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Meet the women who made Marks and Spencer cool again

Meet the women who made Marks and Spencer cool again

Amid the poster-sized lookbook images and departmental signs on the walls at Marks & Spencer’s headquarters, there’s one very bossy piece of A4 paper. ‘DUMP the FRUMP!’ it urges, following each letter of F-R-U-M-P with a value – about family, style relevance and value for money, to name a few – for designers to keep in mind. ‘Oh no,’ head of lingerie design Soozie Jenkinson says in mock horror when I ask about it. ‘We forgot to do a sweep!’

Soozie is one of a small group of women responsible for enacting this unofficial mantra. They’ve gathered in a light-filled conference room to talk about how, after so many stumbles and setbacks and mumsy blouses, M&S got its groove back. The answer is in their outfits and on the rails around the room, filled with gold-buttoned navy blazers, colour-blocked cashmere jumpers, velvet dresses, teddy-bear coats and slippy satin skirts. The frump, in case there...

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