For the past month, I've been wrapped up in the latest Masterpiece Theater series on PBS, The Paradise, based on Émile Zola's famous 1883 novel, Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Paradise).
Set in a Victorian department store, named The Paradise, the series follows a young saleswoman named Denise, who comes from the country to work at the famed store. The Paradise weaves together themes of modern retail tactics, class, gender and of course, love. The owner of the Paradise is a motivated, complex character named Moray, who has recently lost his wife in a mysterious tragedy. He is torn between a relationship with an influential socialite, and with his fondness for and fascination with Denise.
I've loved all the retail ideas and strategies that Denise and Moray hatch on the show. Special events, sales, partnerships and influencer marketing are all relevant, modern concepts we use now at Dobbin.
The store itself is beautiful; decorated in a pretty Parisian manner that in itself romances its shoppers. The discussion of rich beautiful fabrics and custom seamstresses is also inspiring; women of The Pardise's era did not own a million dresses nor accessories, rather they carefully selected bespoke dresses, hats and shoes. The sales staff's wardrobes are more pared-down, but still specially made just for them.
I'd highly recommend this series if you're a fan of Downton Abbey (and I think it's far better than Mr. Selfridge). Although some reviews have called it fluffy, I think it's well-acted, lovely to look at and intriguing to follow. I'm already looking forward to the next episode , and to Season 2, which is in the works.