There are shoe departments and then there are The Shoe Galleries at Selfridges, which take customers on a retail journey of six ‘galleries’, 11 shoe boutiques and 4,000 pairs of shoes on display over a whole floor.
It's a shoe wonderland and beats the recent 'biggest shoe department' record over at Saks in New York hands down.
The Shoe Galleries was designed by architect Jamie Fobert to be a place of exploration within Selfridges, recently voted the world’s best department store. Actually it's like there are layers of shoe rooms to discover and explore from high-street to designer to what I would call uber-designer.
‘Imagine you are in a gallery,’ says Selfridges’ director of accessories Sebastian Manes. ‘From the entrance you see a succession of doorways and at the end a huge window flooding the space with daylight. Your journey begins at the front, with shoes from the best of the high street. Slowly you begin to travel through different galleries until you reach the end – the couture designer gallery, flanked by Chanel and Louboutin, and a vision of Eden – the new suspended garden at Selfridges.’
I hunted out some serious Alexander Wang heels, some great grey Givenchy booties, those Balenciaga op-art pumps and the must-have Celine courts for this autumn. I hear Selfridges has negotiated plenty of exclusives with designers for the various rooms. Meanwhile there are shop-in-shops for the likes of Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Repetto that are designed to reflect the homes of each of the designers.
What I also heard on the industry grapevine was that because D&G didn't get one of the designer boutique 'rooms' flanking the main designer floor they had a bit of a disagreement with management and pulled out of selling to Selfridges completely. That's £1m revenue in shoes alone! Hissy fit or what!!!