Marks looks to the 1960s for summer inspiration

Model Carmel Mannion wears a maxi inspired by the 1960s, which is from the Per Una Speziale collection, at the launch of the Marks Spencer's springs-summer collection in Dublin. photograph: eric luke

Model Carmel Mannion wears a maxi inspired by the 1960s, which is from the Per Una Speziale collection, at the launch of the Marks Spencer's springs-summer collection in Dublin. photograph: eric luke

Wed, Feb 27, 2013, 00:00

These are transitional times, according to Carmel Breheny, the marketing manager at Marks & Spencer, who was commenting on the spring-summer collections at a low-key presentation instead of its usual catwalk show.

All eyes will be on the winter 2013 collection when the company’s new style director, Belinda Earl, formerly of Debenhams and Jaeger, joins the business. This will also coincide with the launch of two new clothing collections, part of the Best of British three-year initiative with the British Fashion Council, featuring “British heritage, sourcing and production”.

For spring, such looks as “urban utility” and “modern luxe” told the story of the season’s trends with print camouflage parkas, denim jackets and boyfriend jeans, and clean-cut workwear and dresses in tomato crepe respectively.

Sixties style

1960s“Mono pop” featured 1960s-inspired stripes and graphic patterns. The two boldest examples of the look were a shapely black-and-white grosgrain dress and a long maxi.

“Doll’s house” featured pastel separates, snakeskin and baroque print tailored suits and blouses with sweetheart or lace collars, underlining a more feminine approach.

Not yet in store are the zany metallic leather skirts (due in April) for high summer, but a navy zip-fronted collarless cocoon coat (also in black) and very Céline in spirit, was a good fashion buy, an item with both summer and winter appeal.

There were trench coats of all kinds, from classic khaki to polka dot and sugar pink with ballerina flats in coral suede, leopard or zebra print showing the improvements in footwear.

Tropical motifs

Dark, strong tropical motifs decorated swimwear and jeans, though the blue-and-white Balinese print jackets were lighter and less elaborate. But it was the children’s wear that caught the eye. The cute see-through macs with polka dot hoodies; the mini yellow sou’westers; the witty seaside prints and jeans decorated with tulle were playful and fun, lighthearted looks for the summer season.