it must be part of my summer holiday fall-out or the anticipation of next season’s shopping that’s got me going on about department stores. don’t get me wrong, i love snooping around small streets and little bespoke boutiques but for that hit of the season, i like to browse the top of the crop first. face it, being confronted with last season’s sensation turned stale just makes you want to run out and redeem yourself at the nearest outlet. and what better place than harrods? back in my homeworld, i never had the chance to make such a trip a reality, but now that i can just hop across the channel, harrods has become a very real part of my life.
sure, the models of department stores and the designer labels they carry have emptied pockets, ruined relationships and resulted in financial breakdowns throughout history. but it’s the attraction of unattainability that lures all and sundry back again to have a sense of escape from the mundane and a feeling of belonging to some special society. retail empires have capitalised on this very real and loyal following exemplified by the pilgrimages made by devotees flocking to the smallest country in the world - harrods.
the question of whether such an old style model can survive the online battles and accessibility of modern retail strategies has just been answered with the opening their super-shoe-heaven, launching an exclusive range of iconic ‘silver lining’ designer shoes by the who’s who of the shoe. the setting of 42000 sqft of shoe-ness, with 50 leading brands over 17 boutiques in an club-privé atmosphere created by david collins studio. they succeeded in creating a superlative-glossy-elitism which reminds strongly of derbyshire’s 16th century statement of wealth and luxury : hardwick hall, more glass than wall.
the david collins treatment perfectly balances the show- or in this case shoe-casing of merchandise in a signature style which i refer to as post-war-plush and with harrods’ latest collection on display it’s not such a stretch to imagine oneself being inside a giant jewellery box…