Marks &Amp; Spencer Unveil Their New Leading Ladies

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'.

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.