There’s something very 1940‘s about department store shopping – everything you need under one rather grand roof. Centuries on, London giants, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Liberty’s & Harrods stand resolute as most loved tourist attractions – and from what I’ve seen it’s attraction from the outside in.
Selfridges & Harvey Nichols are famous not only for their exquisite architecture, but for their award winning window dressings. Back in 1909, Selfridges founder, Gordon Selfridge, envisioned a woman’s department store as a social gathering, a place of entertainment where items can be felt & touched. What, a man endorsing shopping, never heard of such a thing! He also coined the term ‘the customer is always right’ (hence we are forever indebted to Mr Selfridge).
His wisdom transpired throughout the 20th century & his ingenuity still lives on today in the elaborate Selfridges window designs, which have fast become more famous than that brand. The Oxford street store boasts 27 shop windows, with the art-fashion displays driving the majority of foot traffic & creating 20% of all sales. The displays are no ordinary marvel – they are particularly known for their controversy. The latest displays are toying with the ‘7 deadly sins’ – for each sin, there’s a ‘must-have’ designer item – genius.
Harvey Nichols (aka Harvey Nicks) rivals Harrods for its fresher outtake on fashion, appealing to a much younger audience – its all in the windows. Their elaborate and unique themed window dressings are leagues ahead of their snooty Knightsbridge counterparts. Award winning designer, Janet Wardley, is the store-window maestro, endlessly wowing shoppers with her displays. “To see people outside the store taking photographs is very rewarding,” says Wardley (quote from The Sunday Times)
Her latest creation behind the glass is a fantasy fashion world, taking everyday objects (wooden pegs for instance) and creating mammoth structures, from pianos to cars – with a mannequin in a Celine fall item perched perfectly on top. There’s also hammers made of nails, trees shaped with pencils & a piano made of cassette tapes. Her creations are catwalk inspired – like our designer friends, she takes classics items & reworks them into pieces of art.