Pictured Above: The Men's Personal Shopping Lounge | Courtesy of Selfridges
By Colin Crummy
At a glance, Selfridges & Co. looks more museum piece than contemporary hub. The sole majestic presence on the British capital’s congested Oxford Street, the London store opened in 1909, and the building retains much of its period charm. The Queen of Time, a 1931 bronze-and-blue clock, sits grandly above the front entrance, crying out for couples to meet under it. But if the architecture speaks of bygone romance, Selfridges’ shopping is a much more contemporary experience. A fashionable vision runs throughout the project, from luxury goods to hip restaurants.
At Selfridges, commerce is raised to an art form. The shopfront window displays, whether sending political messages (the current campaign, Project Ocean, raises water pollution awareness) or Christmas cheer, are set as if in picture frames in an art gallery. A Selfridges shopping bag is a graphic design dream of block black text on egg yolk yellow. For more exclusive attention, try the personal-shopping experience. As you search for the perfect blazer or fitted pants, lounge in the sitting room, with its comfy sofas and ample fashion reference materials. Three suites are used for private fittings, where natty royals and movie stars are known to show up regularly, according to Joe Ottaway, the stylist who heads up the service.
Once you’ve exhausted yourself browsing, head to the rooftop restaurant to refuel. Most recently it was Vintage Salt, inspired by a Cornish fishing village, the concept restaurant is relaxed and perfect for lounging on a summer afternoon. Along with great fresh seafood (try the harissa-roasted sea trout), don’t pass up the Chocolate Burger for dessert; it’s a confection that mimics a bun and fixings with sweet surprises, along with a side of sugary churros as “fries.”
Right: Mr. Selfridge TV Show