I had just spent thirty minutes looking at the clothing in Dres Van Noten, Christian Dior, Gucci, and Chanel. It is hard to imagine that what I saw wasn’t considered as high quality as the clothing of the past. After all, I had fallen in love with a rose colored fur at Gucci. But, I digress.
I told Mrs. Halbreich that I wished I could write about fashion full-time. She asked why I’d want to do such a thing. She said she would much rather have my educational credentials. She told me to stick to doing fashion on the weekends because there’s no future in the business. Definitely not what a burgeoning fashion photographer/stylist wants to hear, but I took it all in. I told her I had planned to dress in my “fancy” clothing to come see her and appear like I could afford stuff. She said it wasn’t necessary and that you can definitely look good without buying the high priced items in Bergdorf’s. (I actually think that doing that is one of my strengths.) She mentioned that her office mate shops at H&M and does just fine.
Betty Halbreich invited me to come back to visit with her at Bergdorf’s. I will definitely do so; if fact, I’ll Drink to That 🙂