I came across several advertisements for White Sales this weekend. Of course I know what a White Sale is, I am the daughter of Pat Falla after all. Shopping was a top skill of Pat’s, right up there with etiquette, so you can see having clean linens in one’s home was naturally a priority, and shopping for them a must.
I did get to thinking about its origins though, and was tickled pink to learn that back in the day – the early 19th century that is – John Wanamaker of John Wanamaker + Co the first Philadelphia Department Store, dubbed January the month of the White Sale – bed linens, and towels, etc, only came in that single color. Imagine that, it must have made selecting your wares a whole lot faster.
Fascinated by history as I am, I was even more pleased to learn that his department store was designed by Daniel H. Burnham! Daniel is famous, in case you weren’t aware. He was the Director of Works for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, aka – The World’s Fair, which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus voyage, which took place in Chicago. Chicago is coincidently known as the “White City” due in large part to the Master Plan that Burnham, Charles McKim, and Louis Sullivan developed accented by beautiful white stone Beaux-Arts buildings.
I like white. It being far from the absence of color, it is the sum of all the colors that make white … white. Perhaps that is far too technical an explanation. The fact is – I like it. It’s crisp, and clean, and allows me room to think. White, like a good hostess, allows other colors to appear brighter, to pop, to be the lead character in a story. A room with too many colors can be exhausting, don’t you agree? This is particularly important to remember as many of you will be receiving house guests this summer. Entertaining too many colors simultaneously can be exhausting. Keep that in mind.
As a proponent of advertising, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Wanamaker is the Father of the White Sale, the fact that he is was also a marketing pioneer has me thinking that I owe him a debt of gratitude. That is, after all, how I make my living.