Iconic is an overused word. Classic doesn’t quite encompass it all. Beautiful fits but may not be an accurate adaptation for every person.
I’ve seen all three words used to describe Harrods of London. For me, it’s a memory. My strongest from London when, barely a teenager, I accompanied my mother across the pond on my first international trip. Your first is always special and the things that happen during that first use of a passport, even more so. They set the standard for all trips which follow. For better. Or worse.
All of the places that I went shopping after seemed to lack a certain luster that implanted itself into my memory. No dress was exotic enough, no leather purse as supple. No shoes as sophisticated. Even the most luxurious shops seemed to be missing something. So when I returned this year as a woman so far removed from that innocent girl, I was surprised to find Harrods unchanged. I had been sure time would have dimmed the hallowed halls and changed my golden memories into a tarnished reality.
I was wrong. Harrods is still more fantasy-movie-set than shopping mall. The Egyptian Hall may not be Cairo or the Valley of the Kings but it is shiny and entertaining. The food halls give you a taste of Paris and Tokyo even though they are neither. Christmas World may not be the North Pole but if one has any inclination toward the holidays at all it certainly puts one in the Christmas spirit. Since I am older, my priorities have changed. This time around it was the food and the imaginative store windows outside that charmed me most instead of purses, shoes and couture clothes.
Still, it’s nice to know that in a world of insanity and constant change, some things stay the same. No matter how much time passes.
All images taken in, and processed with, Camera+ on an iPhone4