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Mr Selfridge

by Lindy Woodhead

In 1909, the largest department store in London's West End, designed and built from scratch, opened in Oxford Street in a glorious burst of publicity. The mastermind behind the façade was American retail genius Harry Gordon Selfridge: maverick businessman, risk-taker, dandy and one of the greatest showmen the retail world has ever known. His talents were to create the seduction of shopping, and as his success and fame grew, so did his glittering lifestyle: mansions, yachts, gambling, racehorses - and mistresses. From the glamour of Edwardian England, through the turmoil of the Great War and the heady excesses of the 1920s and beyond, Selfridges Department Store was 'a theatre with the curtain going up at 9 o'clock each morning'. Mr Selfridge reveals the captivating story of the rise and fall of the man who revolutionised the way we shop. The third series of Mr Selfridge will air on ITV in January 2015. 'Lively and entertaining' Sunday Telegraph'Will change your view of shopping forever' Vogue'Harry Selfridge revolutionised the way we shop . . . fascinating' Daily Mail

Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge

by Lindy Woodhead

If you lived at Downton Abbey, you shopped at Selfridge's.Harry Gordon Selfridge was a charismatic American who, in twenty-five years working at Marshall Field's in Chicago, rose from lowly stockboy to a partner in the business which his visionary skills had helped to create. At the turn of the twentieth century he brought his own American dream to London's Oxford Street where, in 1909, with a massive burst of publicity, Harry opened Selfridge's, England's first truly modern built-for-purpose department store. Designed to promote shopping as a sensual and pleasurable experience, six acres of floor space offered what he called "everything that enters into the affairs of daily life," as well as thrilling new luxuries--from ice-cream soda to signature perfumes. This magical emporium also featured Otis elevators, a bank, a rooftop garden with an ice-skating rink, and a restaurant complete with orchestra--all catering to customers from Anna Pavlova to Noel Coward. The store was "a theatre, with the curtain going up at nine o'clock." Yet the real drama happened off the shop floor, where Mr. Selfridge navigated an extravagant world of mistresses, opulent mansions, racehorses, and an insatiable addiction to gambling. While his gloriously iconic store still stands, the man himself would ultimately come crashing down.The true story that inspired the Masterpiece series on PBS * Mr. Selfridge is a co-production of ITV Studios and Masterpiece"Enthralling . . . [an] energetic and wonderfully detailed biography."--London Evening Standard "Will change your view of shopping forever."--Vogue (U.K.)From the Trade Paperback edition.

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