Friday, December 9, 2011

The World of Department Stores

Just in time for the holidays, Vendome Press released "the World of Department Stores" by Jan Whitaker for every die-hard shopper on your list!Not just pretty pictures (although it contains MANY of those), the book is a fascinating look at the rise of our consumer based society and our new house of worship, the Department Store.

The photos of the old department stores entralled me most, such as the reading room of the Bon Marche (2nd photo above) or an ad for the Palacio de Hierro in Mexico City: such glamour! The book covers the rise of the genre in the 19th century through the changes department stores have made into the 21st century to remain viable. Technology has always been a big part of the business (see the life-like models at Printemps in 1924 above) but on the other hand, nostalgia plays to many as well (see Harrod's food hall today below).

Geared towards the holiday season are the many window displays we all love. What child in us can't appreciate the Christmas windows of Lord & Taylor?

And who can forget Simon Doonan's windows for Barneys (my personal favorite!)

Be sure to add the World of Department Stores to your Christmas wishlist!


Mark D. Ruffner said...

Your posting reminded me of my favorite department store in Pittsburgh, Kauffman's. When I was there in the 1960s, Kauffman's devoted one whole floor to antiques!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Mark, you're preaching to the choir -I'm from Pittsburgh! Remember all of the restaurants in Kauffman's too? The Tick Tock Shop! The store still runs but much smaller (than even 10 years ago). I remember as a child the enormous bookstore, toystore and the antiques department! All since long gone sadly.

Todd said...

I could live in Harrods food hall! It's one of my favorite places on earth, it's like the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory for foodies. Can't wait to flip through this book!
Also - is that Galeries Lafayette on the cover? I was there like 15 years ago and it's one of my favorites!

Kerry Steele- Design du Monde said...

This book looks great! I love department stores. Harrods was dreamy.
All of the Kauffman's stores are now Macy's :(

Ann said...

A department store that sold antiques and food? Now you are speaking my language! Love the book, what a fun gift.

Anonymous said...

I rushed out an bought this book - what memories it brings back - Christmas lunches at the Raphael Weill Room of White House and at the Normandy Lane Tearoom of the City of Paris, both in San Francisco, and both sadly long gone. In San Francisco the Christmas season officially began when the City of Paris put up their enormous tree in the rotunda (the only part of the store to survive, incorporated into the new construction of the ghastly post-modern Neiman Marcus store on Union Square). When I moved to Washington the tradition continued at the tearoom of Woodward and Lothrop, also a wonderful store in its heyday - especially the model rooms in the furniture department.

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful, I'm putting it on my wish list.
I have loved all your recommendations.
Have fabulous holidays!

Karena said...

Oh Stefan it sounds like an amazing book!! So many right now for the holidays!


Art by Karena

Richard said...

I would add the original Loehman's in Brooklyn which had an ornate wrought iron staircase which led to a see through wrought iron platform above with chairs and couches below where men could sit and look up through the see through railing as their wives, girl friends and paramours tried on their dreams.

Reggie Darling said...

Okay, here's a book to add to my Santa's list this year. I look foraward to delving in into the pages of what once were the greatest mercantile establishments on earth, now sadly degraded and outmoded by every day low prices big box retailers and bargain specialty shops. Reggie