After more than a quarter of a century spent at the fashion helm of the The Daily Telegraph and more than 10,000 catwalk shows under her belt, clothes queen Hilary Alexander is now turning her talents to the Marks & Spencer per una range – and offering expert advice on our everyday wardrobe dilemmas...
Hilary, you’re one of the best- known names in fashion, with loads of experience...
Some of you may know me through my previous incarnation as the fashion editor of the Telegraph . I was at the paper for 26 years, and it gave me the fabulous opportunity to travel all over the world and see the very best catwalk shows. I think I’ve probably seen about 10,000 or 12,000 shows, and I loved every single one.
Why are you working with M&S and supporting per una?
Now that I’m freelancing it’s given me the chance to break out and do different things. One of which is being the fashion consultant for per una, a perfect opportunity. I’ve always shopped at Marks & Spencer. This’ll be a really nice challenge.
What exactly is your role with per una?
It works on several different levels. Firstly I’m doing what is being called “Hilary’s edit”. This means I go through each collection, picking up to ten or 12 of my favourite pieces, putting them together with different accessories and looks, explaining why I’ve chosen them and what I like about the piece. Then I’m doing an Ask Hilary column once a week appearing on the main M&S website [marksandspencer.com]. Customers can write in with their clothing dilemmas. I’ll sort of be a fashion Sherlock Holmes pointing them in the right direction. Finally, I will be getting to work with the per una design team. I’ll have a hand in helping them craft the collection, pointing out catwalk trends perhaps, or colour trends, and ideas that I’ve come across, generally being part of the big per una engine.
What particularly do you love about the brand?
I’ve known per una really since it was first launched in Marks & Spencer. I love it because it’s a little bit different, it’s for a woman who’s quite confident, quite self aware, a bit courageous when it comes to colour and who likes things with a bit of glamour. It’s never, never OTT, but it definitely, definitely has that little hint of sparkle.
Will you be meeting customers in person?
Yes, in the future I’ll be trying to get out into Marks & Spencer stores to meet some of the customers in the flesh or even better in their clothes, and really talk to them about what they like about per una, what their favourite pieces are, what they’d like to see more of. I think it’s great to have that interaction with the women who are actually going to be wearing the clothes. I found this particularly when I was at the Daily Telegraph doing reader makeovers, you actually see the customers and they get the chance to try things on. You can really help them suddenly discover a completely new personality. That’s what I hope to be to doing.
M&S announced the appointment of iconic fashion expert Hilary Alexander as the new per una Fashion Consultant.