M&S &: ARCHIVE BY ALEXAWednesday, April 13, 2016
Alexa Chung is certainly no stranger to the fashion world. Not only is the 32 year old notoriously well dressed, something which has seen her accumulate a passionate following and notoriety within the industry and beyond, her talent too has stretched to many a corner of the fashion industry. With everything from modelling, presenting, writing, and, most recently, designing in her repertoire, whatever Alexa turns her hand to seemingly turns to gold, and is destined to be a hit. There is no surprise then, that Marks and Spencer turned to Chung to curate a 31 piece womenswear collection for the high-street brand inspired by their vast and historical archive, aptly entitled Archive By Alexa.
The ready-to-wear collection consists of hand-picked items inspired by garments and pictures taken from the Marks and Spencer’s archive based in Leeds. Such makes the collection a special one, and the first of its kind for the retailer, beginning a new wave of projects named ‘M&S &’ in partnership with designers and fashion icons alike.
The consisting pieces of the Archive By Alexa collection are nostalgic of past fashions and with the love of vintage on the rise paired with Alexa’s accomplished eye for fashion, only slight tweaking was needed in the modern revival of the items, “It was so fun to be given the keys to the Marks and Spencer achieve and such a treat to cherry pick the very vest of their vast collection of pieces,” Alexa said of the process to British Vogue. There is no doubt that Alexa is already well experienced in the design field with previous collaborations with Madewell in 2011 and most recently her much loved capsule collections for the denim label AG Jeans already under her belt, both of which have been more than well-recieved and highly coveted. This particular collection however, saw Alexa collaborating her talents with the M&S design team “I pulled from stored garments, in-house magazines and TV adverts from various points in the history of Marks & Spencer to create the collection that I believe looks every bit as relevant today as it did then.”
The collection is set to launch today, on Wednesday 13th April, in select Marks and Spencer stores and online. With Alexa also taking creative direction of the campaign, inducing a laid back vibe and reminiscent mood to match the attire, the full unveiling of the collection similarly did not disappoint, but such was to be expected, with the Chung effect, of course. With the featured classic styles of the past reimagined and tweaked slightly for modern day, each piece would have a key part in any wardrobe. Ranging from simple vests (sold in a pack of two, a feature that is reminiscent of bygone primary school days in which for many, myself included, Marks and Spencer played an integral uniformed part) to Victoriana ruffled blouses and a 90s-esque gingham dress in which Alexa, celebrated for her Glastonbury festival attire, articulated in interview with Glamour magazine that she imagines people styling the dress with wellies in the summer at festivals, a well-rounded vision indeed.
The collection is indeed varied, a given characteristic thanks to its archival origins which in effect maps out Marks and Spencer's long, integral history in British fashion, rendering the collection as almost a trip through defining, decadal fashion. It was apt of Alexa then, to decide on naming each piece after one of the most popular baby names from 1884, the year that Marks and Spencer was first established. The ruffled blouse, which features in both white and subdued pink is named ‘Harry’ while the gingham mini-dress is entitled ‘Elsie’. The naming of garments is not only a creative feat, it too serves as an esteemed nod to the influential history of M&S while adding aged character to each piece, something which is ingrained in the very nature of the collection.
Prices range from £19.50 to £85 and while the collection is certainly anything but cheap, it is of course fair and affordable, something which is the very practice of the reputable, family-friendly M&S. The announcement of Marks and Spencer’s unique collaboration with much adored Alexa was, as to be expected, received to excited and anticipated acclaim and such will definitely be a wise marketing move for the brand which has seen falling sales in recent years. If anyone is to make M&S cool again, Alexa Chung is certainly the tool to employ. Shop ahead, but be quick - the collection is sure to be a hot hit, I for one have my eye on the Harry blouse, the Myrtle jumper and the cream, undergarment inspired, Hattie camisole but, the pink retro Cora bikini and the 'Yes' 'No' etched Helen trainers are equally as alluring, as is it all.
(Picture credit: marksandspencer.com and vogue.co.uk)