London Life Shops

the big british bang

May 7, 2012

My regular readers know how much i love selfridges. Well, today i want to share with you their new fantastic store wide event called the big british bang.

It’s a celebration of all things british and who doesn’t love a bit of british? They are marking the queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations and a summer of sport. Yes, while the weather has decided to play havoc here in london, go and cheer yourself up with this colourful and most charming celebration. You’ll find many accompanying events and there is a plethora of fantastic and unique products to buy that have been especially designed for this occasion . In the big british shop there’s a collection of some favourite brands exclusive and unique designs. In the big yellow shop you’ll find, err, well everything in selfridges’ signature yellow hue, pantone 109. The last time i saw exclusive designs in selfridges’ yellow was for their centenary festivities back in 2009.

I must say looking at their window displays and subsequently walking through selfridges put a smile on my face and made me feel it is spring after all. If you’re looking for inspiration, that special gift or just want to be around colour, you can’t go wrong with paying selfridges a visit.

Be prepared, there are a lot of images. It was impossible to edit down further. I was seduced by this visual feast. First off, here are some great posters for this lavish celebration.

Next, let me show you these fantastic window displays. It really made me want to become a window dresser. Selfridges, for me, always does it so well. They tell a story like no other department store in london. Judge for yourself. All right, I know, they have more windows for display than any of the others.

And some more window displays showing quintessential britishness.

Phew, and that was just some of the window displays outside the store. I also had to show you some of the goodies inside. After spending time in selfridges i came out buzzing with excitement and inspiration. See what you think.

I hope you’ve found some inspiration here for a project, a colour scheme or just for sheer pleasure in celebrating all things british. Which is your favourite window display? Oh, and by the way, a sales assistant told me that they will be selling the yellow birds as of tomorrow. Originally they were just meant to be used for props but they’ve had so many enquiries that they decided to offer them in their range of products for sale. Hurry, while stock lasts!

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  • Reply Sam Lennie (Interiorsam) May 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Happy Happy Yellow! The country is alive with jubilee/olympics paraphenalia. We should all go out and suck it up in national support and celebration (before we get sick of it). Love Love Love Marmite so that’s my favourite display and it feels very nostalgic for me! You cannot move in Westfield Stratford for stores stocking and displaying Olympics goods, although they are not half as impressive as Selfridges efforts. Thanks for sharing with us x

    • Reply tina May 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Yeepeeeh!! We are in celebration mode. All we need is for the weather to play ball…

      Eekks, I Love Marmite’s marketing campaigns. I am always sooo impressed by them. The way they change their label… genius! But unfortunately I belong to the ‘HATE’ Marmite camp. I do appreciate that the ‘LOVE’ camp really dig it. Aww, nice you feel nolstalgic…

      I’ve seen some other shops doing Olympics/Diamond Jubilee but doubt that anyone will do it as well as Selfridges. Maybe Liberty and Fortnum & Mason…. maybe!! x

  • Reply Sophie May 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    This looks fabulous Tina! I bet you had a great time – the photos are a visual treat – just so much to look at! x

    • Reply tina May 8, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      I wanted it to be a purely visual diary for people to get inspired and maybe get some ideas of colour/composition… there was so much to look at.
      Really happy we can hang out on BYW2.0 x

  • Reply Catherine Bedson May 8, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Hi Tina, these window displays are AMAZING…love the HP Sauce display, my mother is from Belfast and always has a bottle of this in her pantry! Great concept in time for the Olympics…LOVE. Catherine x

    PS: Are you doing BYW 2.0?

    • Reply tina May 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      Hey Catherine…HP sauce, gosh in 31 years in the UK I’ve never had it… ; love the graphics though… your mum is from Belfast. Didn’t know you’ve got irish blood:)

      Yes, have signed up this morning…now getting excited. Are you joining?? Hope so.. be so much fun to have all the oldies joining and I’m now blogging:)
      Hopefully see you on the inside x

      • Reply Catherine Bedson May 10, 2012 at 5:37 am

        Hi Tina,
        Yes I’ve signed up…need some new inspiration, going through creativity block.

  • Reply Theresa May 8, 2012 at 1:19 am

    The yellow is a great color choice. I would have to say that the British record shop display is my favorite. I like the graphic design quality to it, like a page layout.
    It must really be a great time to live in London right now with the Olympics and the Queen’s jubilee. So much to celebrate.
    Imagine being on the creative team that put all those window and store displays together. What a fun project!

    • Reply tina May 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      I really liked the British record shop display. It looked really good and yes, like a page layout. I’ve noticed you like orderly design:)

      I swear, I really had window dressing ‘envy’ that day. It must be such fun to go and source all the props and design the windows. I would love to spend a week doing that!

  • Reply Toni May 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I adore all your pictures! They make me feel like galloping to Selfridges for a bit of “feel good” shopping and honestly? I just have to go back and check out that builders bum! Does that make me shallow?

