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NOW CLOSED Tell House of Fraser what you think about the Mary Portas Collection and win a personal shopper session and £500 to spend at House of Fraser

(134 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 10-May-12 10:09:04

We've been asked by House of Fraser to find out what you think of the Mary Portas Collection

Here's what Mary says about the Collection: "Just follow the Pret-a-Portas cocktail = one part simple chic, one part edge, and decorate!"

What House of Fraser would like you to do is take a look at the Collection online here or visit your nearest House of Fraser* to check it out in real life, and maybe try some items on. Then they'd like you to come back to this thread and answer these questions:

~ What's your favourite piece in the Collection? Do you have more than one? Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to? If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention?

~ What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection? What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection? Would you like to see her take on a different style all together? Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions? If so, what would those additions be?

The team at House of Fraser and Mary (!) will read all of the comments submitted on this thread and the MNer whose feedback they find the most interesting will win a styling session with a personal shopper and £500 to spend at their nearest House of Fraser. Please see Terms and Conditions here.

Thanks
MNHQ

*Mary Portas is available at House of Fraser Oxford Street, Westfield, Manchester, Glasgow and Guildford

modernbear Thu 10-May-12 16:10:30

What's your favourite piece in the Collection? I would love the leather biker jacket in tan. A great piece to have in a wardrobe (especially mine - however cannot justify the expense) to wear with jeans/trousers. I wonder how it would look with something a bit different - a flowery dress or skirt? Would have liked to have seen it in a variety of different looks/images on the website.

Do you have more than one? Yes, I was drawn to the thrown on placket front shirts (comfort), the wide leg zip front trousers (A good option for someone with sturdy thighs like myself. However, I agree with other people, a variety of leg lengths would be good.) and I liked the pleat front dress in orange (loved the bold and cheerful colours. A fun item of clothing. Excellent that it is machine washable.). I also liked the tight range in terms of overall design and colours. (I think more sizes might be needed in this area. Only a S/M and M/L does not seem enough. Interesting that it is Mary Portas and Charnos.)

Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to? If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention?
The Auora dress in cobalt. Everything about it grapped my attention. Rather a statement piece. Its bright bold colour is without doubt uplifting. It celebrates curves which is great from my point of view.

What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection? That it is bold and cheerful without going to extremes. It says that 'I am here and I like who I am'.

What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection? Would you like to see her take on a different style all together? Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions? If so, what would those additions be?
The banner above collection intimates that this is a Spring collection, so presumably the next one to be released will be for the Summer. Taking this into account, whilst I would not like it to be a radically different collection, it needs to be catering for warmer weather (Wishful thinking I know, but it could happen.). More machine washable dresses which are bright,cheerful and colourful but also short sleeved in an appropriate fabric. I would like to see more skirts with the above in mind. ( I was skeptical about the ones in this collection. The silver leather skirt would not be really practically for someone with a toddler and I am not too sure that I am young enough too carry it off. Perhaps this a confidence thing? On the other hand the only other skirts I could see was the cut pencil skirt and snake panel skirt in black. The former would be great for work. However I would expect more variety within the collection in terms of design (pencil/flared etc.) and colour.)

stressheaderic Thu 10-May-12 16:21:35

Oh Mary Mary, sorry to sound so contrary.... I really wanted to like your Collection, I like you, <sounds like Simon Cowell> and I like your ideas for the high street... but, and it pains me to say this, some of your Collection reminded me of the worst of Wallis. Only twice or three times the price. Sorry <feels terrible>
Disclaimer: I am 32, so prob not your target market. Anti-disclaimer: I'm too old for Topshop and its ilk, and looking to spend some post-maternity-working-again wodge on some key pieces.

~ What's your favourite piece in the Collection? Do you have more than one? Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to? If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention?
*Ok - I LOVE the dress coat. I would find £75 for this (but NOT £150) as I think it covers all bases of smart, casual, work, going out, and thanks to Ms Middleton, seems to be having a moment, so well done there.
I like the biker jacket, looks very buttery, and I like the black blazer. So the jackets do it for me. I think it's the tailoring. I'm tallish and thin but not a supermodel, just sort of scrawny, so these clothes would flatter me, not hang off me. All high street coats seem to swamp me, so this could be a winner.*

Oh, and the Armery. Fantastic idea. Never seen it done before. Absolutely wonderful. A lot of the scarves are vair lovely too.

