Synopsis: Mr. Selfridge plans to create a beauty department that will sell perfume and makeup over the counter. The absence of sales from the expensive perfumes prompts him to develop a more affordable house scent for Selfridges. Mr. Leclair, who is tasked to define the Selfridges perfume, enlists the help of Miss Towler. Meanwhile, Rose Selfridge learns of her husband’s procurement of a flat for his mistress causing her to seek the company of Roderick Temple.
Episode Summary: Harry Gordon Selfridge engages in an affair with Ellen Love. He learns that the woman whose real name is Joyce Humphries was eighteen when she first got her big break thanks to the leading lady falling ill. The two has not been discreet in their love affair given Miss Love’s frequent purchases from the fashion department at Selfridges, all of which are on Mr. Selfridge’s credit.
Mr. Selfridge relishes the success of his department store, but he has no notion of complacency and so moves on with another radical idea. He wants to move perfume out of the pharmacy into its own department. It is a concept English women find scandalous believing that perfume is a lady’s secret and is best kept hidden. Conversely, Mr. Selfridge would like the perfumes displayed at the front of the store to help disguise the malodorous scent of horse manure from the street. Moreover, he wants to sell beauty products alongside it, items Miss Mardle and Miss Bunting both find even more indecent despite their use of them. Mr. Selfridge has learned that Pond’s Cold Cream is a high selling product and yet no one buys it from Selfridges. He believes that its placement is the reason for the lack of sales. Beauty products are scattered all over the department store alongside disagreeable items such as bedpans. Henri Leclair agrees with Mr. Selfridge’s plan to put all beauty products in one department consequently introducing a completely new way of shopping for women. Mr. Crabb is in disagreement of the concept believing that only disreputable women would purchase lewd products such as rouge and lip salve; peddling makeup over the counter is a bold statement that could prove damaging to Selfridges’ reputation. Sensing the unease between his colleagues, Mr. Leclair proposes further exploring the concept before making a decision and recommends enlisting the help of his friend who works for an advertising company in America, Valerie Maurel. News from Miss Blenkinsop of the Miss Love’s request to see Mr. Selfridge adjourns their meeting. Miss Love is at the store struggling between purchasing a fox or a beaver fur coat. She has made quite a scene at the store with her song and dance that customers and sales clerks gather around to witness it. The performance drew applause from everyone and Mr. Selfridge agreeing to dance with her added to the people’s delight and curiosity. Lois Selfridge becomes witness to the spectacle and becomes the only one to disapprove of it. She is fully aware of her son’s penchant for women that she advises him to maintain a professional relationship with Miss Love.
Mr. Leclair anxiously awaits the arrival of Miss Maurel and his anticipation catches the eye of Kitty Hawkins and Doris Miller, who both immediately recognize her as the gorgeous man’s lover. Mr. Selfridge, who knows the woman as well, introduces her to his employees as an employee for the advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson. He apprises Miss Maurel of their dilemma of determining the consequence of selling makeup on beauty counters. She presents to them various beauty products ranging from acceptable to ignominious. Miss Mardle and Miss Bunting avert their eyes from Pastel Joue aware that stage actors and prostitutes mainly use the item Bourjois in Paris invented to give color to the cheeks. The women and Mr. Crabb even find lipstick risqué despite it gaining popularity with models, artists, and film stars in Paris. This is because colored lips are associated with prostitutes or suffragettes, but more so, by its suggestive purpose, which is the intentional provocation of males. Red lips are an indication of a woman’s arousal as blood courses through her body causing a change in the color of the lips. It is known to educe a physical and sexual reaction from men. Mr. Crabb feels strongly against displaying such products to their customers arguing that the English regards reputation highly and its loss is impossible to regain. Nonetheless, Mr. Selfridge appears set on creating the Selfridges Beauty Counters. Miss Mardle becomes alarmed not only with the store peddling shameful products, but also with it displacing the accessories department. Mr. Leclair, on the other hand, is thrilled with displaying the inner workings of the boudoir. He believes that woman want to make themselves beautiful for men, while men want to see how they do it. Harry is aware that Henri is spellbound with Valerie, but senses trouble between the two. He decides to distract his friend from his worries and brings him to the theater to see Miss Love’s performance.