    • Reply tina May 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      Thanks Toni. Ha, can’t believe you are oogling a plastic builders bum??? Not shallow, but something else:)

  • Reply Holly May 8, 2012 at 11:22 am

    wowy! Big British Bang indeed! I’ve never seen such lively and elaborate window displays before. Well, minus at Xmas time … a certain department store in Mtl (Ogilvy) does something great every year. When I was young, my parents, sister and I used to go check them out every holiday season. Good memory.

    I can only imagine how giddy you must have been taking these pictures! Wish I was there to see the creative Tina in hungry mode!

    Great pictures, inspiring for sure!

    • Reply tina May 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Aww, sweet you guys went to look at window displays in the holidays and you remember that. Actually, where does your design aesthetics come from? anyone creative in your family?

      I must admit, was really fired up and inspired by all this colour and funky scenarios and also enjoyed how many people were stopping to look, smile and discuss the displays.
      Thanks Mrs. Pilot’s Wife x

      • Reply Holly May 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

        Where does my design aesthetic and creativity come from? Woah. Good question. I never really thought about this so I’m afraid I’m going to ramble…

        My grandfather most probably. He is quite creative – he likes to draw and paint and sing opera. He was a construction worker so he likes to build things too. When I was little I spent a lot of time around scraps of wood. The best thing he ever built for me was a swinging horse. We hung it in the basement and I loved it. And he cultivated a beautiful vegetable garden. Creatively he is an inspiring man because he has many different interests and takes them seriously. When we drew things together (which was all the time), we always drew houses and floor plans or horses. But then again, I really like colouring and drawing as a kid and my mom and dad always encouraged that by participating. Every Saturday morning, when my mom was at work, my dad and I drew together. My mom, however, was the collage lady, we always made collages together. I was labeled the creative or artistic daughter quite early on. My sister was the sporty / active one. I did ballet and modern dance, she played soccer.

        My personal design aesthetic? Maybe it was my mom’s influence. Organization and tidiness were of utmost importance to her. And although I didn’t relate as a child, as an adult, I realize just how much influence that had on me. I like things in their place, I like lines, I like things to be clear cut and ‘clutterless’ – to me, this is peace of mind. So maybe that’s why personally I am most attracted to modern streamlined interiors and neutral colour palettes …

        Look what you did Tina! Now I’m going to be thinking about this all day – trying to make other connections from my past … I’m already starting! … … maybe the discipline and preciseness that I was so attracted to in ballet is also mirrored in my aesthetic preferences? …. hmmm…

        We need a virtual tea date soon 🙂


        • Reply tina May 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm

          Gosh Holly, what a trip down memory lane. Your grandad and parents sound amazing and that gave you a brilliant start in life… I’m amazed that after drawing and making collages you have chosen to be very much online with your creativity. Do you draw, paint or make collages now? If you don’t like mess, probably not!

          Wow, really inspiring and interesting. I already know you’re a clean lines and clutterless creative. Hmmm, would be fun to explore more.

          Thank you for sharing parts of your childhood.
          Yes,yes, yes, the virtual tea date:) is long overdue!…. It nearly happened in real life!

  • Reply annie May 8, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Good Lord that was a lot of photos!

    I don’t like all that yellow, it’s a bit putrid and that Diptique candle looks bloody awful.

    I really like the Edwardian sketches though, they’re cute. And all the union jacks. oxford street’s looking really festive isn’t it? I was expecting the jubilee to be dwarfed by the olympics but it’s not really happened. I’m really pleased.

    I never see Selfishes’ window display becuase there are always so many tourists in the way but will have a close look next time i’m there (which no doubt won’t be very far away!) Great photos as always Tina xx

    • Reply tina May 8, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      I know, found it impossible to edit as liked all of them:)

      Ha. I like the yellow (in general) and not a fan of boring glass design of Diptique… but don’t particularly like the yellow on them either.
      I think the Queen would have something to say about being overshadowed by the Olympics… yes, also glad this isn’t the case.

      Thanks A x

  • Reply Chi @ Carousel May 9, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I really miss browsing the sumptuous windows in London, I must say, so thank you so much for this special treat, Tina!

    I LOVE the Big British Bang posters the most – so vibrant and quintessentially quirky. I also love the layout and props in the Big Yellow Shop. Yellow is such a cheerful colour, isn’t it? I can’t help but smile whenever I see it.

    Marmite has really great graphics and packaging too despite the yucky contents …..

    I think I just might have to pin some of these for further reference! 😀 xoxo

    • Reply tina May 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Yes, you know my pad has a lot of yellow. It always cheers me up, even in this dreary weather….

      The posters are brilliant and normally I would have shown one or two but they all deserved a space here, true? And the great thing is that there’s something for everyone…

      I loved the food packaging windows. I’m a real sucker for oversized graphic packaging..

      Pin away, my dear!! x

  • Reply Nicola May 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Fantastic collection of photos Tina, thank you for spreading the enthusiasm and joy!

    There are so many Union Jacks everywhere at the moment and it could all so easily become borderline naff but this is a wonderful approach.

    Stylish, with so much detail and managing to include the Great British Sense of Humour. Selfridges and the window team have excelled themselves x

    • Reply tina May 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      Ha. Yes, let’s spread joy as everyone is feeling a bit down and gloomy, including me. Too much rain, not enough sunshine and cold spells are taking havoc with our body circulation..

