My recent day in London town left me with Union Jacks burnt onto my retina…all I could see was red, white and blue…and Selfridges yellow. Britishness and being proud of it is everywhere in the city this year. It’s a good vibe. With the Jubilee and the Olympics coming our way, heck, yeah I guess it’s gonna be a good year for us Brits, a reason to party, a reason for the shops to try and sell us more stuff. I totally get it, get that it’s cool to revel in our moment and seize the chance to celebrate, when I think of all the things that make this country ace, I bloody love it, but jeeez, this feasting on bunting, Union Jacks, ‘vintage’ inspired tea parties, cupcakes and general nostalgic chintz has been getting dragged out for suuuch a long time now and surely this is it’s last hurrah, a new approach is greatly needed, I am Cath Kidston’d out! So, delighted I was when I saw the campaign posters for the Big British Bang Celebrations at Selfridges. Sharp, bold colours rather than pastel florals, and a modern take on the classic idea of The British, goooorgeous!
You gotta love Selfridges, by far one of the bestest stores London has, I always adore a mooch. The window installations for The Big British Bang, are as wonderful as always, super skilled merchandising with it’s usual whiff of humour. The store currently seems bedazzled with an anticipative atmosphere, bright bunting is everywhere and royal memorabilia is in abundance. There are heaps of different things going on in Selfridges all summer, all with a British theme and twist. There is The Big Yellow Shop on the lower ground floor which is styled to perfection, they have taken the iconic Selfridges yellow and got every consumer classic made in it…yellow Ray-Bans displayed in a yellow Smeg fridge, yellow Hunter wellies, yellow London A-Z books, it’s a mighty cool concept!
Loads of displays in the shop have a Union Jack theme with good old Queenie being ever present in either photo form, cardboard cut-out or with her face on a plate…lady of the moment me thinks!
They also have The Big British Shop on the ground floor, which is also styled with greatness. A Union Jack painted garden shed and Beefeaters at the door make it a bit obvious but it feels as though it has been done in a classic, honest and deliberate manner and most probably with the influx of tourists in mind. Any classically British brand is there, Pringle, Pimms, Butler & Wilson, Dent’s gloves, all in special edition designs, one of my favourites, Tatty Devine has a whole heap of crown and jewel themed designs….ruddy lovely indeed!
As usual Selfridges have done their thang bloody well, obviously they are a more superior department store, and when comparing their styling for this British summer of events with other big flagship stores like Marks & Spencers, House of Fraser, John Lewis and Debenhams, it only further anchors their standing as the best at visual merchandising. Walking down Oxford Street checking out the department stores’ window displays, I see the installations and concepts get more pedestrian as you go down the hierarchy of shops.
I, personally, think the whole bunting and Union Jack idea has now been totally done to death, classically British indeed but so are many other things and the same few concepts and visuals have been repeated to such an extent that they are a boring mainstream cliche. But, ok, seeing as it’s a very special year for us, I’ll let it pass and everyone can wheel out their flags and ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ for one last blast, but then let’s change the view, move onto a new look and get over these icons for a little while…off with their heads…..until then God save our Queen and all that British goodness….
Check out www.selfridges.com for all the details of this lovliness and more….