Tag Archives: Selfridges

Selfridges Does It Better

7 Aug

Apologies for the complete lack of posts for the past few months. Besides getting a promotion at work, visiting New York and going to 4 festivals I have had very little time to scour the streets of London for great displays.

The photos I’ve used in the post were taken at the start of June, so it is no longer the current scheme at Selfridges. However, I felt that the scheme is so detailed and interesting that the pictures were worth sharing, nonetheless. Check out the window filled with My Little Ponies – my personal favourite.

Enjoy – I hope to deliver a fresh, new batch of windows soon.

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The late, great Harry Gordon Selfridge

18 Mar
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Harry Gordon Selfridge

Founder of Selfridges & Co., London

If you’re anything like me, you will have spent every Sunday night for the last couple of months cosied up in front of ITV’s first big period drama of the year: Mr Selfridge. Loosely based on a book by Lindy Woodhead, the series is set during the opening of the eponymous Selfridge’s store on London’s Oxford Street in 1909. The show entwined the fictional lives and affairs of the staff working in the store, with facts and history about Selfridge himself and the huge stir the store opening created in London at the time. I picked up a copy of Woodhead’s book (in the Selfridges book department, of course) in eager anticipation before the show hit the screens to broaden my knowledge of the man and the wonderful legacy he left behind. So here’s a list of my favourite HG Selfridge facts – be inspired!

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Selfridges in the year of its opening in 1909

Before the opening of Selfridges, ‘browsing’ was not acceptable in stores.  Goods were kept behind the counter only to be removed upon purchase – the concept of being something that you didn’t need was unheard of – ‘shopping’ as an activity was simply not done. Because of this revolution in the method of retailing, within a matter of only a few years, the women of London would gladly while away a whole day purousing the shops – as many of us do today.

Selfridge came up with the idea of ‘Sales’! His idea of selling old stock at slashed prices was totally new at the time, completely revolutionising modern retail.

Selfridge was the first to put toilets in store for customer use – encouraging customers to spend hours in store.  He did the same with in-store tea rooms and restaurants too; previously an unimagined concept, within months of opening the Palm Court restaurant at Selfridges was THE place for ladies to lunch.

Selfridges was the first department store outside of Paris to put fragrance and cosmetics at the entrance to the store. At the time these products were considered personal and this was considered to be a controversial move – now almost every department store in the world does it!

He coined the phrase ‘Business as Usual!’

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One of Selfridge’s window displays

And finally, to warm the hearts of any fellow VMs,

“Selfridges became London’s first store to employ a large staff dedicated to window decorating and interior display”

quote from The Department Store by Jan Whitaker

All vintage photos used are from The Department Store by Jan Whitaker. I highly recommend this, along with the Lindy Woodhead book Mr Selfridge. (below)  The ITV series is available on DVD now.

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The Shoe Carnival and other attractions

9 Mar

Roll up, roll up there’s a circus going on at Selfridges and the shoes are the main attraction! A window scheme with minimal colour – just metallic silver with jewel tone accents – puts the shoes at centre stage, sometimes with very humorous results. Some of the settings feature movement, with a steady stream of heels whizzing down the helter-skelter and a couple of pairs of trainers driving a go-kart wheel.

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Then round the corner on the Duke Street side of the building is a colourful window celebrating wool… I think.

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And round on the Orchard Street side (or, the one with the entrance into Pinkberry as I prefer to call it) there is a lovely Chloë retrospective, with information about the history of the brand. Check out those incredible wigs!

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Abstract grandeur at Selfridges

14 Mar

New window scheme at Selfridges (photos taken last Sunday 11th March), following the ‘Bright Young Things’ scheme promoting new and up-and-coming brands, here we have a window for the international Womens’ luxury brands.

The minimal colour palette is juxtaposed with a variety of textured props: paper, linen, stone, pebbles, sheet metal to name a few.  Unusual poses of mannequin make for some striking compositions within the window that cannot fail to stir the imagination. It’s a very moody display for this Spring transitional period, though. It’s as if Selfridges are subliminally trying to tell us all to start building our autumn wardrobes now!

Above: paintings by Georgio do Cherico (left) and Paul Delvaux (right) – for some reason the Selfridges windows reminded me of these Surrealist paintings… Wonder what the inspiration really was?

Window Shopping

4 Mar

I’ve had to do some seriously boring competitive shops this week, and had to spend a lot of time looking at windows that are not effective and do nothing for their brand. However, my mother always taught me to not to say anything if I have nothing nice to say! So here’s a quick picture post of displays that I love and that are inspiring me right now.

Last week, a couple of the ‘Bright Young Things’ windows at Selfridges, showcasing emerging creative talent, caught my eye. Struggled to get a good photo of this one, but the crafty, textured feel of this window really drew me in. Plus the headpiece reminds me of something I attempted (and failed) to make for a costume once.

Above: Another two windows at Selfridges.  The bottom one showcases up-and-coming fashion designer Maarten van der Horst, whose loud prints and ruffled bust detailing is very fun.  The window itself makes me wonder if this it what it would look like if Hans Bellmer had been a bit chirpier.

Saw these flower-covered mannequin plinths at Topshop Westfield Stratford this week. Not the most original thing ever but still damned effective.

Apologies for another sketchy photo, but I saw this display in the window of River Island Bluewater last week and thought it was fab. It’s not particularly clear in this image, but the accessories displayed on the rungs of the ladder are arranged like a rainbow, graduating down from acid yellow down to turquoise then through hot oranges and pinks. It’s not always easy to display a large quantity of accessories in a window with mannequins in a way that looks natural, but River Island seem to be brimming with ideas for solutions on this.

Fred Perry at Bluewater brings us its new Amy Winehouse collection. Thoughts about the range itself aside (I have read some negative press accusing Fred Perry of releasing this line in bad taste) I think this window is adorable.  Even though this small window is essentially comprised of just graphics and decals, the wonderful cartoon images would get anyone in the mood to go jiving at Rydell High. I bet Amy would have loved it.

In other news, I have just been offered a new job. Don’t want to reveal too much but it’s with a fab fashion retailer doing what I love – dressing windows – so I couldn’t be happier, and can’t wait to something new and exciting!