Capital Gains: Fatal attraction of sex and shopping

Gorgeous, pouting Mark has worked at the chi-chi Gianfranco Ferre shop in Knightsbridge for six months. His sensual looking bluejohn eyes bat at the very suggestion that flirting with the customers might quicken both sales and the working day. Heavens, as if he would. It isn't his fault that he's an Adonis among men, is it? Did he ask for a jaw this square, place an order for cheekbones this high? No. He modestly sees a liking for people, an enthusiasm for clothes and 'an enormous amount of patience as the best tools for the job. He doesn't need to flirt.

Still, you can't escape that the beautiful are a pleasure to be around and that an inordinately high percentage of eye-popping personages happen to inhabit London's more upmarket retail outlets. Premeditated tactic or happy coincidence? Which accounts for the herds of the handsome stampeding through Heals every Saturday, willing to obey your every wish? Whatever, Mark in Ferre has to be one of capitalism's most seductive sales techniques.

Thank god. London's favourite pastime - shopping therapy - isn't what it once was. The Eighties are long gone. It's 1994 and we're supposed to be more caring and less materialist. Anyone who makes shopping the intense but uncomplicated experience it once was will earn the thanks of a grateful capital: glamorous shop assistants are the real heroes and heroines of our climes, a kind word here, a sustaining smile there, like Florence Nightingale at Scutari.

Indeed, shopping can be a self-centred, solitary pleasure and without the Venuses and Narcissi behind the tills, it would be onanism with bank charges.

'Staff are carefully chosen admits Kim, PA and oriental beauty at Muji, 'but to be sympathetic, to generate the right atmosphere. Good interaction isn't always going to be flirting. That would be exhausting.

Perhaps. But you don't have to be Julie Burchill to know there's a link between sex and shopping: spend, spend, spend. A jiggle and a giggle with charming, attentive assistants lulls and titillates the customer. The ability to put us at our ease is perhaps the quality shared by the metropolis's cutest shop assistants and good looks are just part of the arsenal they employ (Laurent at Stephane Kelian has the added advantage of a ludicrously erotic French accent). And they live only to serve: long legged, blonde Bridgette, the much fancied Saturday girl at clubby women's clothes palace Wit and Wisdom in Hyper Hyper, just wants to make us 'comfy. I help and I advise, but I know people don't want to be overpowered.'

True. There can be no move more fatal to the delicate courtship ritual that gets us to part with cash than that premature come-on - 'Would you like any help? - just as we're through the door.

SHOP 'TIL YOU COP

The Conran Shop 81 Fulham Rd, SW3

(071-589 7401). It's not just the furniture that's good-looking in the Michelin building.

Emporio Armani 191 Brompton Rd, SW3 (071 823 8818). Latin lookers.

Harrods SW1 (071-730 1234). Harrod's isn't just fierce matrons with hair in a bun, or even fiercer girls in war-paint selling cosmetics. Way In has some nice surprises.

Joseph 77 Fulham Rd (071 823 9500). Quite definitely the most beautiful girls in London. Equally definitely, not the jolliest.

Murray's Meat Market 32 Northcote Rd, SW11 (071 924 3639) and branches. Rough trade doesn't describe the winsome charm of these wholesome lads. How about 'nostalgia de la butcher's boy'?

Nakedly Nothing 230 Portobello Rd, W11 (071 221 2910). Gorgeous people, gorgeously romantic clothes.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

    Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

    £96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste