I have to admit that, from an early age, I have had more than a slight interest in the retail world and shopping in general. I used to have a fantasy of being accidentally locked in a department store overnight, free to roam with the place all to myself. I am not sure, but perhaps that dream was fueled by the children's book,"Corduroy" (ever read it?)
I grew up mostly in Detroit, famous for some pretty phenomenally large and varied department stores at one time, before the town hit the skids and turned into not such a pretty place. Those stores moved into the burbs and so did I and some very happy times were spent on trips to department stores for things like school clothes and general entertainment. The good old department store, replete with multiple restaurants and extensive home furnishing departments is an endangered, if not extinct, specie. Nowadays, "proper" department stores are a dying breed and so the long-lived and celebrated ones remain cultural icons.
This new release by Vendome covers this amazing world and catalogs its history with fascinating historical photos and text, accompanied by up-to-date looks at both the interiors and exteriors of these amazing places. Author Jan Whitaker has done a masterful job of drawing you in while she presents an educational and enthralling look into this wonder of the urban culture.
the men's shop at Bergdorf Goodman in New York
Harrod's butcher shop in 1920's London (not exactly understocked!)
My all-time favorite store, Printemps, Paris in earlier days
The famous facades of Harrods, London and Galeries LaFayette, Paris
The book department at Bon Marche, Paris
Obika Bar in Selfridges, London
You can find more on World of Department Stores here.