The Purveyor of British High Street Fashion Taps into the Minds of Today’s Most Exciting Designers, Brands and Fashion Icons
For the unique collaboration, Archive by Alexa, the young style icon Alexa Chung sifts through Marks & Spencer’s rich history and extensive archive to curate an exquisite women’s wear capsule collection. With her eye for contemporary style, Alexa rediscovers iconic Marks & Spencer pieces and reworks them into modern fabrications and an updated color palette to appeal to the modern woman.
Delving into the Marks & Spencer Company Archive, based at Leeds University, Alexa is given the rare opportunity to study one of the richest retail history collections in the country. Founded in 1984, the Company Archive is home to over 70,000 historical items, and charts M&S’ journey of over 130 years, from its beginnings at the Penny Bazaar to its expansion as an international multi-channel retailer.
“I am primarily telling the story about the Marks & Spencer Company Archive; so therefore I think the collection will resonate with Marks & Spencer customers and fashion fans alike. In the collection itself, I think there is something that you can build into your existing wardrobe, whatever your style; from classics like the trench coat in rich olive and oversized blue shirt; to quirky additions like the paisley print dress and wide leg ‘70s tailored trousers,” shared the 32-year-old English fashion model, television presenter, and contributing editor at British Vogue.
Steve Rowe, Executive Director of General Merchandise, shared, “It had long been an ambition of the Marks & Spencer in-house design team to work with the style icon Alexa Chung, and Alexa herself has always had an affinity with the brand, so when the opportunity to rediscover the Archive was proposed, it was an exciting joint venture. Alexa aimed to unearth pieces from fashion history that feel as fresh and relevant today as they did when they were first conceived. This is a collection with heritage firmly at its heart,” he added.
Alexa does much to incorporate her youthful, vibrant aesthetic, but she exercises utmost sensitivity, ensuring that she preserves and honors the proud heritage of the brand. And the results are an elegant and refreshing take on retail history.
“I curated the collection, carefully selecting pieces from the Marks & Spencer Company Archive and working with the Marks & Spencer design team to reproduce them for a contemporary consumer. I rummaged through clothing, magazines and amazing old films and cherry-picked relevant items; bringing them back to life for 2016,” she shared. Ensuring that her collection remained faithful to her vision, Alexa was hands-on during the campaign and worked as the overall creative director for the project.
Alexa Chung is deeply appreciative of the opportunity to work with such a fashion leader, “There was something very touching about looking back through the British fashion and social history for which Marks & Spencer is synonymous… I have always had affection for Marks & Spencer, and I am thrilled to be part of this special and unique project.”
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