This Christmas nobody has more front than Harrods

  • @R_Gonsalves

Fans of the BBC period drama The Paradise, or indeed of Emile Zola's 1883 novel The Ladies' Paradise, on which the series is based, will know that presenting a fantasy to customers is half the luxury retail battle.

Never is this more true than at Christmastime: as shoppers flock to online emporiums, bricks-and-mortar stores must attract and entice customers. Few know this better than Harrods, the glamorous department store which opened on its current Knightsbridge site in 1849 after moving from Stepney, east London. As a single-unit grocer's it didn't have quite as impressive a shop front. But as it expanded, let's just say the window cleaning bill increased to match. Harrods has never been one for doing things by half – its exterior is lit by 11,500 lightbulbs, after all – and the store's windows are now home to 10 Disney princesses and heroines. Surely nothing could be more fantastical than a series of vignettes starring Disney heroines? Well, how about dressing each of them in a gown custom-made by the most exclusive and covetable design houses around? And so, if you go down to Brompton Road today, you will see Cinderella searching for her glass Christian Louboutin slipper dressed in Versace, Aurora sleeping beautifully in Elie Saab, and Jasmine floating on Aladdin's magic carpet in draped fuchsia silk by Escada.