I’ve been interested in the history of Selfridges & Co ever since I set eyes on one of their beautiful window displays. As a child during visits to London, nipping to Oxford Street just too see what was displayed in their windows was my highlight of the day. Studying Product Design at A-Level, any chance I had to incorporate the idea of visual merchandising (window display) into a project I had I’d take. I love the idea of it, how a shop window full of products could entice you inside a shop so easily. In my second year at university I focused my business research project on the visual merchandising at Selfridges’ with the desire to discover the how Selfridges’ visual merchandising effects customer purchasing behaviour. To cut a (not so) long story, I am fascinated by the place.
When The Paradise hit our screens in late September 2012 I was instantly hooked. A BBC period drama about a young girl who works in England’s first department store in the 1870s and gets caught up in the charms of the modern world. The Paradise is a bustling department store, the first of its kind in the city and it’s crushing the small businesses around it. A new shopgirl comes in and inspires the ambitious owner with her innovative ideas.
Last night the first episode of ITV‘s Mr Selfridge aired and (some may say) unfortunately the premise is pretty much the same. There has been dispute over the similarity of the two, both the BBC and ITV have invested millions in the period dramas and they have gone under ‘so-called’ head to head in a bitter ratings battle over the series. Read on for more information.
That aside, there isn’t a lot us viewers can do about it. Having watched The Paradise from start to finish I will unfortunately find myself comparing the two as I begin to follow Mr Selfridge on his 10 part series.
Competition aside, all I can really think to say is, Hello Mr Harry Gordon Selfridge, father of modern retailing, philanderer, gambler, dandy and the greatest showman the consumer world has ever known. Shopping and seduction, all wrapped up in an aesthetically pleasing bundle of timely period drama? Yes please.
“We are going to show the world how to make shopping thrilling” Mr Selfridge airs on ITV Sunday’s at 9pm
Recommended Read: Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead
P.S. If you can, don’t pay £8.99 for it – I bought it for less than a pound about 3 years ago… The price has most certainly been bumped up in conjunction with the series. x