All over Europe, department stores are being built as temples to consumerism. Customers can lose themselves in dreamworlds of enticingly displayed luxury goods. Shopping has become a fashion. In 1874, Steen & Strøm opens in Christiania (Oslo) as Norway’s first such store.

Why are there so many women here? The new emporia are specially designed as respectable spaces for women. Safe to visit without a male chaperone, department stores are often described as a 'ladies’ paradise'. Women are seen as more receptive to new fashions and ideas, and consequently marketing strategies are devised to appeal directly to them.

The growing middle-class can choose from a vast range of items for the home. Among many other things, manufacturers offer different kinds of tableware for every conceivable dish and beverage. 

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