Praise for The World of Department Stores:
“Since my visits as a child to La Opera Department Store in Santo Domingo, I have believed that the best department stores are merchants not of clothing or shoes or cosmetics but of dreams. Whitaker’s book is a remarkable around-the-world look at these dream factories. It is an invaluable resource to anyone interested in the business of retailing and to shoppers everywhere.”—Oscar de la Renta
“The World of Department Stores is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the foundations of the urban experience in the West and the department store as the ultimate expression of the needs of the rising middle class and its tastes.” —Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
“I have nothing but good memories about the many department stores that played an important part in my business, [and] I warmly welcome the publication of this wonderful and unique book on department stores throughout the world.” —Hubert de Givenchy
“(A) visual feast . . . with authoritative and informative text.” —The Sacramento Bee
“The birth of the department store in the late 19th century brought everything glamorous together under one roof—from inviting, intelligent architecture and design to the latest fashions. Jan Whitaker's The World of Department Stores looks back to the biggest and brightest shops—including the belle epoque splendor of Paris's Bon Marché, the block-long, palatial GUM in Moscow; and the always outrageous holiday windows at Barneys New York.”—Elle Décor
About The World of Department Stores
Who first introduced Manolo Blahnik to American consumers: British Vogue or a canny buyer at Bendel’s? And where under one roof can shoppers find Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton? And where, besides the great department stores of Europe, Japan, and America, was it possible for shoppers, generally women, to spend the day in an extraordinarily opulent setting, drifting from shoes to cosmetics, with a stop for a light lunch on the seventh floor, and a visit to the bookstore, florist, or hairdresser? Here, Jan Whitaker has recreated the ultimate shopping experience, bringing to life all the services and excitement that shopping emporia from Harrods to Barney's to Galeries Lafayette have offered to millions of visitors for more than a century.
This is the first beautifully illustrated book on department stores, with photographs and ephemera from all over the world. Born in the Gilded Age in France, the department store grew up thanks to the industrial revolution, the rise of the middle class, and the invention of steel-frame architecture and the elevator. Spectacular entrances led to marble staircases and floor after floor of merchandise and amenities. These emporiums also inspired a whole new way of merchandising: shopping became an entertainment rather than a laborious grind; posters and advertisements were made by the great artists of the time; and elaborate shop windows attracted thousands of people during the holidays. The department store quickly spread through Europe and Asia and then the New World, and great architects were employed to build these temples of consumerism, where dreams were created and then fulfilled.
This lavish book goes behind the fabulous window displays, gorgeous shopping bags, and in-store extravaganzas promoting everything from shoes to perfumes to the latest fashion sensation to reveal and celebrate the department store in unprecedented richness and detail.
About the Contributor(s)
Jan Whitaker is the author of Service and Style: How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class and Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America. An expert on retailing and restaurants, she received her M.A. in Sociology from Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
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