I’m blogging about this show because I think for the first time in a good number of seasons Marks & Spencer have really tried and succeeded in creating a range of pieces that should appeal to women of all ages. I’m blogging because M&S may not necessarily be a store that would be high on my list of shops to hit when on a shopping spree. If someone found a reason why this should not be the case I’d sure is heck want them to tell me, so I’m spreading the word…
Last night the beautiful Baroque Chapel of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, played host to the M&S AW09 collections preview. (Yeah take that London Fashion Week!)
The chapel itself was where everyone gathered before going in to the show there were loads of people eager to see the collections. The crowd was as mixed a crowd as you would get at a fashion show, with ladies of literally all ages grabbing a seat in the adjoining room where a catwalk had been set up.
There were 8 collections in total; 4 younger more urban collections and 4 collections showing classic / business attire. I’m going to focus on the 4 younger collections, for a number of reasons; the main one being that it totally inspired and surprised me.
Because there were 4 collections there was a good variety in what we saw; some feminine, some edgy. Plum tartan coats, and metallic parker-style jackets layered over embellished knit dresses and abstract print skirts were particular hits.
Key style notes for dresses included structure, snake-print detailing, rouched sleeves and tulip-style skirts. Studs were on everything from boots to gloves, look out for the studded-cuff, leather bomber jacket and an incredible studded lambs wool dress with short sleeves. (That is a must have at €47.50).
The styling was first-rate I loved the chunky grey knits teamed with pretty floral long line scarves tucked into belts at the waist, I loved the capes layered over trench coats and the fur jackets that fitted perfectly over skirt suits. There were fingerless gloves, clutch bags, woollen wraps, long scarves, cloche hats, statement necklaces and biker boots thrown in to perfect the looks. There was also a nice surprise with the fact that Amber Jean Rowan had returned from her summer in London and she worked the catwalk like the professional young model that she is. She looked fabulous and was definitely one of the stand-out walkers in the show.
Now no-one is claiming to have witnessed miracles here, Topshop and Penney’s, M&S ain’t, but nor is it trying to be. They have always had a quality ethos that throw-away fashion just does not allow. But they have been incredibly clever with these new collections. In finally reaching out to ladies of all ages they have chosen pieces that are incredibly on-trend but have given them a more classic edge, by using less vibrant prints on more complicated shapes and vice versa. Although it may not be my premier shopping destination, with these creative younger collections, Marks & Spencer have definitely risen very much to the forefront of my fashion-conscience.
From the Irish Times; Helen Low the new head of design at Oer Una was in town for the show:
“Customers wanted to see change and wanted it to be more modern,” Ms Low told The Irish Times . “We are still very much about embellishment and decoration, but doing it in a new way and offering a little more body shaping. It’s really about refreshing rather than redefining the brand and letting fabric do the talking,” she said.