Just in time for the holidays, Vendome Press released "the World of Department Stores" by Jan Whitaker for every die-hard shopper on your list!Not just pretty pictures (although it contains MANY of those), the book is a fascinating look at the rise of our consumer based society and our new house of worship, the Department Store.

The photos of the old department stores entralled me most, such as the reading room of the Bon Marche (2nd photo above) or an ad for the Palacio de Hierro in Mexico City: such glamour! The book covers the rise of the genre in the 19th century through the changes department stores have made into the 21st century to remain viable. Technology has always been a big part of the business (see the life-like models at Printemps in 1924 above) but on the other hand, nostalgia plays to many as well (see Harrod's food hall today below).

Geared towards the holiday season are the many window displays we all love. What child in us can't appreciate the Christmas windows of Lord & Taylor?

And who can forget Simon Doonan's windows for Barneys (my personal favorite!)

Be sure to add the World of Department Stores to your Christmas wishlist!