Next Wednesday 27th July, Part 1 of the two part series Seduction in The City:The Birth of Shopping premiers on SBS at 8:30pm.
I scored the music for this delightfully opulent and witty series at the end of 2010. Director Sally Aitken and the Essential Media team were an absolute pleasure to work with.
Read on to find out more……
The story of the department store is the cleverest invention of the industrial revolution; surprisingly the genius idea of turning wants into needs not only created consumer culture, it also, paradoxically, sowed the seeds of female emancipation.
This two-part series reveals the foresight of store entrepreneurs such as Rowland H. Macy, Harry Selfridge, John Wanamaker, Aristide Boucicaut and Sidney Myer, who invented such revolutionary concepts such as easy credit, returns policies, window displays, changing rooms and Santa parades. These dynamic showmen created a theatre of shopping, and in doing so changed the world.
At the store a new cast of characters emerged: multi-millionaire owners and upwardly mobile shop girls. The store inspired writers and artists, and helped nurture the aspirations of middle-class life. For the first time, shoppers of all income levels gathered at the same emporiums. The “bargain basement” delivered egalitarian ideals while breaking down old codes of class distinction.
This new commerce had an underbelly, too. Status anxiety, instant gratification, standardised sizing and debt, all entered the modern lexicon. Shopping for fun also gave rise to a new disease – kleptomania. Some consumers desperate for goods even resorted to prostitution to pay for outstanding bills.
The documentary vividly brings to life the world of the early department stores by combining rich reconstructions of archetypal characters, magical animation and illuminating expert interviews together with quirky advertisements, extraordinary diary excerpts and letters and posters of the age