Opening Night

The other night, I was invited to a party at the new Nordstrom on 57th Street, which opened the following morning.

I admit I was a bit surprised: Barney’s filed for bankruptcy back in August, its future unsure (talk is they might be closing their stores for good), and last year we lost one of my favorites: Henri Bendel closed every single store after 123 years. (I was able to snag two hat boxes in their final month, displayed proudly in my bedroom.)

So why, when similar department stores are going bankrupt or out of business, would Nordstrom decide to open yet another location? I decided to go and see.

Markus Kelle worked the door, escorting me past the red carpet, where Katie Holmes was being photographed in a stunning black dress and polka dot tights. An aisle full of the most gorgeous 20-something boys in New York were waiting just inside, holding trays full of champagne and various mixed drinks. (I went for the bubbly: I usually do.) More beautiful boys wandered the seven floors with trays of delicious food. On the second floor, there was a short line for dumplings and the like. I popped a beef slider into my mouth, chasing it down with champagne.

The store is one of the most beautiful I’ve been in, there’s no denying it. Each floor has sky-high ceilings, and everything is spacious. Each product has room to breathe, as did I while I looked around. And speaking of the product: Everything, and I mean everything, is beautiful. (Dries Van Noten, Comme des Garcons, Givenchy… the list goes on and on.) I tried on a bright-pink Saint Laurent jacket that cost $17,000—it took everything in me to take if off again. (I do wish I’d dressed up: My turtleneck, jeans and fur coat did not stand out amongst the glittering sequin dresses and shiny silk tuxedo jackets of everyone at the event.)

My boyfriend and I wandered around, casually nodding at Winnie Harlow and watching supermodel Karen Elson play guitar and sing. He bought me an adorable teddy bear that I keep on our bed; I bought him a new wallet, and—random, I know—a gold candle snuffer. (We’ve legitimately been looking for one, and it was only $12!)

When we’d had our fill of free hors d’oeuvres, free champagne and Lady Bunny’s DJ set (located conveniently next to the cute boy dolling out cotton candy, who my boyfriend wanted to keep visiting “for more cotton candy”), we took our new buys and went home—picking up a gift bag on the way, containing a $185 bottle of Bergamote 22.

I left in a bubbly, happy haze, smelling wonderful. But I wonder how long Nordstrom will be able to stay on its feet. Beyond that, am I ready to let another Henri Bendel into my life, knowing our time together might be short?

Regardless, at least I’ll always have my teddy bear.

Ian-Michael Bergeron

Iowa-born writer Ian-Michael Bergeron has written his weekly column in Get Out! Magazine since 2015, as well as editorials and interviews. He lives in New York City in a one-bedroom with two cats, Alexander and Thomas, and spends most of his income on shoes.

Related post