Has Marks & Spencer finally nailed its fashion formula?

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This can be seen by their acquisition of Jaeger – a brand that in the 1950s and 60s was a beloved part of the British high street, dressing the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, and attracting working women with their sophisticated, great-quality clothes. Jaeger represents exactly what so many 40-plus women miss from a high street that now specialises in rock bottom prices and often quality to match. 

Many of the Jaeger and M&S pieces are more expensive than the brand’s usual fare but undoubtedly worth the price. ‘We wanted to keep true to the Jaeger values of sensorial quality, British heritage and relaxed confidence but make it modern,’ Fiona Lambert, Jaeger’s new managing director, told the Telegraph at the time of the release – and they have largely achieved it.

As well as Jaeger, M&S has collaborated with Ghost – the brand beloved by the British everywoman for its three-quarter length silk skirts and floral midi dresses; designs you’ll see paired with ballet flats, trainers and ankle boots at school gates, office canteens and high street restaurants around the country. Since the first team-up in November 2020, the collections have delivered M&S-friendly twists on Ghost’s consistent bestsellers, and at slightly lower price points (around £65 on average) than the originals.

When the second drop from M&S x Ghost launched last April, the retailer sold more than 30,000 dresses from the collaboration in a single week. Dream numbers, indeed, for a clothing department that had just reported some of its worst ever results and been roundly criticised in the fashion press. ‘Mini me’ versions of some styles were also produced, allowing daughters to match their mothers, while the types of florals on offer expanded, with silhouettes including classic wraps and 1940s-style tea dresses.

The brand saw similar results from its collaboration with Finery London, a label founded in 2015 and reinvented in the hands of Dragon’s Den businessman Touker Suleyman. Last year’s M&S edit was also surprisingly successful, filled once again with those beloved puff sleeve midi dresses in pretty colours and easy-to-wear wraps in cheerful prints.

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