LONDON — Selfridges is defying the downturn with a celebration to mark 100 years in the retail business, including an exhibition charting the store’s history, weekend musical events and yellow anniversary-themed products from brands including Marc Jacobs, Giles, Paul Smith, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s and Coca-Cola.
“We all feel about 150 years old at the moment because of all the planning,” said chief executive Paul Kelly on Monday. “Despite the general climate, we have a lot to celebrate, and we want our customers to know there’s still a lot of joy out there and fun to be had.”
The anniversary will kick off Thursday night with Champagne and birthday cake at the store — which has been festooned with 1,500 yellow origamilike airplanes — and continue through May.
The exhibition, staged in the 3,000-square-foot Ultralounge, touches on founder Harry Gordon Selfridge’s personal passions — shopping-as-entertainment; air travel; all things mystical; the store’s celebrity customers and services (Selfridges packed the Duchess of Windsor’s suitcases for her 1936 journey into exile), and the grand, themed events of past years, including Bollywood and Vegas.
“It is meant to entertain — and to educate,” said curator Lindy Woodhead, author of “Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge,” a biography of the store’s founder. “Gordon Selfridge was a breath of fresh air. He was an American, and he had an egalitarian approach to shopping — Selfridges catered to the rich and the poor alike.”
As part of the celebration, the store has also decorated the flagship’s Oxford Street windows with vintage designs — Twenties boudoirs and football displays — and has booked in weekend entertainment, including DJing by Giles Deacon, Henry Holland, Amy Molyneaux and Percy Parker.
Selfridges’ Wonder Room is an homage to all things yellow, ranging from Absolut Vodka bottles to Christian Louboutin stilettos to Alexander McQueen skull-adorned clutches to Diptyque candles.
But the store is celebrating more than a birthday. Profits and sales are on the rise, thanks in part to a bump from overseas tourists taking advantage of the weaker pound, and the store plans to unveil its first e-commerce multichannel site next year. The site will be for the U.K. only, and will offer a “slice” of Selfridges’ merchandise with a continually changing roster of brands.
Kelly said the privately owned store expects to post sales and profit gains for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, and that sales and profit growth in the first three months of the current fiscal year are also positive year-on-year.
In the last fiscal year to Jan. 31, 2008, the store posted sales of 655 million pounds, or $963 million at current exchange, and profits of 84.1 million pounds, or $124 million.
“Business is good but tough — and there’s no point in moaning,” said Kelly. “The reality is that you can buy a Louis Vuitton bag anywhere in the world. We have to demonstrate every single day that Selfridges is where customers should be spending their money.”
“Last year, we knew things were beginning to change. We took action, and it came right for us,” said Kelly. “This isn’t the first tough time that Selfridges has been through during the past 100 years: It’s seen war, depression and recession, and it’s still managed to evolve.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews