Creativity Corner Inspirational People

i heart selfridges

January 22, 2012

When it comes to london’ luxury department stores, we, living in the capital, are spoilt for choice. The top four are harvey nichols, harrods, liberty and selfridges. I am a huge fan of liberty, but, for me, the ultimate shopping experience has always been selfridges. Nothing even comes close. Unsurprisingly they were voted the best department store in the world.

Over the past 25 years, i have witnessed many changes within the store. In 2003 selfridges was bought by galen weston and in 2004 alannah weston, his daughter, took over as creative director. Under alannah, there have been many new projects, collaborations, in-store boutiques. What sets selfridges apart is alannah’s undeniable vision of making this shopping mecca relevant and give it purpose. She has been quoted saying that shoppers “want intellectual, cultural and yes, spiritual nourishment. They don’t just want to buy things”.

Selfridges supports artists and creatives and gives them a platform to express themselves. In 2006 they opened the ultralounge exhibition space. It has been used for many different purposes, from art installations to collaborations with oxfam and the prince’s trust. In 2007, there was the opening of the wonder room, which now has been turned into a large unique shop within a shop to complement some of the exhibitions and projects featured throughout the store.

Of course, in 2010 we saw the opening of the world’s largest shoe department with over 5000 shoes from 120 brands, that was three years in the planning.

In 2011, two projects stood out for me. First up was project ocean, bringing awareness to the plight of overfishing. I was fortunate to be invited to a screening of the film the end of the line back in 2009. It had a huge impact on me. I applaud selfridges for getting behind the campaign, putting it firmly on the map and subsequently raising a substantial amount of money for the zoological society of london to create new, and maintain existing, marine reserves around the world. Donation is still open!

The second project was the 4rth exhibition of the eclectic museum of everything. For those new to the museum of everything, their strap line reads: london’s first ever space for artists and creators living outside our modern society. It’s also referred to as outsider art. After the huge success of the first three shows and the one in selfridges, they are now opening an exhibition in new york city on the 19th january 2012. Guess they will have to change their strap line.

The latest store-wide project is called: words words words, a celebration of the power of the written word. The lovely people from it’s nice that have been chosen for this latest endeavour. The wonder room is selling accompanying books and products. I can’t wait to visit the 3,500 square-foot pop-up library in the ultralounge.

I leave you with some pictures i took when selfridges celebrated it’s centenary festivities back in 2009 and decorated their 26 shop windows with commemorative designs from past decades. The last two are from the accompanying exhibition held in the ultralounge.

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  • Reply annie January 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Wow I didn’t know Selfridges did all that stuff. I just think of them as a shop that sells stuff I shouldn’t be buying. Really inspirational and your photos are fantastic.
    A really great post Tina!

    • Reply tina January 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks Annie. This definitely changed with Alannah taking up as creative director. Before then they used to have store-wide events like Bollywood live in 2002 and Japan festival in 2001. What Alannah did was to take this tradition further by developing it into a platform for campaigns… Genius!!! I love to shop like any other girl but really appreciate the combo of being inspired, doing good and helping to create awareness.

  • Reply Lauren January 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    You are such a tease! Now I want to go!! I agree with Annie, great photos!

    • Reply tina January 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Lauren. Selfridges is a must but so is Liberty. For tourists, Harrods Food Halls are not to be missed.

  • Reply Theresa January 24, 2012 at 5:02 am

    As I mentioned to Annie, I have been to London only once back in 2005. I did manage to stumble upon the Harrods Food Halls (pretty spectacular!). However, the rest of the amazing London sites that you, Annie, and Chi talk about I sadly didn’t experience. I guess I’m just going to have to go again. 😉
    Selfrideges looks like a must-visit. I love that they have the wherewithal to create such awe-inspiring in-store campaigns. It’s really genius, and your photos are a really nice complement.

    • Reply tina January 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

      Hi. How’s the cough?
      Must be boring for you when we document London sites… but they serve to inspire. We want you to want to come to London again:) Pleased you saw Harrods Food Halls…. truly incredible! Always happy to take folks who come to visit from abroad. Wish you better!

  • Reply Erin January 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I love Selfridges. The last time I was over visiting my family ( they live out in Romford, the un-dodgy part) I dragged my poor cousin with me and made him stand around while I browsed absolutely every department. He’s a man. He thought I was torturing him. I ended up buying a few things from the Cath Kidston dept and when I got back to the states I used the iconic yellow carrier tote from Selfridge’s for weeks to tote around my lunch or something. Us Yanks are weird like that 🙂

    Thanks for the tip about the museum exhibit in NYC. I’m close to there (well, closer than London, anyway!) and am intrigued by the collection!

    • Reply tina January 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      You must come again…. Can imagine your poor cousin feeling tortured. Also know what we women are like when entering shopping MECCA. Lots of folks don’t like Selfridges but then we have sooo much choice. I know you guys are like that with iconic shopping bags. It’s rather sweet! Next time you’re here, no need to schlepp your cousin…. there’s all of us girls waiting for you:)

  • Reply Jennifer January 27, 2012 at 2:27 am

    I LOVE Selfridges too and you shot such lovely pictures! I can only hope that they will someday come here to California. I use to think that about H & M and Zara and now we have them everywhere so there might be hope:)

    • Reply tina January 27, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Hi Jennifer, thank you for stopping by. Btw, I did watch the KL video you posted. I loved it but was appalled at the guy interviewing him. What a dodo. Silly, unprepared and rather respectless in his manners.

      Glad you liked the pictures. Selfridges have stores in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Never thought of them expanding beyond the UK. Why not? Wonder whether that’s in their future plans.

  • Reply Kate-Louise January 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    My first job in London was on the 4th floor of Selfridges – that would have been 1999 yikee! It’s definitely grown from strength to strength ever since. Yellow heaven 🙂 xKx

    • Reply tina January 29, 2012 at 8:13 am

      How long ago this seems. I have seen all thses changes over the years. Fabulous.

      Lovely to see you yesterday. X

  • Reply Nicola January 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Wonderful photographs, Tina!
    Love Selfridges, haven’t been there in a while & now need to go back soon!

    • Reply tina February 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

      Hi Nicola. Great to meet you. I love your little blog but wish I could leave comments. It always cheers me up. Can’t wait to do a post on teapots.

  • Reply Nicola February 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks for your lovely support – no idea how you leave comments and others have said the same thing so will look into it!

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