Sunday 20 December 2009

Selfridges goes for fairy tales ... with grotesque retail twists.

Daughter and I were in shopping calvary on Oxford Street when we chanced upon Selfridge's fairy tale themed window displays.

A terrifying Goldilocks with petrified bears.

And Red Riding Hood is scarier than the wolf

And what a shapely Puss in Boots

And here's Cinderella's glamorous interruptus moment

And the mice flee with a golden slipper

And Captain Hook is stuck with a display of clocks!

And Snow White is good as dead (here shown with one of the seven dwarfs portrayed by clown faced child mannequins ... shudder)

All good fun with just that touch of darkness fairy tales are known for.


  1. I saw this lot from the bus last Thursday and hated them!

  2. For once I'm almost glad that I'm stuck in 'sleepy' Leicester doing my shopping. They're scary. Of course, the rest of the year I envy you like crazy. Shopping down Oxford Street! What a treat!

  3. Rosalind, it was hell on Oxford Street. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

    Book Maven, the very interesting thing about them was that they were being ironic in a way not very complimentary to the goods on show!

  4. Remarkable similar to the display in Newcastle last Christmas... wonder if they just re-used them? No Bluebeard, though? Where is their Christmas spirit ;-)

  5. really, Stroppy (love using your web ID)? maybe there was a blue beard, i might have just missed it as i walked along oxford street (because no buses were stopping). how strange if they did recycle a display from elsewhere.

  6. Comments from Facebook

    Jessica: I like this store!

    Candy: I try to avoid entering it, my pockets are not deep enough!

    Sandra: the previous display, a few weeks ago, was all drag queens, if I remember correctly. Selfridges is too sophisticated for me these days. And too loud. The only exception is the food hall. Give me safe old John Lewis any day.

    Candy it really is sinister and sophisticated -but then so are a lot of fairy tales.

    Ramón: Lush windows these.

    Frankie: nobody can accuse them of being too cute

    Ramón I find Cinderella's pose either erotically or "post-partumly" threatening.

  7. Yes, I thought they were pretty camp. Somewhere on the line between sinister and badly done.

    What is the role of this kind of window display, I'm asking myself now?

    Clearly not, as you suggest, about advertising/selling the goods on display. More like a car or perfume ad - a certain degree of postmodern irony or just 'cleverness' that grants the viewer who claims to 'get it' a certain degree of visual cultural literacy and sophistication?

    Is the high camp (that re-writing of the fairy tale from a magical realist perspective of sorts) a rejoinder to the proliferation of conformist digital screen cultures?

    Is the department store harking back to its 19th century roots - all heightened spectacle and display of wealth, consumption and its underbelly?

  8. Sorry I seem to have posted twice and can't delete my first comment. Apologies.

  9. No worries,I deleted them!

    Thanks, Poet in Paradise - you so eloquently put into words what I was too lazy to craft.

    I guess they are trying to shock, to provoke comment like ours. Upmarket, ironic ... but also quite cynical.


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