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Alexa Chung and M&S fashion history

April 28, 2016
A 1958 photograph from the M&S Company Archive in Leeds - there will be a fashion show at the archive on Saturday, May 7.

A 1958 photograph from the M&S Company Archive in Leeds – there will be a fashion show at the archive on Saturday, May 7.

Earlier this month, I went along to Marks & Spencer in London for the the launch of the Archive by Alexa collection of clothes and accessories “curated” by model and style icon Alexa Chung.

To research the collection, Alexa Chung came to Leeds University to visit the M&S Company Archive, which is one of the richest retail history collections in the country. It holds more than 70,000 items and materials charting more than 130 years of fashion and company history, dating from the original Penny Bazaar opened in Leeds Market in 1884, including written records, staff publications, photographs and films, garments and household products, design and advertising materials.

Alexa Chung (I assume) models the Harry blouse from the Archive by Alexa for M&S collection.

Alexa Chung (I assume) models the Harry blouse from the Archive by Alexa for M&S collection.

Retro fashion lovers will have the chance to see exactly what inspired her on the catwalk on Saturday, May 7, when the M&S Company Archive hosts its first vintage fashion show ‘Dressed in Time’.

The free show will feature fashion from the 1930s to the present day, chosen from the 70,000-piece archive based at the University of Leeds. Expect to see glamorous gowns and beach pyjamas worn in the ‘30s, war time fashion from the ‘40s, vibrant colours and prints of the ‘50s and ‘60s, right through to ‘70s flares and ‘80s power dressing, as the catwalk brings the fashion styles of the past to life.

The 1981 blouse that inspired the Harry - very New Romantic and Princess Diana.

The 1981 blouse that inspired the Harry – very New Romantic and Princess Diana.

The fashion show will also include the styles and trends that inspired Archive by Alexa, and pieces will feature on the catwalk alongside the vintage items.

Katie Entwistle, M&S Archive officer said: “One of my favourite pieces in the show is a fantastic 1970s blue striped women’s suit, with flared trousers and wide lapels. We’ve teamed it with a bright yellow blouse with dagger collar, and platform shoes – all very typically of the 70s. Another stand-out outfit is a Greta Garbo-style pink and purple pyjama suit popular in the 1930s. We sourced authentic 1930s-style fabric to recreate the look.

Alexa Chung at the launch.

Alexa Chung at the launch.

“Whatever your favourite fashion decade, the show will transport you to the past while demonstrating how the designs of yesteryear have influenced today’s most modern trends.”

Sneak peek at the M&S ‘Dressed in Time’ Fashion Trends that will be gracing the catwalk…

1930s: Knitted swim suits, beach pyjamas, glamourous nightwear and posh party frocks.

1940s: Fashion on the ration featuring utility clothing and the wide-shouldered, slim-waisted, narrow-hipped silhouettes synonymous with the era.

1950s: Full-skirted dresses, ‘slacks’ – trousers – for women and new easy-care garments made from Bri-Nylon and Terylene.

1960s: The rise of the teenager, clothes for working women and the mod-look for men.

1970s: Flares, wide collars, elegant maxi dresses and a resurgence of demand for natural fibres such as wool, denim and cheesecloth.

1980s: ‘Dallas’ inspired power-dressing, new romantic frills and ruffles and a fitness craze that resulted in new sportswear ranges.

From the Archive by Alexa collection.

From the Archive by Alexa collection.


The ‘Dressed in Time’ fashion event takes place from 11am until 3pm with three 45-minute fashion shows scheduled for 11am; 12.45pm and 2.30pm. Booking is essential as places are limited. Entry is free. Got to marksintime.marksandspencer.com/whats-on/dressedintime

 

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