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!
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).
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’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.
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?
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
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?
If you want to check it out, visit a store that has it there’s a list on the website, or try online at marksandspencer.com/s/women/alexa-chung – 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?!