LOCAL COLOR…AND TEXTURE: In a bid to revive its flagging clothing fortunes, Marks & Spencer has vowed to make quality a number one priority, and has significantly revamped its men’s and women’s offer. The result — shown to investors and press this week — is promising. In addition to a flurry of sleek coats — plaid, or discreetly dotted with sequins, or sleek and collarless — and racks full of snazzy, youthful skirts and dresses, M&S is also launching a Best of British capsule collection of clothing and accessories. The collection, which is sourced and manufactured in the U.K. is for men and women, and boasts about 100 pieces ranging from Harris Tweed iPad and iPod covers, Prince of Wales check men’s suits, tweed suits and gray flannel dresses for women, and lambs’ wool cable knit sweaters. The line also features Scottish cashmere and Yorkshire-made woven fabrics. Prices are 20-25 percent higher than the main collections. The lines will land in-store on October 10 and will be sold online, at just five U.K. stores, and internationally at M&S flagship stores in Paris and Shanghai. And it’s not just a one-off effort: Belinda Earl, a retail veteran and the store’s new style director, said the team is already at work on a spring collection. Best of British also marks the start of a three-year partnership between M&S and the British Fashion Council to emphasize local design and talent.
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