Department Store

The Department Store

History · Design · Display

  1. Jan Whitaker
  • ISBN 9780500516027
  • 32.00 x 24.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 264pp
  • With 364 illustrations
  • First published 2011
‘Large and stylish … a feast’ – The Times

Stores from Harrods to Barneys to Galeries Lafayette have offered excitement to millions of visitors for more than a century


This superbly illustrated book goes behind the window displays, eye-catching shopping bags and promotional extravaganzas to reveal the history and design of the department store in marvellous richness and detail.

Born in the Gilded Age in France, the department store grew up thanks to the Industrial Revolution, the rise of the middle class, and the invention of steel-frame architecture and the elevator.

Spectacular entrances led to marble staircases and floor after floor of merchandise and amenities. Department stores also inspired a whole new way of merchandising: shopping became an entertainment rather than a laborious grind; posters and advertisements were created by the great artists of the time; and elaborate shop windows attracted thousands of people during the holidays.

The department store quickly spread through Europe and Asia and then the New World, and leading architects were commissioned to build these temples of consumerism, where dreams were created and fulfilled.

Jan Whitaker is the author of Service and Style: How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class and Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America