On your Marks, get set ... for new M&S autumn collection
The fortunes of M&S are on the turn as the style giant successfully tackles declining clothing sales. Frances A Burscough gives her take on the the company's sumptuous new autumn collection.
As an ex-fashion designer who worked for Marks & Spencer in the late 1980s, I have followed the fortunes of their fashion lines with great interest over the years.
Like our hemlines, they've been up, down and halfway between, but now things certainly seem to be looking up if the new collection is anything to go by.
Today M&S launches its assorted womenswear ranges for Autumn/Winter 17/18 and I've been lucky enough to have been given a sneak peak of what to expect in the coming weeks.
Dresses are certainly one of the big features for the new season with an array of styles available to suit all shapes, moods and occasions.
Chinoiserie (the influence of traditional Chinese design) is very much a la mode for autumn and is evident here in a stunning range of floral printed dresses from the M&S Collection label in luxury fabrics that would be ideal for both office or occasional wear.
Specific design features such as bell sleeves, A Line silhouettes and pussy-cat bows give a retro-modern twist to a look inspired by an ancient ornate culture and the result is ladylike and elegant, yet bang on trend.
Other key pieces to look out for include an immaculate classic taupe trench coat from Autograph (£89) which is one of the staples that no wardrobe should be without, as well as an all-encompassing car coat (£89) in glimmering ivory faux fur that looks as cosy and warm as a hug from a polar bear.
Lingerie and loungewear is one of the things that Marksies do best and I'm delighted to see the return of the bodysuit for A/W 17 as it's one of the most comfortable items to wear in the cooler months. I've got my eye on the soft black velour number with long sleeves and a crew neck (£22.50) that will be perfect as day-into-evening wear for the party season.
The colour palette combines strong and bold shades of ruby red, vivid fuchsia, inky blue and warm caramel as well as highlights of silver, pewter and old gold, while a fabric range of the luxuriously-tactile includes cashmere, velvet, silk and lace.