Still from a film for Selfridges womenswear department by Gareth Pugh


When Selfridges unveiled their newly appointed womenswear department at the beginning of the year, hopes were high.

It doesn’t disappoint: airy, spacious and packed to the rafters with the most sought-after labels, the second floor has been transformed. Eight boutiques – Chanel, Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga and Lanvin among them – surround a central space representing some of the more avant-garde names, such as Maison Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester and Junya Watanabe.

From today, the Designer Galleries play host to an exhibition of digital installations from some of the designers whose wares are stocked there. Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens, Alexander McQueen and many more have created unique videos of their spring 2012 collections which will be screened in the area, to better reflect their clothes in motion, and to explain some of the references and inspirations behind them.

“The brief to the designers was very open,” explains the store’s creative director, Alannah Weston. “The only stipulation was that there was a strong female character at the centre of each film.”

“The space isn’t just intended for shoppers,” explains award-winning set designer Simon Costin, who has worked on creating an environment for the films, using giants beds and sofas. “Any member of the public can come in and see the films. We hope people will come away having seen a familiar medium used in a new and surprising way. The films are really beautiful, and use the notion of fashion in an unexpected way.”

Overall, the department aims to provide a more personalised and individual service, allowing customers to opt into text and email confirmations of when their favourite labels arrive, and with the addition of an on-site tailoring service to ensure garments fit perfectly, there and then.

“We know that our customers are sophisticated, global trend-makers,” says Ms Weston. “And we look forward to presenting beautiful designer pieces, including some exclusive looks, in a serene and elegant environment.”

The videos are part of a digital push across the floor, which features an ultra-high-tech fitting room equipped with an interactive mirror that can take photographs and record short videos of customers, which they are then able to email to friends and loved ones to get second opinions – or to themselves, simply to savour the moment they tried on the dress of their dreams.