Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Brits Do It Better

No one does period drama quite like the Brits! America loved “Downton Abbey” and can’t wait for the 4th season. "Parade’s End” was superb and even more dramatic! Starting Sunday on Masterpiece
Theatre, the 8 part “Mr. Selfridge” begins with Jeremy Piven starring as Harry  Gordon Selfridge.  It’s about time the merchants had their day!

Harry Selfridge was brash and charismatic when he came to London in 1904, rich from his days at Marshall Fields in Chicago.  He thought London would be perfect for a “modern department store” and opened Selfridge’s in 1909. The British Press called “Mr. Selfridge”, “Downton Abbey with tills" (cash registers).
I’m definitely looking forward to it!

I couldn’t get enough of “Downton Abbey” and would love to visit Highclere where many scenes were filmed. Highclere’s owner in the early 20th century was the fifth Earl, Lord Carnarvon, who bankrolled Howard Carter in his pursuit to find the tomb of Tutankhamen. The Earl’s wife, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, Almina, turned Highclere into a hospital during World War 1.

Downton Abbey featured amazing interiors found at Highclere today.

“Where is Carson?”

Parade’s End is like Downton Abbey for grownups. The story is masterfully adapted by Tom Stoppard from 3 novels by Ford Madox Ford. Fabulous interiors are used featuring Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, and Edwardian styles. Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall are fantastic! It’s on Netflix!

The beautiful Rebecca Hall is lost in thought against the period William Morris wallpaper.

The original House of Selfridge and Co. on Oxford Street London in 1909.

This is the modern Selfridge store in Birmingham England. The company is owned today by Canada’s “Galen Weston.”

I fondly remember visiting truly iconic department stores like Bloomingdales’s on 59th street and the original Sak’s Fifth Avenue in New York City.  They were really unique and special.  Marla and I were in Lord & Taylor and witnessed a young Ralph Lauren and his staff check out a display of western styled apparel. He was obsessed with detail then as I am sure he is now!

***Check out the YouTube teaser on “Mr. Selfridge.” It looks great!

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