M&S returns to its design roots with its easy-to-wear autumn-winter collection

High-street store marks 40 years in Ireland with looks that stand the test of time

Marks & Spencer has launched its autumn-winter 2019 collection, with clothes modelled by Aveen Lane, Louise Byrne and Abby Harris

Marks & Spencer has launched its autumn-winter 2019 collection, with clothes modelled by Aveen Lane, Louise Byrne and Abby Harris

 

Last night, in the aptly heritage-rich surroundings of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, on Kildare Street in Dublin, Marks & Spencer staged its autumn-winter 2019 fashion show with a collection that referenced the company’s archives.

“We are absolutely delighted to be dressing women in Ireland, and empowering them, for the last 40 years. We opened our first store, on Mary Street, on November 13th, 1979, so it’s a really special moment for us this year,” said Frances Deasy, its head of marketing and sales in Ireland.

Proceedings began with a blast from the past: key looks from the 1970s. They could easily hang on M&S rails today. A pinstripe suit in midnight blue, featuring oversized lapels, and styled with a sunshine-yellow shirt, opened the show; a modern-looking midi followed suit in a splashy yellow-and-black print that could easily be adapted to any wardrobe in 2019.

Retro M&S: some of the looks from Marks & Spencer’s fashion archives
Retro M&S: some of the looks from Marks & Spencer’s fashion archives

That easy-to-wear, back-to-basics feel permeated the show, whose wide-ranging looks included an all-weather parka styled with smart trousers and loafers, and chunky knitted co-ords pared with comfortable trainers.

Other autumn offerings stayed true to the M&S roots, with classic designs made modern via contemporary prints, including a plethora of midi dresses, much like the styles shown from the archives. Chunky knits, scarf-tie blouses, sharp suiting and, of course, its usual take on coats – from check to teddy, aviator to robe, all at affordable prices – also featured heavily on the runway.

Colours this season were translated in shots of sleek separates, particularly cocoon and Crombie-style coats worn over fluid dark-print dresses that make for easy winter dressing, and head-to-toe tonal looks took the guesswork out of colour pairings when stylishly jumbled together. Away from the standout shades, throwback hues of tobacco, rust and caramel gave a retro slant to the current cuts.

M&S Collection black aviator jacket, €95, Autograph cream blouse, €55, and M&S Collection print skirt, €55
M&S Collection black aviator jacket, €95, Autograph cream blouse, €55, and M&S Collection print skirt, €55
M&S Collection coral sweater, €34, M&S Collection coral knit skirt, €47.50, and M&S Collection coral coat, €70
M&S Collection coral sweater, €34, M&S Collection coral knit skirt, €47.50, and M&S Collection coral coat, €70
M&S Collection blue faux fur coat, €82, M&S Collection yellow blouse, €40, and M&S Collection tartan trousers, €49; M&S Collection mustard satin dress, €80
M&S Collection blue faux fur coat, €82, M&S Collection yellow blouse, €40, and M&S Collection tartan trousers, €49; M&S Collection mustard satin dress, €80

Separates were also key, with trousers bearing go-faster slim racing stripes that help elongate the leg, and relaxed jogger styles in wide-leg or straight styles, but when it comes to chic tailoring they come cut slim. The midi length reigned supreme, whether it came in bold bloom wrap skirts made winter appropriate by being paired with an oversized chunky knit, or an exaggerated box-pleat skirt worn with pussy-bow blouse and blazer.

Even the make-up, created by the celebrity make-up artist Christine Lucignano, reflected the legacy. “The look was inspired by the heritage of M&S in Ireland, so we went with what was a look that stands the test of time – a monochromatic make-up look, a nude cranberry on eyes, lips and cheeks. And really healthy, amazing skin. To me it works so well with all the clothes, the beautiful textures, and again echoed the heritage of M&S.”

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