Winter is a great season for style. It would be a great season all round if it wasn’t so darn wet and cold. But I have good news. The food and fashion institution of Marks and Spencer has come up with a classic but contemporary womens and menswear collection for the cold season. Amongst the fashion glitterati of Ireland in the breathtaking setting of the Aviva Stadium, M&S put on a show of all shows. Following a relaxing champagne and canapé reception, food prepared by the wonderful Mark Wright, Executive Chef at the Aviva, we were treated to style at it’s classical height.
Tailored , constructed looks were softened with splashes of colour and accessorised and styled beautifully by the fabulous Catherine Condell. Inspired by Mad Men and the aviator look of the season, M&S has gone all trendy. Dabbling in the realm of textures like leather and velvet, the must haves of the season. Retro inspired looks had movement and were not glued to the body and adding colour like bright green really gave a young look to a collection which has tended to suit the more mature amongst us.
Bohemian looks were wearbale and it was great to see models not drowning in oversized chunky knits. The Alpine inspired -cum- gypsy looks were layered, matching cardis with leggings or skinny jeans which elongate the lower half of the body. Textures in this look included the ever popular faux fur and wool. This look was a wilder but casual look and will be perfect on those busy Saturday mornings running around town, as the pieces looked so comfy and cozy.
Head of the Autograpgh collection, Marc O’Neill, really knows how to fit a suit to a woman’s body. Exquisite tailoring prevailed but there were some great alternatives for the office, deviating from the traditional trouser suit. Grey body con dresses and a grey and black two tone jumpsuit were my personal favourites.
M&S have also gone down the “hunting” look path. This look runs the risk of looking too masculine and slightly old. Cardis, quilted jackets and tweed were the key trends, with a lot of mid-calf length skirts, which are not really my cup of tea, but are a key A/W trend. Well you don’t have to like everything do you?
The college inspired looks brought chic to geek with plaid mini skirts, cord jackets, v-neck jumpers and even a bow tie for the boys! This is like chic college for adults. Understated colours balanced the complicated layered looks. Stripes were everywhere!
My favourite look for the season is military (will this look ever go away?) A real Burberry Prorsum look came stomping down the catwalk, with sherling jackets, ankle boots, leather leggings and faux fur. Last but not least, the desk to dinner look brought two models down the runway with a common item on, like a dress or a jacket. I did wonder at one point whether one would be allowed to their desk in some of the outfits, but I think the purpose of the styling was to show the versatility of the pieces.
My verdict! M&S have an affordable range of on trend clothes which can be mixed and matched to create several looks. With the Limited Collection and Autograpgh, M&S are now appealing to a younger audience, which is good to see, since cost is clearly that demographic’s biggest concern.