As a child, I lived in a town with two department stores. Each had two floors, very functional and twice a year I went to have new shoes fitted. But once a year, magic time. We took the six o’clock train to Johannesburg, spent the entire day in John Orr’s and for being so good, a quick trip to Lilliputs before catching the train home again. John Orr’s had about six floors and mum would work her way from the top, right down to the bottom, list in hand, a years work done.
No wonder I am still enthralled with department stores, and in London, Selfridges is right on top of my list. My Mother Ship. ‘Let’s meet at the Mother Ship’ we decide, right on the top floor for lunch and then the delights of working our way all the way down. In Summer, the top floor means the roof, complete with fake grass and cocktails. But mostly, the top floor is lunch or a quick Starbucks. And the White Company, and the linen section. Bought my first Ralph Lauren sheets on this floor. Ralph and I are true kindred spirits. I follow him all the way to the men’s section and stare dreamy eyed at the Women’s fashion but alas I shall never be willow thin and fit into any sylph like creation. He has not treated me well in the Women’s section.
I have witnessed much on the escalators downwards in Selfridges. Seasonal fare, hanging works of Art. Bands from the Nutcracker Suite. Ground floor is the cosmetics, the Mr Bean of ‘Love Actually’ stuff and a heady world of perfume spray mist as you walk past. Each employee looks like a day in Heaven, but it is all too much. The fashion outlets, the stationary, the leather wallets and Aspinal hand luggage. Take my hand and lead me to Chocolate. Godiva awaits, or is it Prestat, or Leonidas perhaps? Oh for Lindt, for Jelly Beans, but wait, what catches my eye now? It is the steps to the Food Hall. Pity me please for I am lost in a waft of Lola’s cupcakes, Oysters and Frozen yogurt.
I have lost my direction, but my heart is steering me from Flowers of absinth and mink towards … oh my love, Hermes! Look only it seems, but not to worry, the glitter of watches distract from Prada and such, I shall go down once more. To think a basement could be of such beauty of books, electronic wonder and darling Cath. Dolly’s for Tea and candles, champagne and Fornasetti for me. I am exhausted. I am broke, I am ready to begin again, so back to the top floor for sustenance and if the world stopped, like really stopped tomorrow and I am trapped in Selfridges, I will call on the ghost of the Mr. Selfridge himself and say, no problem, I will hang around here for a little while longer.
Thanks for the pics Selfridges.