Christmas for the Rich and Shameless
Neiman Marcus unveiled its 81st annual Christmas Book Tuesday, boasting everything from a $20 set of four peppermint tins to a $2.3 million getaway to the Ameya Preserve in Montana.
The Dallas-based luxury retailer’s catalog, first published in 1926, is seen by many as a harbinger of the Christmas shopping season. The “ultimate wish book” has built a reputation for exotic, fanciful and expensive gift options, but many of the items are priced below $100, according to Neiman Marcus.
This year’s catalog includes 160 pages detailing more than 400 items, such as a the NM Exclusive Prada clutches for $995 a piece and $7,500 Henry Dunay fish cuff links.
The Neiman Marcus “His and Hers” gift, one of the catalog’s more famed traditions, is a $110,000 his and hers portrait by Vik Muniz, painted in Bosco chocolate syrup.
Each year, Neiman Marcus culls the fantasy gift items from thousands of suggestions that are submitted nationally and internationally. This year they include a 305-carat uncut diamond necklace starting at $1 million, the NM 2008 Lexus IS F Special Build Sedan for a price “so secret, Lexus won’t even tell us,” the description in the catalog says. And for $1.59 million, shoppers can have a private holiday concert hosted by Neiman Marcus with a concert featuring the Kirov Orchestra performing the Nutcracker Suite, The Tchaikovski Piano Concerto and another Tchaikovski masterpiece of the buyers choice. The buyer gets to keep the Steinway Concert Grand after all the artists autograph it.
Neiman Marcus spokeswoman Ginger Reeder says typically Neiman will sell one or two of its fantasy gifts. An All-Star sports celebrity package that was to be auctioned off for a minimum bid of $250,000 in last year’s Christmas Book didn’t sell, Reeder said, nor did a diamond encrusted Montblanc Bohéme Skeleton fountain pin that was priced at $160,900.
But the a $139,000 limited edition BMW M6 convertible sold out in 93 seconds, she said. There were only 50 offered.
“The gifts are not chosen to sell, they are chosen for their publicity value,” Reeder said. “The point is to make people say, ‘Who in the world buys these things?’ ”
The catalog will be distributed to nearly 2 million homes throughout the United States and worldwide.