LC:M 2013 – Marks & Spencers Best of British S/S’14
Yesterday marked the debut of Marks & Spencers S/S’14 menswear luxury line, Best of British, at London Collections: Men. The Hospital Club hosted a three-hour showcase celebrating the retailer’s return to locally sourced and manufactured apparel. Complete with reworked retro silhouettes in fine quality material, Best of British exemplifies the significance of heritage as the resurgence of optimism in menswear becomes more prevalent.
The venue was adorned with vintage cameras and lighting to accompany the nostalgic atmosphere. Viewers were encouraged to take polaroids of their favorite looks from the collection while mingling with the designer over luxe conversation and champagne.
The Best of British collection highlights the current buoyancy in menswear markets through the influence of traditional tailoring. Head of Design at M&S, Tony O’Connor said the edit is “simple, premium, iconic pieces, inspired by the M&S archive in Leeds, is rooted in heritage and brought together in a refined monochrome palette underpinned by silver tones”. The look is refined gentleman, with a real English riviera vibe. Tailored separates in bold prints, colorful cashmeres and impeccably lightweight suiting make up the foundation, while the cheeky introduction of the daytime bowtie, coordinating umbrellas, leather brogues and messenger bags support the more fashion-forward consumer.
A few years ago, in response to the rise of fast-fashion, M&S ditched the British-made idea, and struggled in their transition to an outsourced, trend-driven assortment. The introduction of concessions and designer collaborations resulted in a diluted collection, and M&S found itself in a strange rut between concepts of old and new. Frustrated with the diminishing quality at M&S, once loyal customers turned to more affordable high street retailers, like Zara and H&M, for their basics.
The Best of British collection marks a long-awaited return to traditional mores of quality and heritage for Marks & Spencers. A refined focus to British-made apparel could become a competitive advantage, and result in a massive positive turning point for the retailer. Keep a look out for the accompanying womenswear line encompassing the traditionally tailored aesthetic.
Both collections launch in selected stores and online here in October 2013