After living in this country for the last 15 years, I have come to appreciate Marks & Spencer for the national institution that it is. I can’t think readily of a comparison in the US. Perhaps I can compare it to Target or other department stores which sell food, clothing and homewares but M&S is still different. It has a bit of old-fashioned stuffiness about it – an air of quality, of history, of nostalgia, of middleclassness that’s not matched by Target’s fast fashion and trendy finds. It’s simply quintessentially British.
Now, the food has always been very nice at M&S. Pick up a ready meal and you know it’s going to be nicer than the one you bought as ASDA. I mean, they have Prosecco flavoured crisps, for goodness sake. The clothing they sold in years past, however, seemed to be aimed at a woman in her 50’s from 1985 (hello Per Una). Then, as their hold on the British public faltered, they breathed new life into it. The Alexa Chung collection toes the line between being overtly trendy and feeling like you are on the right side of this century. The Twiggy line is equally impressive, giving women of a more mature age the ability to dress fabulously without feeling like they need to slump around Top Shop, covertly pretending to shop for their daughters when in reality, they just want something that’s stylish and fits well. They’re turning it around.
And now it seems that they are finally turning attention to their homewares and I couldn’t be more impressed. My jaw dropped when I picked up the throw for my bedroom that has clearly been inspired by Moroccan wedding blankets but at a mere £69 for something that’s huge, made well and super soft, a trip to M&S rather than Morocco is a little more convenient.
I recently came across their Mila Chandelier as well (although sadly, it’s currently out of stock and little wonder why). This gorgeous beaded boho extravaganza is simply stunning and so bang up to date, I had to double check I was on the right website.
I also am considering this beautiful ornament – the Coran Medallian. The combination of white marble and gold is a little irresistible to me, I admit but it’d be perfect for adding height to any vignette or something unique to fill an empty spot on a shelf.
Their bar ware is rather delicious with shining metallics, glass and finishes that wouldn’t look out of place at the swankiest of Christmas parties.
For Christmas and beyond, you can warm up winter nights with a stunning selection of candle holders and votives.
The future looks bright as well. Melanie Lyssik recently attended their SS17 press show (I am gutted now I couldn’t make it!) and shared some of their finds in a blog post recently which she graciously has allowed me to plunder for this post. My jaw dropped seeing this bar cart which has been firmly marked as a definite contender to replace my current one. I’m utterly in love as well with that beautiful brass trim and velvet chair.
She also shared a few of their ‘Safari’ inspired accessories. I’m constantly being asked where I purchased the little gold elephants on my mantle and I always have to reply they are sadly vintage. However, it seems I can now point people in the direction of M&S instead. Also, that candle holder! I mean.
And can we just have a moment of silence to admire that Art Deco sideboard?
You can check out the rest of her finds here.
So it seems that M&S are knocking it out of the park lately with ranges that are fashion-forward with a stylish edge. I can’t wait to see what the new year brings this chain that I’d all but dismissed in previous years. Are you as surprised as I am by their latest ranges?