~ What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection? What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection? Would you like to see her take on a different style all together? Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions? If so, what would those additions be?

*Collectively, the Collection doesn't really have a Signature look. It's a mix of plains and prints, floaty and fitted, but not enough detail to make it yours. In contrast, I scrolled down to the Whistles stuff at the bottom and instantly saw 4 or 5 things I liked.
To make it work for me, you need to stick to one sort of shape (perhaps tailored, you're good at that), less viscose and more cotton (and less dry-clean only).
At this high end, with high-end prices, you need a catwalk feature on the website so people can see the clothes being worked.*

And yes, the 'naughty corner' styling on the website was a big, big mistake (but probably not your idea so I still fancy like you).

lumbago Thu 10-May-12 16:24:25

What's your favourite piece in the Collection? Do you have more than one? Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to? If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention?
I like all the neon in it tbh - was already looking at a pair of neon heels in zara that I could wear with cigarette cut pants and a biker jacket. ALso like the blossom chinesey top - have recently bought similar - doh! I never thought of looking in Hof.
Agree that workwear needs addressing - for those of use who are say teachers and have restrictions on what we can wear and also need to be relatively comfortable to do our job well.
I wouldnt buy ANY of the trousers. I have slim legs and they would make me look like a ship in full sail. That is disappointing*
like the jewellery but some is a bit toO quirky for me - I cant have an interview with a parent wearing a comedy parrot brooch! No matter how fun it is!

~ What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection? What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection? Would you like to see her take on a different style all together? Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions? If so, what would those additions be?

I bought last seasons black suede ankle boots and they regularly get rave reviews from my teenagers. They were a good buy - would like similar next year. I like this seaons flat Jesus style sandals. Would like heel heights to go UP a bit on the court shoes please

gilliancd Thu 10-May-12 16:30:26

I liked what I saw, it was very much the style I would expect from Mary Portas. I really loved the pleat front dress. I also liked the fact the shoes were Mary and Clarkes, I'm a bit fussy over shoes so I like to know they will fit well and be up to chasing after kiddies.
I've not been to look at the collection in store (2 kids+ bus into town is bit of a no-no), but I have to admit I was a bit confused by the webpage. I think maybe if was a bit more of a separate page, like a little boutique corner I would have found myself looking at more areas.

Pinot Thu 10-May-12 16:42:43
slug Thu 10-May-12 16:49:38

What's your favourite piece in the Collection?
To be honest I thought most of it was hideous. The Aurora dress looked OK, but I suspect that's because I have a weakness for cobalt blue dresses. The dress coat looked OK, if a little short and 100% polyester which takes it off my "look at closer" list immediately. As one of the target market I was disappointed that the collection seems not to cater for middle aged women whose bodies have taken a beating from childbirth. I can't see how I could cram my norks into any of the pieces. I was also disappointed at the polyestertastic look of it. For those prices I would expect a lot more cotton, wool and a bit of silk than polyester and acetate.

What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection?
Nothing really. The shoes in particular made me angry. I don't understand the designer's obsession with putting women in heels when they simply aren't practical for everyday life. (and yes, that includes working full time at a fairly senior level) Nor do I understand the obsession of using seriously underweight models to model a collection aimed at an age group who typically have developed beyond the straight up and down body type. I simply couldn't look at the collection online and mentally put myself into any of the clothes.

And, as mentioned by many people, the website is poorly designed and difficult to navigate. I thought I'd discovered something I like in the clothing only to discover it was Whistles. <<makes a mental note to go and check out that item in the shop>>

TheRhubarb Thu 10-May-12 16:50:19

Hmm nope, still not convinced sorry. I think younger girls can get away with it but any older than 30 and it just looks, well, grannyish. I dunno, just not for me I suppose.

The smaller pearls are better but I guess I'm just never going to like pearls, not even real ones.

TheSecondComing Thu 10-May-12 16:52:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pinot Thu 10-May-12 16:53:48

<ignores Rhubs>

<is v young and stylish>

<and deluded>

grin

Atreegrowsinbrooklyn Thu 10-May-12 17:01:44

The prints are dreadful- the Poseidon dress looks like something Bet Lynch would wear.

