Friday, November 23, 2007

Shop 'Til You Drop

That’s what some of you were doing today, admit it. Those sales sound so good I was tempted to get up before 4:00am.

I said tempted. I didn’t give in.

Young ladies in nineteenth century England had fewer temptations when it came to shopping. A village might have nothing more than an all-purpose store with a few bolts of serviceable fabric and some ribbon. A larger town would have some linen drapers (fabric stores), seamstresses, and tailors as well as furniture makers, jewelers, haberdasheries (ribbons, lace, and the like), and print makers. Only in a large city like London would you find a wealth of choice.

One of the premier shopping districts in London was Bond Street. There you were sure to find anything your heart desired. A 1794 directory of the street shows confectioners, an optician, a stationer, several watch makers and jewelers, a few toy makers, two music shops, four booksellers, several upholsterers, a shoe warehouse, a few perfumers, no less than a dozen linen drapers, and assorted tea dealers, upholsterers, embroiderers, wine merchants, and cheesemongers.

Bond Street was also where you might find businesses that were patronized by the Royal Family. You’ve seen the ads on television today: “Official sports car of the NBA,” “Official soft drink of the Olympics.” The Royal gun maker, Royal trunk maker, and Royal watch maker were on Bond Street.

Today, Bond Street remains the shopping district of the wealthy and privileged, boasting such names as Armani, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Chanel, Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, De Beers, Cartier, and Tiffany.

I’m going to see them, in February. Did I mention that? And I'd get up before 4:00am to do it!


Cara King said...

I'd far rather shop on the Regency Bond Street than the modern one! Watchmakers, tea dealers and booksellers seem far more interesting than Calvin Klein! :-)


Regina Scott said...

Amen, sister!