In case you missed the fanfare, 2016 marks four hundred years since the death of Shakespeare and to commemorate the great wordsmith Selfridges have decided to reimagine his works through an urban fashion lens. 

The British department store’s “Shakespeare Refashioned” campaign started last month with the launch of a series of limited-edition products, a collaboration with British fashion photographer Mary McCartney and the store's most ambitious window scheme to date. 

“Shakespeare is part of the fabric of our creative world and of contemporary society. The words spoken, the images evoked, the dreams realised, are of our time and of his,” said Linda Hewson, Selfridges creative director. “The gifted and visionary narrators brought together in celebration of Shakespeare’s life and works for "Shakespeare Refashioned" will tell stories we imagine the Bard would be proud of."

The store’s Oxford street windows will be dressed to represent Shakespearean themes of comedy and tragedy with designers such as Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens and Simone Rocha, among others, offering a mix of archive, couture, one-off and new pieces. The first phase, Act 1 or Light, of the window campaign will feature items inspired by romance and comedy, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet while the second phase, Act 2 or Dark, will  focus on Shakespearean tragedies such as Hamlet and Macbeth. 

The designers also celebrated with exclusive womenswear and menswear pieces with over 120 exclusive products from fashion, beauty and lifestyle, each taking inspiration from the world's greatest dramatist. Highlights include Shrimps’ capsule collection inspired by Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet, Erdem’s limited edition floral scarf, a handbag collection by Dries van Noten, and a Hamlet sweatshirt, shorts and scarf by J.W.Anderson. 

In addition, a series of in-store performances by young musicians will see Shakespeare’s poetry reinvented for a modern audience. Each musician will also collaborate with a selected designer to create merchandise inspired by the words of our greatest writer. The initiative will see Caitlin Price team up with rapper Little Simz, New Future London and Novelist and a partnership with Life’s a Beach and Rejjie Snow. 

The scheme will run until mid-October with the Act 2 Windows launching on 5 September.