Earlier this year I attended Marks and Spencer's Autumn/ Winter 2014 press event and ended up staying until Chief Executive Marc Bolland gave a speech covering's the past year's results, explaining the strategy around growing their fashion business, before handing over to Style Director Belinda Earl who spoke with passion about her consumer and the new fashion focus.
Belinda and her team have demonstrated this stylish new direction with quality fabrics, chic, purist colour palette and sleek, contemporary silhouettes. Over the past couple of years, 50% more of the hero products now go into stores (which is good as it's always frustrating to see standout pieces at press shows but never seeing them in-store) and 30% more of the key lookbook items are now in stores too (they don't want to replicate the sold out pink coat of last winter, but ensure they have good stock levels of hero pieces across the country). They listened to feedback from the M&S woman, introducing more colours, more up-to-date trend pieces and they've reduced the SKU count by 10%, focusing on a smaller, stronger product offering.
The AW14 collection embodies simple pared down luxury: dusty pastels, warm greys and blush neutrals cover plenty of textures, from tough leather, colourful faux furs and rich jacquards. It was a really interesting half hour, I'm pleased to see Marks & Spencer return to form and their womenswear collection has never looked better. Here are some solid looks from the current season.