Alexa’s Archive at M&S

Alexa’s Archive should have been mine. I have a lot of ideas. They come on a daily hourly basis. My mind works constantly, thinking of things I can do, projects I could work on, things I could create, sell, etc, etc.

My mind is awash with ideas, from morning til night. I seem to be constantly inspired, by the littlest things.

So, Alexa’s Archive should have been mine. Here’s why!

I have loved vintage clothing since I was in my teens (over 25 years ago…!). A few years back, I sold vintage clothing on my now defunct e-commerce store, Miss Kitty Litter Vintage, and I became obsessed with vintage Marks and Spencer items – those ‘Made in Great Britain’ under the St Michael label.

I mused to my husband one day that “M&S should do an archive collection” – they should get into their archives, find the very best pieces, and recreate them.Laura Ashley had recently done it, so had others. But M&S? They had the history, the heritage, the British-ness. Yes, it would definitely work. The St Michael brand – a ready-made name for their collection, right there!

Alexa in the M&S archive

Alexa in the M&S archive

I popped it on a ‘to-do list’ (yes, I like lists, what a surprise, eh?!), and, well, promptly forgot about it. UNTIL…early February this year when an email landed in my inbox –

Subject: Marks & Spencer is delighted to announce a unique collaboration with style icon Alexa Chung

I almost didn’t read it. I can’t really be bothered with Alexa Chung, if I’m honest (I don’t really know what she does/is – apart from horribly over-exposed at one time).

In M&S archive heaven..

In M&S archive heaven

But I did, and there it was – the M&S archive by Alexa. Alexa’s Archive from M&S. My idea! Well, kind of…

Alexa looking all arty-fashion in the Harry blouse

Alexa – looking arty, in the Harry blouse

Alexa’s Archive should have been mine! Here’s what M&S had to say about it back in February:

“Archive by Alexa brings together a modern icon of British style Alexa Chung, and a long standing icon of the British high street, Marks & Spencer.
This is a unique approach to a collaboration. Using the rich and extensive Marks & Spencer Company Archive in Leeds,  Alexa and the M&S design team have embarked on a journey of rediscovery.
This project is the first of the ‘M&S &’ series.  A sequence of unique, exclusive collections in collaboration with some of today’s most exciting designers, brands & fashion icons.
The 31 piece womenswear collection has been carefully curated and handpicked by Alexa and the M&S design team.

Bringing archive pieces back to life for 2016 using Alexa’s unique approach to style. Through introducing modern fabrications and an updated colour palette, a contemporary womenswear collection is defined with a heritage sensibility.

The supporting campaign will launch in April with Alexa herself taking creative ownership of the mood and direction.”

Obviously, it’s nowhere near as good as my archive would have been…! (and obviously my tongue is in my cheek here…a little!)

I’ve had a good look through it. I think I like, perhaps, two things. And even then, I don’t think they would really suit me.

The Harry dress and Frances Trench

The Harry dress and Frances Trench


I’m not sure who the archive is aimed at. Vogue did a huge piece on it, of course – Alexa works for them. It was right at the top of my feed when I hit the search button on Twitter this morning – but not on its own right, but because it was sponsored by M&S. They were promoting their own hashtag on Twitter. (It’s #ArchiveByAlexa, incidentally)

Surely that’s not how it’s meant to work? Surely it should be trending on Twitter in its own right?

Alexa's Archive Elsie and Eliza dresses

The Elsie and Eliza dresses

I’m going to go to the only M&S in Edinburgh that has the collection at the weekend and have a look. I’m sure it won’t have sold out. Not all of it, anyway. I’ll reserve full judgement until then, but here are a few issues I have with Alexa’s Archive.

  • The pieces are not copies of old M&S designs, but adaptations of Alexa’s favourite pieces from the archive. Re-imagined and designed with a modern twist, say M&S, but some of them would have worked brilliantly just as they were, I am sure.
  • Alexa’s school uniform favourites have  been re-imagined as adult pieces. I’m just not loving that idea.
  • The Harry blouse and Harry dress, inspired by the 1981 pieces inspired by Princess Diana, are my favourite pieces – but they’re not really going to look that great on my body shape, despite being available up to size 18.
  • Much of it seems to have been chosen by Alexa and designed for Alexa, for her to wear – and those who look like her
  • Some of it is just downright dull – plain t-shirts, why?
  • Those flared trousers should have also come in the original canary yellow
The Ada trouser and the Harry blouse

The Ada trouser and the Harry blouse

I love this idea, obviously!  But, I don’t know why it had to have a name attached to it. Could M&S not bring back their fabulous archive themselves? Call it the St Michael collection. Use actual designs. Recreate actual pieces.

I get why they have done it, I get that they wanted a ‘name’ to launch it, and Alexa Chung loves her fashion, but I don’t know who they are targeting with this. How many M&S shoppers are fans of Alexa Chung? How many Alexa Chung fans shop in M&S. And even if they go and buy this collection, will they go back? Not unless she does more, I’d guess, and is that likely to happen?

The Cora Bikini

Love the 1970s Cora towelling bikini though…

If you want to check it out, visit a store that has it there’s a list on the website, or try online at – there’s a lot more about the collab on there, and a few old images and adverts that are quite fun.

What do you think? Do you love it? Do you even care?!





  1. April 13, 2016 / 20:48

    As much as I like Alexa Chung (although I can’t tell you why she’s famous other than she used to be a model once upon a time) I’m really disappointed with this collection. Everyone hypes about her style but these pieces are really bland and something you could find in any store. Maybe I’m being too harsh but I doubt M&S will see these items fly off the shelf.

    • Merle
      April 13, 2016 / 22:51

      Exactly! It’s very dull! I know I’d have done a better job…hehe.