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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Mr Selfridge

And so my darling readers, I trust you had a fabulous Christmas and New Year and are looking forward to the year ahead, as am I. I have plenty of exciting projects to report on, all will be revealed in due course so do continue to check my posts regularly.

Being the social butterfly that I am it is rather unusual that one would cosy up in front of the TV at Mannequin
Towers. However there is a riveting ten-part period drama that has had me glued to my seat and taking a dreamy trip down memory lane. ITV recently unleashed Mr. Selfridge onto our Sunday night screens and what a delight it was too! Telling the story of “Mile a Minute” Harry Gordon Selfridge – perhaps the first retail guru in the UK and the importance of his contribution to early 20th Century retail, visual merchandising and brand marketing.  

In 1909 on the day that Harry Gordon Selfridge first swung his department store doors open, more than 100,000 people scurried through: by the end of the week more than a million had visited.  Harry’s aim was to make everyone feel welcome in his emporium and promoted Selfridges as being “Open to the world”.  The essence of Selfridges revolutionary approach to shopping is maintained by the store today, and much as was the case in 1909, Selfridges windows have become synonymous with the brand and furthermore have become as famous as the company and the Oxford Street location itself.

This period drama perfectly depicts how the store would have been presented in 1909, even the tiniest of details have been researched and replicated (I should know – my auntie Gloria was one of the original store mannequins) – fashionable brass accessory presenters and upholstered bust forms have been carefully selected to mimic the style of that era and were just some of the product that was featured in the first episode. I am happy to say that all the display equipment was either genuine vintage or supplied by my good chums at Proportion London. As the girls of the accessory department hurry to display everything on their glass counter-tops for the 9.00am grand opening, Miss Mannequin squealed with delight at the many Proportion London treats on offer – bag stands, jewellery neck forms, scarf presenters, miniature bodies and wooden articulated hands. These Vintage Style products are hugely popular with today’s retailers – proving that there are some timeless trends worth treasuring…

Similar to Selfridges – Proportion London have a heritage that dates back to the early 20th century and many of their traditional manufacturing techniques are still employed to this day. Their papier-mâché bust forms and torso’s are still hand-crafted by an artisan team of specialists at the North London
factory in much the same way that they were when Selfridges first opened.  

I obtained a brief interview with Tanya Reynolds, Creative Director of Proportion London. She said; “It is a great honor to have supplied display product for this series and to be featured in what we believe will be one of the best dramas of 2013. The Vintage Style Accessory range was conceived using archive drawings from old directories, Edwardian original samples and we kept in our minds that the collection should look exactly as it would have the day Gordon Selfridge first opened his retail emporium.”

For more details of the Vintage Style collections click on the below links

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