Whilst having Lady GaGa's Judas on endless repeat - I have made another trip to London and whilst not being in the financial position to purchase anything other than a slick in-sale military United Colors of Benetton peacoat, I have undoubtedly window shopped.
Everyone does it - it's in our nature, we may not be able to afford something but we can gaze at it with longing eyes in the hope that one day we will. What's more is that, as people, we can try and hide it but we are innately curious. Whether we enjoy taking a quick peep into someone's window on a walk or take pleasure in flicking through the pages of perezhilton.com - we like to indulge in the lives and lifestyles of other people. We like to indulge in the clothes of other people.
However, unlike the window of a neighbour or a celebrity, the window of a shop is meant to be looked at. Like a magazine, it should catch our attention and draw us into its world, in such away that, at least for one moment, nothing else seems to matter. Thus, whilst affordable stores, such as Topshop and H&M, do well to prevent their windows from morphing into the sight of a humdrum high-street, designer and department stores are the shops which really take their displays to the next level.
It literally is nigh impossible to walk down the likes of designer's paradise Sloane Street without bumping into anything - every window desires and deserves to be looked at, whereas, in comparison to its windows, the pavement and its occupants do not.
However, designers often aim to display their clothes in fairly simple backgrounds so that us pedestrians come potential customers are entranced by nothing but their clothes. There are no distractions. In contrast, department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Selfridges create unbelievably avant-garde displays in order to transport you into their seemingly accessible world of luxury and beauty. You turn your head to catch a glimpse of a designer window, whereas, you stop your tracks to gaze at those of the infamous department stores.
Harrods windows posses a brilliant Britishness, whilst Harvey Nichols' take luxury to the extreme but it is the slick yet quirky displays of Selfridges that are my personal favourites. Primarily, as a store, Selfridges is perfection. Its layout is inviting and it combines designer and high street labels in such a way that it is impossible not to enjoy or be offended by your Selfridges experience.
And in order to enter Selfridges, you must pass its windows - the gateways, which lead to utopia. They stand out like stars in the night sky - illuminating Oxford Street for the world to see, as opposed to being drowned out by the array of shops, which surround it. From the-definition-of-glamazon mannequins for the BRIGHT young THiNGS display of January to the current display, in which mannequins find themselves encased in flowers and mushrooms - Selfridges always intrigues the passer-by.
January 2011 - Thank you - http://www.boymeetsfashion.com/ for the pictures.
March 2011 - Apologies for the reflection.
As you can clearly see Selfridges understands window displays. It understands them in the way that Karl Lagerfeld understands Chanel and Anna Wintour understands Vogue. They all know how to stay true to their brands, yet also how to modernise them in order that their audiences do not become bored. Lagerfeld knows when to add a miniskirt into a Chanel collection, Wintour knows when to place a pair of jeans on the front of Vogue and Selfridges knows when to place a tree trunk in its windows.
Moreover, they contort their mannequins into such positions that they are not just inanimate objects but beings of some wondrous work of art. The clothes come to life, whether they are held in balletic death-defying positions or romantic nature-absorbed slouches. Their beauty is not hindered but enhanced and I like the 200 million people who pass it each year - adore it.
So next time you find yourself anywhere near Oxford Street - go to Selfridges. Stop, stare, have a sandwich. You may not be able to afford what lies in its windows but you can still enjoy their beauty. And perhaps, if you have time, you can make a quick visit to the gorgeous shoe hall in order to appreciate beauty some more - after all, in a world of stress and social injustice, you deserve it.