The best thing about the new M&S ad campaign (shot by Annie Leibowitz – what a coup!) is surely Grace Coddington in her mannish alabaster coat.
The all-star cast also includes Tracey Emin, Karen Elson and Olympic gold medal boxer Nicola Adams. A dramatic, last-ditched attempt at salvaging the brand? That’s what some people are saying and it’s true, times have been tricky lately, especially on the fashion front. This is certainly a bold move from Marks & Spencer to reclaim its place as one of our best loved retailers. Style director Belinda Earl has been busily rethinking the collections, pinning her hopes of success on M&S Collection. This is the rebrand of M&S Women, a considered collection that focuses on contemporary staples – with just fashionable enough proportions and colours to appeal to a fashion-literate customer without chasing trends. Let’s face it, M&S is in need of a clear identity and I think we’re all agreed that you can get your fix of neoprene sweatshirts from Zara and New Look; much better for Earl to up the ante in style and quality (and hopefully price) instead.
So the next few weeks will be pretty crucial for Earl and co, as the new collections drop and customers decide whether to buy…or not. Of course, next to tackle is the shop floor experience, but hey, baby steps, yeah? And should you want to get the Grace Coddington look (or Karen Elson’s, my second fave), all the campaign items are available to buy in Marks and Spencer stores and online at www.marksandspencer.com from next month.
In this picture, Coddington is wearing M&S Collection coat, £99; M&S Collection cardigan, £29.50; M&S Collection shirt, £25; M&S Collection treggings, £35; Autograph shoes £45. Here’s a closer look…