      And then Selfridges comes along and cheers everything up…. and as you say, with such style and panache… I’m sure most of you thought when will the photos stop so I can leave a comment.
      For me, this was such great storytelling that I had to include most of it. The detail and humour is so inspiring and, of course, unlike most stores, they probably have a very healthy budget and a really creative team, hence the amazing result. Thank you for your comment. x

  • Reply Erin May 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Well that’s the most proud display of British culture I’ve ever seen. It’s like every wonderful and iconic stereotype on speed. I love it! Especially the “It’s Pimms o’clock” and all those jars of HP sauce. AND the Hunter wellies with the Union Jack on them. It’s like heaven! I would love one of those little yellow birds with the top hats. Or a bright yellow Diptyque candle. Who knew they even made those?! My favorite Pantone yellow is 130, but 109 has its charm too I must say. I’ve told you before that I kept my yellow Selfridges bag for weeks after I got back from my last trip, didn’t I? I carried my lunch or whatever I could in it, haha.

    It’s going to be a big summer for you Brits, with the Olympics and whatever else is planned for the Diamond Jubilee. Thank you for sharing these pics! xo

    • Reply tina May 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      Ha. ‘Most proud display of British culture’. I was surprised noone commented on the Pimms. Really included it for Annie, but no reaction:)

      I think as a shopaholic you would have had seizures at looking at all this stuff ad not being able to buy it ALL!!!

      It’s funny how much I take Selfridges bags for granted… rather a staple for me:)
      Stay tuned on more festivities to come over the summer. x

      But for now, concentrate on your trip!

  • Reply sue May 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    awesome post… love the imagery! i’m a sucker for these flag flying things (but curiously, only the british ones)… i think what i love the most is the history & the pomp & ceremony & ritual of it all… thanks for sharing, will have to make it out to selfridges some time soon!

    • Reply tina May 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Hi Sue. Thank you. I’m hugely patriotic for being a Kraut and LOVE how the British do celebrations and ceremonies. Full credit to Selfridges. Of course, if you can get down you’re in for a treat!.

  • Reply caroline trend-daily May 9, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Tina-I just love your posts. This is a real cracker-I hardly ever get into town any more so its’ brilliant to see these amazing windows-your pics would look great as collages I think??! xx

    • Reply tina May 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      Uhh, Caroline, what a great idea… collages… hmmm, there’s an idea for my pattern loving art!!

      Glad to be able to share with you guys who don’t get to come to London or visit Selfridges. Makes it all worth it. You ok??? And super talented Evie?

  • Reply Tracey Chalk May 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Me neither. I rely on you for Selfridges updates! And phonecalls to the magazine department. I still do not have myself a copy of Domino!

    I love the builders bums! What a brilliant sense of humour we Brits have! …and honourary Brits of course!

    • Reply tina May 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      Tracey, I’m sooooooo impressed with your photography skills. Seriously woman, very very good.

      Ha. Ha. Here you go. Another Selfridges update for you. Gosh, must get onto the case of Domino. This is unacceptable. You happy with the mags you bought the other day?

      Yay! Here’s to British Humour, done better than in any other nation!!

  • Reply ursula (room to bloom) May 11, 2012 at 8:49 am

    A-ma-zing! Do the people who design/put these windows together have a name? They are so talented.
    The yellow pigeons are going to live n a little boy’s bedroom I’m designing – I think he’ll love them!
    Thanks Tina – keep these updates coming!

    • Reply tina May 11, 2012 at 11:17 am

      Yes, I call them window dressers (which am sure is wrong)…it’s actually called visual merchandising… yes, the Selfridges crew is rather talented.

      Uhh. are you going to get a yellow pigeon? Right, PHOTOS please…. I did really love them and can see why so many people asked to buy them!

  • Reply parisbreakfast May 13, 2012 at 9:52 am

    O M GAWD!!!
    how did I miss this?
    I LOVE selfridges too
    LOVE their cheery yellow bags
    This is a stupendous post that says everything about Selfridges there is to say…
    but where are the cupcakes? 🙂

    • Reply tina May 15, 2012 at 12:54 am

      Yes, you’re right, that is so you, the yellow and the humour…..I was there on Saturday and I can never get enough. I could have taken even more photos:)

  • Reply parisbreakfast May 13, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I saw so much YELLOW last time in London!!!
    I couldn’t believe my eyes
    this confirms my observations
    merci carolg

    • Reply tina May 15, 2012 at 12:55 am

      That is SOOOOO cool… I love your posts.. so quirky and fun! Great!!!

  • Reply Micki May 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    selfridges – no it is you that puts a smile on my face – right now, even if I´m miles and miles away 🙂
    Love those pics – can´t tell which one I love most. Every single one shows you´ve got “the eye” 🙂

    • Reply tina May 24, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      Bet you like the builder’s bum…. remember when we went to Selfridges to cut keys… what a day… did you think: when do the pictures stop???? 🙂

  • Reply Open House by John Lewis in Islington colourliving October 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm

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