The performance was more of a distraction for Harry than for Henri. Henri does not hide his aversion towards Ellen and derisively expresses his preference for opera where singers sound like goddesses. She returns the insult a disparagement of his profession. The three spend the rest of the evening at the club, but much to Ellen’s dismay Harry found the card table more enticing than her company. She finds an unlikely companion in Henri, who intimates that his dislike of her stems from his concern for his friend. Sensing Henri’s fondness of Harry, she begins to wonder whether Henri is a homosexual and learns that he is not. Moreover, the man has agreed to allow her to choose the poses for the photographs that were the cause of their dispute. Meanwhile, Harry plays against Tony Travers despite Frank Edwards’ advice against it noting that the boastful young man is not adept with poker and is playing with Lady Mae’s credit. True enough, Tony loses all his money to Harry. He arrives home very late in the evening unaware that his wife is conscious of his late arrival. She, however, is unaware that Harry did not sleep with Ellen that night. In fact, the woman is in the midst of drowning her sorrow with illegal drugs.
Boredom finds Rosalie Selfridge, who surprisingly found herself missing her younger sisters who are at school. Rose Selfridge proposes enrolling her to a finishing school, but Rosalie suggests doing the Season instead. Rose dissuades her daughter about it given that the Season is reserved for British aristocracy. Seeing Rosalie’s resolve to be part of the Season, Rose turns to Lady Mae, who is delighted that the woman has come to seek her help. She suggests holding a tea party for Rosalie believing that it will be a success given the popularity of their name, a credit to her now famous husband. Lady Mae, however, insinuates Mr. Selfridge’s turn to infamy with his extramarital affair. Lady Mae learns that Rose is aware of her husband’s philandering and that she has become used to it enough to know that ignoring them is the best recourse. Nonetheless, Lady Mae warns her of Mr. Selfridge’s latest fling noting Miss Love’s ambition as a cause for concern. Rose argues that a chorus girl such as Miss Love is inconsequential to her, but learns that Lady Mae was herself a chorus girl, one of the original Edward’s Company Gaiety girls. This note along with news of Harry providing a flat for Miss Love alarmed Rose. Her anger prompts her to go against her better judgment as she pays a visit to Roderick Temple’s studio. Moreover, she asks him to paint her portrait. She begins to regret her decision when she returns home and learns that Lady Mae already informed Rosalie of the wonderful news of her becoming part of the Season. Nevertheless, she continues to see Roddy and he begins to work on her portrait. Meanwhile, Lady Mae learns that Tony lost a considerable amount of her money playing cards against Harry Selfridge. She wastes no time to speak to Mr. Selfridge about the matter. Mr. Selfridge is reluctant to dissolve the large gambling debt Tony owes him leaving Lady Mae to enumerate the numerous favors she gave him including her assistance in presenting his eldest daughter into society. The matter regarding Rosalie is news to Mr. Selfridge for he has been too engaged with Miss Love. Having been reminded of his debt of gratitude to Lady Mae, Mr. Selfridge finds himself beholden to her and she takes advantage with another favor to ask. Lady Mae asks him to endorse the cause of suffrage women by selling their goods and reserving a table at the Palm Court for them every Tuesday at lunchtime. This is not much of a favor to ask of Mr. Selfridge for he is in support of Suffragettes. Mr. Selfridge immediately instructs Mr. Colleano to reserve a large table for the London branch of the movement. The waiter instantly catches the interest of Lady Mae, who has grown tired of her lover, Tony Travers.
