FLIGHT OF FANCY: Selfridges is aiming to fire up its customers’ gray matter as the year kicks off, with the unveiling Friday of the store’s Festival of Imagination. The festival will take the form of a six-week program of inspiring talks, lectures and discussions at Selfridges’ stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

Anchoring the festival is a chic amphitheater in Selfridges’ Oxford Street store, designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, which has been dubbed the store’s Imaginarium. The space, located on Selfridges’ lower ground floor, will host talks and events that will run from a talk by artist Rolf Sachs, through to a lecture by psychologist and dancer Peter Lovatt, to Kicksana exercise classes — which combine elements of Thai boxing, yoga, stretching and creative visualization — hosted by the London-based Kick Studio and active wear label Sweaty Betty. Photographer Nick Knight and stylist Nicola Formichetti will also be in conversation in a sold-out event in the London store February 3, while poet laureate Carol Anne Duffy will give a lecture there Jan. 29 and author Jeanette Winterson will speak at Selfridges in Manchester’s Exchange Square on the same day.

“We have a great heritage in innovation, invention and retail theater, and it only feels right to continue to nurture it,” said Linda Hewson, director of creative and windows at Selfridges. “We felt that to do a whole festival on [imagination] would be a great start to 2014 and a perfect follow up to our first wellbeing campaign, No Noise [held in early 2013], which looked at mindfulness and meditation.” The Festival of Imagination will run through to March 2 at Selfridges.

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