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 Amazon.com 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: jackie@fmfcompagnie.com.)

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:  www.FMFCompagnie.com.

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!

xoxo

Jackie

2 comments:

  1. Were you able to find out anything about this trunk? I have one with the same brass tag that has a stork on it.

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    1. Hi Jen,
      I wish I had more information for sure. What we do know is that the key is tagged by Selfridges and is original to the trunk. I've inquired but haven't received any replies. If you happen to find out more, please do let us know!
      Thanks so much!
      Jackie

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