Super-luxe starts here

The much-hyped Wonder Room has finally been unveiled at Selfridges and I have been to sample its delights. Alas, my initial reaction was rather tame. You access the room via the perfume and jewellery departments on the ground floor and while the name suggests some sort of theatrical Alladin’s cave full of surrealist curios, what greeted me was a bright white room full of glass cabinets containing ultra-luxe watches and expensive Vertu phones. So far, not so impressed.

The Wonder Room is ultimately a temple to the obscenely expensive. Instead of a museum-like show of the weird and wonderful, we get wall-to-wall extravagance including a Cartier concession, a Chrome Hearts concession, an Hermes concession (nothing new in here – I checked) and a Chanel fine jewellery concession.

Its saving grace is a small area by the window of Orchard Street. If we don’t get the museum we at least get the museum shop, which consists of yet more expensive shit in glass cases (£4000 Ego handbag-shaped laptops), plus a few cheap gifty knick-knacks around the till. The collectable books are worth a look (but you can’t touch – they’re under glass) including Tracht, a rare Juergen Teller book of photos of 1999’s Miss World contestants (only £375!) but if you can’t afford those then artist Sophie Calle’s book Double Game is a good substitute. Ignore the wall of designer sunglasses and make your way along to the corner window where you can wonder at Conrad Shawcross’s specially commissioned mechanical artwork (I really don’t know how else to decribe it) therein.

What I realised, is that this is more of a luxury room than a wonder room. I’m not against luxury but it seems a waste of space to put so much focus on the ludicrously extravagant and not balance it with the stuff that’s still desirable but the rest of us can afford, but then I guess that’s what the rest of the shop is for, right?

Clearly Selfridges knows what it’s doing, with profits for the first half of this year up 33% . What the £10 million Wonder Room suggests to me is that Selfridges is moving on from aspirational and reaching out to the new high-earning, high-spending strata of society. The uber-rich is a growing new market and Selfridges would very much like a slice of that pie.

Top pic: New York Times

Film news: Control

Victor at Melanthos reminded me how excited I am at the imminent arrival of the Joy Division film Control. I’m more of a New Order fan than Joy Division but I can guarantee even if you’re not familiar with their music, the film will be beautifully shot as it’s directed by Anton Corbijn.

Control is actually a biopic about Joy Division’s 23-year old lead singer Ian Curtis who committed suicide on the eve of Joy Division’s first U.S. tour. It’s based on the book Touching From a Distance, by Curtis’ wife, Deborah (which I still haven’t managed to buy).

The release date is 5th October – don’t miss this one.

Eau the glamour

Three new celebrity frangrances launched yesterday proving that despite some people’s protests (ie, mine), the celebrity bubble is far from deflating. Kate Moss’s Kate, the Beckhams’ Intimately Beckham Night and Gwen Stafani’s L are all set to slug it out on the perfume counter in the coming weeks. All very well and good except according to NPD research, sales of women’s celebrity fragrances dropped 17 percent last year and for the first time in the last decade US customers bought more make-up than fragrance. Uh oh, are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yup, the next big thing could well be celebrity make-up ranges. Apart from the odd Mac hook-up this is an area ripe for exploitation. I mean, no need for pesky meetings to look at fabric swatches or toiles, or sniff endless test tubes of noxious odours, a simple Pantone colour chart and a rummage in the old Louis Vuitton make-up bag to haul out some old favourites, and voila, Keira Knightley’s exclusive new range for Chanel, Kate Moss’ exclusive new range for Rimmel and Jessica Simpson’s exclusive new range for Wet n Wild. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take…


The reel thing

As a child of the eighties I just can’t kick the casette habit. i-Tunes? Huh, what that? CDs? I have about 10 tops. Vinyl? A fair few scratched Transvision Vamp 7-inches and David Bowie albums. But it’s my creaky old tapes that I still play to death – some are twenty-odd years old and still going strong. And it looks like other peeps have a soft spot for casettes if these creations are anything to go by. Transformers, purses, wallets, tape dispenders (geddit?) are all recycled from old well-worn casettes. Check em out here: