The character of Ellen Love in Mr. Selfridge is not based on a real person. However, Harry Selfridge was a known philanderer and did have numerous relationships with many women.
Harry courted some of the most glamorous women of the day, including Isadora Duncan, Anna Pavlova, Elinor Glyn, Syrie Wellcome, and Lady Victoria Sackville. After the death of his wife and mother, the entrepreneur's gambling and womanising spiralled out of control. Selfridge was not prepared for the Great Depression and eventually lost his entire fortune.
After the series' successful UK run on ITV earlier this year, Mr. Selfridge just recently concluded in the US, where it was aired on the weekly PBS broadcast Masterpiece Classic.
Costume designer James Keast told the American press during the series' PBS run that while he created most of the costumes for the series, things like the lace and other trimmings were authentic and original, with many items purchased at charity sales, garage sales, and on eBay.