Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge- The Book is Better than the Miniseries!

Sometimes the book is better, sometimes the film adaptation is better and sometimes they are both great. This time, for "Mr. Selfridge" vs "Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridgethe book has the slight edge in my opinion. It is not a novel, but a non-fiction account of the evolution of shopping on both sides of the Atlantic.

The story of Harry Gordon Selfridge is a true American rags to riches and back to rags story of which few of us were previously aware. I have been to the Selfridges store which transformed the "wrong end of Oxford Street" when my family visited London just after the bombings in July 2005. I just thought Selfridges was a very nice department store in 2005, and a welcome reprieve from a summer downpour. I should have looked around a bit more instead of just shopping. Although I did get some lovely lingerie there! Thanks Harry! :)

Although Harry himself is interesting, it is the history of modern shopping and fashion which have really caught my imagination. Mr. Selfridge started out with Marshall Fields in Chicago, and anyone with an interest  in the history of Chicago would also find this fascinating. I could have used more pretty pictures of the merchandise. Oh, those gorgeous Victorian and Edwardian dresses!

I was fascinated to hear that there was a outdoor rooftop terrace where they held fashion shows and demonstrations of all kinds. And of course those fabulous window displays live on...

Yes, that is a gingerbread version of Selfridges with corgis in Santa hats on top and Pearly Kings on each side! Even though Selfridges has been owned by Canadian food retailer Galen Weston for a decade now, it seems to have retained it's modern British feel. It certainly isn't anything like Harrods in any case!

So even if you, like many, were left underwhelmed by the miniseries, the book is worth a look.


  1. I am interested in the history of shopping, which is one reason I was so disappointed with the mini-series, which I abandoned early on. I'll have to pick up the book, which sounds like more of what I wanted the mini-series to be.

    1. Hi Jane. Let me know if you like the book. Now I want to find a book filled with those gorgeous late Victorian, Edwardian dresses. Sigh!

  2. Hi!

    I was curious about the "S' symbol (calligraphy style letter) that appears in this picture:

    Is this part of a Selfridge logo? It's remarkably similar to the "S' that appears on the J.J. Abrams/Doug Dorst novel.




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