Elipse batwing top- just what menopausal/post menopausal women want (not) to wear with its flappy material version of 'bingo wings', hideous print and dated shape. Cheap, cheap, cheap looking. Re name it the Bingo dress.

'No Brainer' crepe dress- Is that describing the target audience because you'd require surgical removal of the brain or at least the parts involved with aesthetic appreciation, in order to consider this dress desirable? This dress is the kind of clothing overweight women buy, not because they like it, but because it is either the only thing in their size, or it covers it all up. Would a slender woman choose this dress?

The Dolman sleeve top has sleeves mimicking the effect of either dramatic weight loss's resultant lack of tone in the arm skin or a starving elephant limbs.

The hideousness of waterfall cardigans has been taken to new levels in the cupro skirt with waterfall edging. Just what we want-fussy, cheap and dated office clothing with probably cheap hemming on show.

The prints (pleat front dress, Hyper real dress) are respectively, poorly done versions of Erdem, Peter Pilotto and the Dries Van Notens printed T shirt dresses of a couple of years ago. Imitation is not a form or flattery here at all.

The 'Snake Panel' dress- Yet another unimaginative and cheap knock off of both Victoria Beckham and L'Wren Scott's 'headmistress' dresses. This style loses style when it is done cheaply (but costs too much).

Is this range trying to offer staples and basics and directional fashion? Boyfriend shirts have been done, done, done, and the prints are so dated. Who in god's name decided to do yet more animal print clothing? It only looks good in very good natural fabrics, not these cheap viscose-y sheeny materials. And more animal print scarves-How many more seasons are you planning to knock off Vuitton? Produce a leopard print bustier top and you can tick Dolce & Gabbana off of your list too.

OH...a less dated 'update'... a knocked off copy of Miu Miu's bird print on a scarf too. Stella McCartney's prints have been 'borrowed' for your ring bikini' also. I have yet to find a cat print VB)-I'm sure you are watching BC1's animal show to gain inspiration for your next seasonal skin show....As long as somebody else has done it first and preferably two seasons ago at least.

Do you not have an original idea of your own? Inspiration is one thing, but knock offs are another.

I see your designer 'tributes' in your bags too- A Loewe 'inspired' (Flamenco bag) collaboration with Radley, you've aped the lovely Ally Capellino leather tote and added a Jil Sander colour band to it too. If copies are wanted, then go to Zara for your leather tote-it's better.

The Cupro skirt- The hideousness of the waterfall cardigan has been taken to new levels here in this waterfall fronted monstrosity.

I know that most high St stores rip off or use the runways as inspiration but after Mary Portas's loud proclamations regarding the need for a new, fresh, different range of clothing for older women, what happened?

Portas has been very loudly criticising what is already out there yet has offered nothing different and in many ways so much worse. These fabrics are cheap and nasty.The designs are clunky, the colours are peculiar and dated.

Rather unpleasant to criticise other stores in print and on TV potentially harming their business in a recession only to put out such spectacularly awful and uninspired clothing. Oh...and patronising the target age group also.

stressheaderic Thu 10-May-12 17:07:39

Don't hold back, atreegrows ...

<imagines Mary sobbing and blowing nose on pair of quintessentially British overpriced knickers>

Atreegrowsinbrooklyn Thu 10-May-12 17:10:14

Stressheaderic

grin....My tone is a 'tribute' to the MP style of critique. She's a big girl. She can take it.

Anything I half-liked in this collection I already own a better version of for half the price.

Sorry, didn't do it for me.

What's your favourite piece in the Collection? Do you have more than one? Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to? If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention?

ok, so the first thing is that when i clicked on 'clothing' my heart sank as the first three rows were just awful baggy things, as if the expectation is that all older women are fat with bingo wings. The next row looked like rejects from Posh Spices latest collection.

finally I found the silver leather pencil skirt, and the boxy silk tshirt dress, which I will definitely be going to look at.

i loved the jewellery, but realised that my favourite pieces were by tatty devine and the portas pieces were a bit unexciting.

this is a range i would look at online first to decide what to try to find instore

~ What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection? What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection? Would you like to see her take on a different style all together? Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions? If so, what would those additions be?

i would like to keep the sleeves and lose the awful armery which i am sure i saw on dragons den and just looks like it would ruckle up

lumbago Thu 10-May-12 17:27:56

Agree there's no cohesion to it.
Knitwear looks like Grattan.

lumbago Thu 10-May-12 17:31:52

Oh and the prints !
No no and thrice no.
If women are buying rekativeky expensive things I reckon plain.

