I know that to a lot of people Neiman Marcus represents a lot of negative things about our society---conspicuous consumption, snobbishness, elitism, etc. But to me, Neiman Marcus is much much more than all of that. You don't get to be a 100-year-old store without something a little special.
I grew up in Dallas where Neiman Marcus began. My parents would take me to the downtown store to look at the magical window displays. Especially at Christmas. On a few special occasions, I even got to dress up and go to the Zodiac tea room where all the glamorous "ladies who lunch" went. When the holidays drew near, I would haunt the mailbox waiting for the Neiman Marcus Wish Book. Nowhere else could I find such fanciful holiday offerings. As soon as the Wish Book hit my mailbox, I would grab it and flip to the His/Her gift for that year. When I got older, my father started working in the Neiman Marcus Christmas store over the holiday season. We would always pick out a special ornament or other treat to buy using his discount. My father really loved working there. Another special thing about Neiman Marcus is the emphasis on customer service. My mom once gave me Stanley Marcus' book called MINDING THE STORE that outlined his philosopy about retail customer service.
But Neiman Marcus was also much more than shopping. They used to have this wonderful multimedia experience called the Neiman Marcus Showcase at the downtown Dallas store where you could see the history of Neiman Marcus. It felt like Disneyland to me. And then there was Fortnight. Each Fortnight would focus on a different country. We would mark our calendars with the special events that would be taking place highlighting the country of focus that particular year. There were food events, entertainment and special gift items. I remember for the China Fortnight, you could buy a Sharpei dog. I wish they still had Fortnight. It was always so wonderful.
When I walk into a Neiman Marcus store, I feel like a princess. Especially going up the escalator surrounded by cascading butterflies. You don't have to buy anything. Looking is half the fun. As Tiffany's was Holly Golightly's pick-me-up, Neiman Marcus is mine.
So, Happy Birthday Old Friend! I'll be seeing you soon!