marks and spencer

Archive with Alexa

Marks and Spencer has turned cool with a collab with London’s darling Alexa Chung. It is the talk of the town and only a fool wouldn’t have their appetite whetted by THAT frilly top.
We all know that Alexa knows her onions as far as fashion goes; she’s in it, she IS IT, and she’s just launched Series 2 of Future of Fashion on Vogue’s YouTube channel (so inspiring!). If our girl Alexa is going in to the M&S archive to handpick the best for us, we know she’s coming out with gold.

And she did. Just not that much of it.

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I think that this is more down to an awkward marketing strategy, rather than the actual collection. The press only showed one stunning image of Alexa in one fabulous uber sixties garment, not much more. After seeing this I was expecting to see a collection full of amazing revived vintage and was preparing to have to do some serious credit card damage come launch day…
The big day came and went. No sale. I visited the M&S website and had to search for the collection. Surely it should be dominating the homepage, this being one of the coolest things the brand may have ever done, not to mention Alexa being the so-called ‘savior’ of our beloved Marks n Sparks and all? Slightly baffling.

collage

That lone shot of Alexa in the pink Harry blouse really whipped up the vintage-style consumer in to an absolute frenzy. You think Archive you think Old, you think Sixties. But calm yourself. There are classically “vintage” pieces such as gorgeous black palazzo pants, retro knits and that infamous frills-galore blouse- all of which are highly coveted. But the collection also features Moss-style strappy slip dresses, Spice Girl white trainers and clunky boots, from the 80s and 90s. All very cool, but rather polarizing in my opinion. For example, the sixties frilly babydoll is a very different girl to the nineties strappy floral groupie.

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There are a few pieces which I absolutely LOVE. The Harry in pink and that trenchcoat, which is barely changed from the original design. Fantastic. The rest however just doesn’t apply to my personal style. If you’re a slip of a thing I think you would look great in those strappy pieces; it’s such a youthful, cool, carefree vibe. I on the other hand like to wear a different kind of silhouette. And a bra.

In my opinion the collection appears to be a strange mix of pieces and don’t quite flow, the looks jarring with one another in some ways. It’s like two wardrobes have been plonked together, side by side, with the basics outnumbering the show-stoppers. With better story telling I think it would have been a fantastic pull for the younger market, who really know how to wear the 90s look, and not just the more refined retro girls, who I suspect are more likely to be existing customers at M&S.

Watching the short film about Alexa’s ideas behind the project was much more informative than actually looking at the site. She’s brought her dependable energy and eye to this project as she does with everything and I loved hearing her discuss her ideas behind her selections. When looking at the styling and promotion, I cant help but wonder whether M&S really understood the collection as much as she did. Today when I try and find the ‘shop the collection’ page on the M&S website I can’t find it at all…

If you too wanted to do some damage and couldnt find enough in Archive to satisfy your desire then never fear! You can follow my lead and scratch your itch by investigating another new M&S collaboration – Michael Van Der Ham’s capsule accessory line- feast your eyes here. Again, it’s not a huge selection – but what there is to choose from is very nice indeed.

Fresh and modern with a vintage wink, this bag speaks of understated chic, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. The quality also looks really nice, and at this price point even my bank manager would agree. As this collection is one of the latest in the ‘M&S &’ series, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for much, much more.

Thanks for stopping by!

I’d love to know what you thought about the Archive collection. Did you purchase any pieces? And Harry: Dress or Top? That is the question! Let me know @sarikathakorlal

{All images sourced from Marks and Spencer website}