Latest Obsession: Mr Selfridge

Mr Selfridge collage - Agnes Henry Valerie

God bless TiVo for keeping Mr Selfridge safe until I had the chance to sit down and watch it. The ITV period drama has been languishing in a folder, threatening to delete itself for weeks – perhaps fair when you consider that the show was first broadcast back in January.

I remember Twitter going nuts with excitement at the programme that explored the life of Harry Gordon Selfridge, the American who opened that little shop on Oxford Street called Selfridges, changing the face of retail at the time, and whose ideas and catchphrases are still used on the shop floor today. The series is an adaptation of Lindy Woodhead’s Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge – a book now firmly on my wishlist – and offers a look at a completely different period in time, not just in the way people dressed but in how they shopped.

Shopping for clothes today on the high street today is about desire and socialising as much as it is about the need to dress oneself. It baffles me to think that all clothes were handmade until this point – being about to buy ‘off the rack’ was simply unheard of – and make-up was deemed unsuitable to sell in full view on the shop floor.

Along with the social and historical aspects of the drama, I have of course fallen for the clothes the lead characters wear. My favourite has to be the Parisian, Valerie, for her daring look – a doctor’s bag, fedora-style hat, calf length skirt, cream blouses, blazers and loosely done up polka dot tie. It’s a very masculine look that ruffles a few feathers on the shop floor but I love the way her outfit challenges the way women were dressing in Britain at the time.

Towards the end of the series Rose and Rosalie Selfridge also wear some exquisite cream day dresses, and Agnes and her fellow shop assistants work their Edwardian hairstyles so that there isn’t a strand out of place.

The series is coming back for a second season next year, and is apparently set four years in the future, so the fashions and attitudes to what goes on sale on the shop floor could be very interesting indeed.

Have you seen Mr Selfridge? Did you love it or hate it? Share your favourite characters/outfits in the comments below.

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Filed under costume

4 responses to “Latest Obsession: Mr Selfridge

  1. eleanorjanebirdy

    I’ve seen several episodes. I do love Edwardian boufant hair, but I’m so grateful it’s not in style now as my hair is far too thin to achieve something like that, even with pads!

    I did get a bit annoyed at the sexism i.e. the male lead having affairs, his wife all mousy and quiet at home and trianing their daughter to be mousy too (but there are some better female characters too).

    I do love a good period drama, but nothing has topped Downton Abbey yet…

    • I actually haven’t seen Downton Abbey yet ( I know, I know) but I may have to start as watching this has given me a hankering for a period drama. I agree with you on the affairs though – weird as he professed to loving his wife so much and doting on her for the first few episodes!

  2. Pingback: Rock The Week | shipshapeandbristolfashion

  3. Pingback: Rock The Week | shipshapeandbristolfashion

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