CuppaTeaJanice Thu 10-May-12 17:51:03

~ What's your favourite piece in the Collection? Do you have more than one? Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to? If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention?

A few things caught my eye. The oversize shimmer tee looked beautiful from the front, with a strong silhouette, interesting fabric and a genius idea to borrow the concept of a gentleman's shirt tail to give good bum coverage! It doesn't look so flattering from the back though - too big and boxy, with an almost hunchbacked appearance. Perhaps if you could find a way to have it more fitted at the back, perhaps with a feature element - corset lacing, decorative piping, a panel in a contrasting fabric, just something to give it an edge. I'm a big fan of garments with decorative backs - they are so often overlooked by designers and can make such a big impact if done right.
The Parakeet necklace is so effective. I expect it looks stunning with just a simple vest top and jeans. The emerald colour is amazing too.
The Armery product is a great idea. My little daughter has similar things in brightly coloured stripy knitwear - I think they are popular in Japan. It's nice to see the idea adapted for a different age group and style.

~ What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection? What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection? Would you like to see her take on a different style all together? Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions? If so, what would those additions be?

I think the edgy sophistication is the most appealing thing about the collection. Women don't lose their sense of style once they exit the Top Shop demographic, so it's good to see a designer embracing maturity without losing the zest of youth.
I'd like to see better proportioning in the trouser range. Perhaps it's the photography, but many of the garments put me in mind of the Gestapo trousers from 'Allo Allo'. The skinniness of the calf section gives the appearance of an elephantine backside, although I shouldn't imagine the model is much bigger than a size 10.
As I said before, a focus on the backs of the garments would add an interesting twist. River Island did a magnificent range of skirts with all manner of exciting things on the back - corset lacing, interchangeable ribbons, tailoring, fishtails, bustles, subtle rhinestuds (think glamorous Victorian rather than Elvis). The collection must have been 7 or 8 years ago - actually it was the year that Kemal was in Big Brother blush which I only know because he was shopping in there when I bought them and all the staff were fawning all over him. That's just in case you have access to the River Island archives and wanted to look them up, btw. I still wear them lots now.

lumbago Thu 10-May-12 18:03:30

I don't want rhinestones and lacing

MustControlFistOfDeath Thu 10-May-12 18:24:32

DONE xx

<runs and hides from Lumbago>

<will come back later when I've had chance to look at the collection>

What's your favourite piece in the Collection?

The leather biker jacket- beautiful soft leather, I could wear it with anything and dress it up or down and it's not too 'edgy' and I could get away with it at work. However, the fit was odd- no room for my boobs and I am only a c cup, but a bigger size was too big. This seemed to be the case with a lot of things- they seem to only suit a relatively small boobed figure. Drapey, high necked tops and tent like dresses are just a disaster if you have boobs, they hang all wrong! This seems odd for a collection for 'grown up' women, not teenagers.

Do you have more than one?

I also love the belts- lovely chunky buckles and they are beautiful quality.

Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to? If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention?

Honestly no- I have an hourglass figure and am a size 8 I can usually wear anything. There was nothing that didn't look ridiculous on me.

What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection?

The patterns and colours, and it's beautifully presented in store.

What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection? Would you like to see her take on a different style all together? Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions? If so, what would those additions be?

I think the collection needs to be more cohesive- there are too many different styles, aiming at too many body types. More tailored pieces in plainer colours or patterns- at this price anything I bought would be an investment piece so faddy fashions like 80s batwing sleeves, and crazy patterns put me off as they date quickly.

devilsadvocaat Thu 10-May-12 18:42:54

~ What's your favourite piece in the Collection? Do you have more than one? Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to? If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention?

La Jane cream patent shoes. They look classy and comfortable and very wearable. I like a little fox badge that I saw, can't remember the name.

