M&S back in the pink as they bring eccentric designer Zandra Rhodes on board with bold new collection
She's designed for rock stars and royalty, been rejected by the traditional British fashion establishment for her outlandish designs - and she's got a shock of vivid pink hair.
But while at first glance you might think there's nothing traditional about 68-year-old Zandra Rhodes, it's clear from her new partnership with high street staple Marks & Spencer that she is happy to play it straight from time to time.
Well, perhaps almost straight.
Zandra Rhodes presents her new collection for Marks & Spencer
Fresh from designing costumes for the English National Opera and with an archive of pieces stitched for the likes of Princess Diana and the late Freddie Mercury to draw from, Rhodes' signature style is a heady mix of the bold and the feminine, and always, always with her famous wild streak.
For the M&S collaboration Rhodes she has taken the floaty summer dresses and chiffon kaftans that sell so well at M&S for the spring/summer season, and emblazoned them with her trademark bright fuchsia and tangerine tones, bold flower motifs and paisley prints.
Highlights on show at the unveiling today were a swirl-print jumpsuit in fluid chiffon, a playful lingerie set in clashing fuchsia and juicy orange, and a cute halterneck swimsuit, printed again in those juicy citrus tones.
The collection is full of Rhodes' signature details: bold, tropical tones, statement motifs and quirky detail
The collection, to go in 55 stores nationwide and online on 7 May, is also rich in floaty chiffon for holiday wardrobes, in the shape of V-neck kaftans and ruffle-trimmed or maxi dresses in chintzy florals or bold tropical tones.
Rhodes, resplendent in silver trousers, gold-trimmed pirate boots and flower-print kaftan, presented the highlights from the new collection this morning, telling onlookers that designing for M&S is the realisation of a lifelong ambition.
'I am thrilled to see my prints and their beautiful clothes reach a wide range of consumers', she said.
'Marks & Spencer do a wonderful product range and I have always wanted to design for them.'
Dream: Marks & Spencer do a wonderful product range and I've always wanted to design for them,' said Rhodes today
Despite Rhodes' eccentric design ethic, M&S say she is the perfect match for the store. 'This has been an amazing opportunity to work with such a well-known designer and a perfect fit for M&S, ' said Neil Hendy, head of womenswear design.
'Zandra’s unique prints and aesthetic work really well for our customers,' he added.
The collaboration with Rhodes follows a successful partnership for M&S with Sex and the City stylist - and scarlet-haired sixty-something - Patricia Field as celebrity designer, as well as a run of star-studded advertisments featuring Take That, Myleene Klass and Twiggy.
Both lingerie and swimwear from the Zandra Rhodes collection is worked in tropical tones with swirl or floral prints, while accessories make bold statements
Industry experts attribute the campaigns to a sequence of initiatives to modernise the brand.
Lambasted over the past few years for losing touch with their customers, recent initiatives from M&S focusing on affordable ranges, celebrity endorsement, collections for the older woman and environmental issues have brought the store back to the forefront of the British High Street.