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Playing further on the Best of British theme of the last two seasons, Marks & Spencer ramped things up a notch for fall/winter by staging its debut men’s wear presentation. Against a projected backdrop of archival M&S ads — not to mention a Seventies style cocktail trolley — models presented a tableau of the key looks: the Prince of Wales check suit with exaggerated bow tie, a more casual moss colored suede jacket (the biggest hit), tweeds paired with a gingham shirt, the classic Crombie and the velvet smoking jacket — the brand’s first foray into eveningwear. Pant silhouettes were slim-fitting — looking to the Sixties and Seventies. So who is the M&S man? According to head of men’s wear design, Tony O’Connor, it’s those “who enjoy the heritage attitude” and “an appreciation of Britishness” — whether they be young or old. “We’ve got a very broad customer base.” he continued by way of explanation. Whether they admit it or not though, this particular collection was firmly geared to the younger generation. No bad thing. But even retailers with a broad customer base need a strong point of view these days — as M&S’ declining apparel sales attest.

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