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Friday, November 15, 2013

Selfridges: A Century of Regal

"The admiration and appreciation of remarkable and enduring finery" is how I would describe my response to my investigation and discovery of Selfridges Department Store on Oxford Street in London.  The iconic neo-classical landmark was built and opened by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909, turning Oxford Street from "undesirable backwater" to the the trendiest fashion shopping destination in London.

In May of 2012, Selfridges was crowned the World's No. 1 Department Store by IGDS (Intercontinental Group of Department Stores) and after an entire century, continues its in-store experience, elusive quality, and grandiose setting, and "steadfastly glamorous solution to any of your shopping needs.", says Idol Magazine.

Selfridges' Department Store
"The Selfridges brand has gone from strength to strength worldwide, and this prestigious retail award recognizes its true value as a performer and innovator," said Selfridges' owner Galen Weston. The remarkable history and continued success of Selfridges produced and continues to headline in Vogue Magazine, The UK Independent, Forbes, not to forget the TV series "Mr. Selfridge", and adaptation of the book by Lindy Woodhead "Shopping, Seduction, & Mr. Selfridge", now nominated for a Primetime Emmy and available online through IMDb, an company.

What really intrigued me during my search and discovery of Selfridges' history was the PBS special entitled, "Secrets of Selfridges". The special is a tribute to the Department Store's adaptability, innovation, and excellence, let's not forget Harry Gordon Selfridge, who's legacy remains a world leader in fashion and experience.

Remarkable, isn't it? The credits, headlines, and pedigree continue and yet......I want to take you back to nearly the beginning of the Selfridges' legacy......
For London’s women it was particularly liberating. For the first time they could go out alone and still be respectable and comfortable. Incredibly, Selfridges was the first ever store in Britain to provide women’s toilets. Soon the suffragettes, campaigning for the female vote, found a key ally in Selfridge and his store. Selfridge also broke down entrenched British class barriers. His innovation of discounts and the bi-annual sale are taken for granted now. In 1910 it had upper class ladies and working women scrambling for the same goods. He took the risk of bringing cosmetics out of hiding and placed it right by the ground floor entrance.                
At this time in history, Selfridge seemed to key into the needs of women and I'm quite sure our amazing cabin trunk (in stock at FMF Compagnie) was used by those same women in London who had a need for travel accessories.

This spectacular travel piece has large wooden ribs surrounding the body of the trunk, used to protect the trunk's contents while traveling. The corners and trim-work are leather and the original latches are brass, full of character and appropriately tarnished!

Imagine how stunned Beth and I were to find the trunk's original key, with the Selfridges' tag still intact! 

What an amazing treasure to find, hand-written on one side with the description, "Larger C.C. Cabin Trunk". Someone, maybe Ms. Pemberton, as the name stamped on the top of the trunk indicates, took excellent care of their travel trunk.

One thing we know for certain, this trunk and its owner were well-traveled.  Take a look at the wonderful original antique travel stickers on the trunk.

Let's take the North Eastern Railway to Chalfont & Latimer or Hamburg, shall we?

The interior of the trunk is delicately beautiful. You can see the quality in the workmanship and detail.

Do you suppose Ms. Pemberton's trading cards or other important information was tucked safely under the interesting lattice of string?

And the serial number marked in the leather handle along with the stork in the brass tag are stamps of pride by the original manufacturer. (I am still doing research on the original maker of this trunk, so if you have any insight, I would love to hear from you:

When it comes to great design, Beth and I agree, using something today that comes with such amazing history and significance adds to the charm of our homes.

Like the Selfridges legacy reminds us, give your home elusive quality and be steadfastly glamorous!

You can find this trunk along with a great selection of steadfastly glamorous antiques and vintage pieces on our website:

And now, it's your turn! Please share your story with us! Is there a wonderful trunk or train case that you use in your home? Do tell! We'd love to hear about it!



Friday, November 1, 2013

Little Orange Hearts for Jackie

As the days grow dark in England and the sun sets lower in our sky, I am reminded of fall in Scottsdale with the warm temperatures coming down to the 70's but still sunshine every day....oh sunshine!

At our home we had over 24 orange trees on the property and we named our adobe home, La Finca de Naranjas because of the beautiful grove surrounding it. We squeezed fresh oranges every day starting in late November and early December. I used to give a jug of fresh squeezed juice as Christmas gifts and my tag always had a little orange skin heart hot glued on as an embellishment. So, today as I was thinking of Jackie preparing her Arcadia Citrus Grove line, I cut little hearts and started drying them. I also cut up all the left over scraps of the skin and let them dry as well. Ultimately, I will use the hearts on ornaments I make, or on gift tags. All of the little tangerine scraps I will mix with orange skin scraps, dried crushed cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon to make holiday sachets. I am going to mail some of the little hearts to Jackie for her to use on future embellishments on her products.I just can't help myself participating long distance with the Arcadia Citrus Groves product I nibbled on some tangerines at lunch today!

Peeling an orange or a tangerine is one of those gifts from God. The burst of fragrance and the spurt of citrus juice are a sensory delight! I have always loved oranges and used them through the years to decorate with in our home. Miss having them right out my front and back doors.

There is a new product that Jackie just finished this is your sneak peek!!! Every time you use her orange liquid soap it is going to be just like peeling  a fresh orange! What a treat as you wash up!

She has also designed the most precious orange sachet out of burlap and filled with a mixture similar to mine with oranges, cinnamon and nutmeg. Wonderful in a kitchen drawer with your daily dish towels.

I am just too far away in Fall arrives here and the seasonal darkness comes in....I am dreaming of being in Scottsdale with Jackie working together on the Arcadia Citrus Groves line and with our vintage and antique pieces. We have a fun project in the works, partnering with a local spot in Scottsdale.....but more on that later!

Jim and I have been trying to get out and about in London on Saturdays and Sundays after church to see as much as we can while we live in the City. After being in London for three weeks we continue visiting  different neighborhoods that are special. Recently we went to Shoreditch which is a very trendy spot for clothes shopping. They are quite well known for a shopping center that is constructed from large shipping containers and housing 'pop up stores'.

We also visited Brick Lane....totally vintage clothing heaven.

One store after another and the people watching was some of the best I've seen in a long time,especially if you love quirky fashion! Again, a lot of pop up shops in patios and basements.

We fell in love with this one lane we just happened upon that was quiet and had town homes in beautiful old brick, three stories, and simple shutters adorning the windows. It reminded us of colonial neighborhoods in the States. We would have loved to have moved right in!!! I especially loved this one with the mouse back grey brown color on the door and shutters with the old brick.

Once you find these neighborhoods, every lane has something that lures you in, especially when it comes to trendy fashion. I love clothes, but I love interior stores more and I am finding it really hard to find innovative interiors in the City. But I am determined, and will continue to look.

Looking at all these orange pictures, I'm needing a citrus snack. Cheers from London...