Agnes Towler arrives home to find her father there instead of at work. Reg Towler has lost his job and has returned to drinking. Agnes, although disappointed, does not deride his drunken father and even helps him undress. Nonetheless, the man slaps Agnes with great force when she contradicted his assertion of not always being a drunkard. His heavy hand left a bruise on her face and caused her to be absent from work for several days. A concerned Victor Colleano arrives at her doorstep with a box of pastries he baked for her and finds her behavior evasive. She refuses to join him on his way to work. Agnes arrives at Selfridges to find it changed as perfumes took the place of the glove counter. Mr. Leclair asks her opinion of the display and receives valuable feedback from her. Miss Towler explains that a woman like her would not dare touch the precious not to mention expensive bottles of perfume. Mr. Leclair, however, seems to be captivated by her so much so that he leans to smell her scent of Yardley Lavender. Doris interrupts their conversation as she apprises her of the fabulous hats that have just arrived. Their focus, however, moves to the bruise on her face that Kitty was bold enough to point out. Embarrassed with the revelation of the bruise she tried so hard to hide with makeup, Miss Towler feigns having fainted and hitting her cheek on the bath. Customers arrive and gather around the shop girl highlighting the perfume. To Mr. Selfridge’s consternation, the customers are not purchasing. Mr. Leclair notes that perfumes are expensive leading Miss Maurel to suggest developing Mr. Selfridge’s own label, one made through chemical synthesis that will allow him to sell the fragrance at an affordable price. Mr. Selfridge approves of Miss Maurel’s recommendation and becomes thrilled with the idea of Selfridges having its house scent. He sees Ellen a fitting endorser of the perfume he plans to call “The Spirit of Selfridges”. Miss Maurel’s suggestion and her connection with a factory in London that can produce the perfume prompt Mr. Selfridge to offer her a job at his company. Miss Maurel, however, turns it down for her love of New York triumphs over a job offer elsewhere that even Henri’s love for her cannot make her stay. With Harry’s prodding, Henri goes after Valerie to convince her to stay, but she leaves anyway. Miss Towler holed up in storage becomes witness to Valerie’s parting kiss with Henri. Mr. Leclair later finds her there twirling and wearing one of the new hats yet to be displayed. He has come to seek her help in defining what the Selfridges house scent should be, because Mr. Leclair believes that the perfume should appeal to women such as Miss Towler. Meanwhile, Mr. Selfridge asks Miss Love to endorse the Selfridges perfume. Miss Love is exhilarated with the proposition believing that it brings her to the level of the French opera singer, Calve, known only to wear Guerlain. She later rejects the offer after learning that the Selfridges perfume will be produced inexpensively and will be sold at affordable prices unlike the grand French fragrances. Mr. Selfridge inveigles Miss Love into agreement with a promise of a window display reserved for the Selfridges perfume and its endorser.
Agnes’ evasiveness concerns Victor that the waiter speaks to George Towler about it. He learns that Agnes has been assigned a special task with the Art Department under the supervision of Mr. Leclair whom Agnes could not stop talking about. Given Mr. Leclair’s vision of a simple, fresh, and natural fragrance for the Selfridges perfume, Miss Towler picks Lily of the Valley as the inspiration for the house scent. She remembers picking them in the countryside with her mother who loved the flower, and Mr. Leclair finds it a suitable choice. He notes that those flowers are sold in the streets of France on the first day of May and are what young lovers give each other. Miss Towler dares to ask Mr. Leclair about Miss Laurel and learns that he has known the woman since they were children. Moreover, Mr. Leclair had asked Miss Maurel to marry him, a proposal she rejected. Mr. Leclair postpones presenting the designs to Mr. Selfridge and gives Miss Love complete freedom in posing for the photographs. Miss Love holds the bottle of perfume seductively as she poses for the camera. Together they present the suggestive photographs to Mr. Selfridge with Mr. Leclair noting them as Miss Love’s vision. Mr. Selfridge finds the photographs appalling and rejects them all much to Miss Love’s consternation. Moreover, he cancels his lunch with her and foregoes seeing her show. He admonishes Mr. Leclair for his guile, but forgives him as he presents the Lily of the Valley designs he and Miss Towler had conceived. Mr. Selfridge approves of the design and the message of childhood, springtime, and love it conveys. Before long, the Lily of the Valley makes its debut on the window of Selfridges with “Unforgettable” as its strap line. Miss Towler admires the window display she helped create. In fact, Mr. Leclair tells her that the window she admires is hers. Mr. Selfridge succeeds once again in his endeavor as sales of Lily of the Valley continue to grow pleasing everyone including Mr. Crabb. The man has another cause to rejoice as his employer abandons his plan of putting makeup on display, but his joy comes from hearing Mr. Selfridge’s plan of coming home to his wife. Mr. Selfridge, however, is up for disappointment because his wife is at Roddy Temple’s studio.
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