Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson and Baroness Doreen Lawrence - what do they have in common? Not a lot on the surface, but that's about to change. As of March 31, they will be among the faces of Marks & Spencer's new 'Leading Ladies' campaign.
The line-up also features supermodel Alek Wek and fashion designer Lulu Kennedy, alongside chef Rachel Khoo and Roma Agrawal, an award-winning structural engineer who worked on the Shard.The retailer today tweeted one of the first pictures of the group, who will promote the brand's Spring/Summer collection in an ad campaign which is set in scenic locations around Britain and aims to celebrate 'true British style, quality, diversity and success'.
- M&S (@marksandspencer) March 24, 2014
The picture, shot by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibowitz, suggests that the theme for this season will be minimalist, with clean lines and monochrome dominating the line-up, broken only by an eye-catching green-patterned dress worn by the statuesque Alek Wek.
The firm's executive director of marketing and business development, Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne explained the philosophy behind the eclectic selection. "Marks & Spencer is a democratic brand which is relevant to women of all ages and strands of life. It is therefore natural for M&S to celebrate women in this way."
It is the second such campaign launched by the long-established but beleaguered retail giant. The first was unveiled last year to mark the Autumn collection and featured a similarly unpredictable collection of stars, including screen star Dame Helen Mirren, artist Tracey Emin and Olympic medallist Nicola Adams.
Despite the money Marks & Spencer has poured into advertising campaigns, its clothing range continues to see sales decline, with rival Next set to outstrip them for the first time ever.