~ What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection? What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection? Would you like to see her take on a different style all together? Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions? If so, what would those additions be?

I didn't really see much in the clothing section that was to my taste. It seemed to be aimed at a slightly older crowd. I would prefer a whole different collection. I would love to see some more dresses that aren't too short, casual but can be worn for work. The most appealing things were the accessories. I like the broaches, rings and scarves. I also like some of the bags, would love to see some bowling style bags and small satchels to wear across the body.

everythingtodo Thu 10-May-12 19:59:54

What's your favourite piece in the Collection?
The Aurora dress - fab colour and a beautiful shape. I could wear it to work or dress it up for something more formal. Good price and very nice quality.

Do you have more than one?
Yes, the High Rise Jeans, in denim, look great. Not tried them on, but they look a nice forgiving shape - high and not too skinny.
The leather pencil skirts looks like something you could have in your wardrobe and return to for years to come. Also love the Blue and Green Leopard scarf - you can never have too many scarves, it's a great price for something quite unique.

Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to?
The High Rise Jeans - is it not every woman's quest to find the perfect pair? I am yet to find mine!

If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention? The colour and the style. At my age (36) and am looking for quality and stylish clothing that will flatter a post baby body.

What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection?
The good range of basics that is covered: jeans, trousers, tops - I like that there are a few options that are similar but differ in colour or other details, so if you find something that works for you you can go with it.

What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection?
More shirts and blouses. Personally I find that jersey type tops and oversize tops aren't good on my figure. A good shirt is fab - smartens up a pair of jeans and is easy to wear.

Would you like to see her take on a different style all together?
Mmn, I do find that some of the pieces come across and being for an older audience, particularly the drape jackets and crepe jackets. As a stay at home (but hopefully still stylish!) mum I would love to see a bit more smart day wear. Day dresses and cropped trousers and more fitted tops would be stuff I would buy.

Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions?
I would like to see more classic pieces and less pattern in the collections.
If so, what would those additions be?
I think Mary knows what makes us look good and so some more classic investment type pieces would be great. The leather pencil skirt is a great example of what I mean. Lovely quality knitwear is always a winner with me too.

RandomMess Thu 10-May-12 20:17:00

Well I looked but being 5'0.5" there is nothing I would bother to try on because I know it's not going to fit/suit/flatter me sad

zhuzhik Thu 10-May-12 20:19:10

What's your favourite piece in the Collection?

I bought last winter two of the silk boldly patterned dresses - one green leopard and the other a bright turquoise. So for summer I was again drawn to the loud patterned dresses - especially the Poseiden and the Hyperreal Volcano dresses.

I also loved the La amelie and La peep court shoes in flourescent yellow. I know the colour is literally everywhere at the moment - but the styling looked nice (at least what I could tell online).

Do you have more than one?

See above...those two dresses in particular seemed like worthwhile investments. I also liked the Marble No Brainer dress on sale too.

Was there anything in the Collection that you were immediately drawn to? If so, was it the colour, pattern, style or something else that grabbed your attention?

For me it was the bold patterns. I invested in the two dresses last winter b/c I felt like they were limited edition "statement" dresses and look better when I have to go somewhere than a "mum" dress that anyone can buy at Monsoon. Having said that, the dresses are pricey so you have to be convinced that you will use them. The clothes are investment pieces rather than one season high street purchases.

I love the bright colours and the patterns. I feel like T-shirts and leggings I could buy anywhere. Not ready to invest that much in basics, but I will pay up for a special dress with a good cut. I was concerned that the summer dresses did not come with belts - otherwise those of us with large shoulders and upper backs / boobs etc can look quite frumpy! Would be helpful to have belt options for those of us who need to show off a waistline in order not to look bigger than we are.

~ What do you think is the most appealing thing about the Collection?

Bright colours, bold patterns, and the flo yellow. I love that you can make loud statements with the clothes if you choose to.

What would you like to see in Mary's next Collection? Would you like to see her take on a different style all together? Or would you like to see something similar but with a few key additions? If so, what would those additions be?

When I tried on trousers in the winter in store at House of Fraser Oxford St, they were really high waisted, and I felt too young (I'm 36 so not really young at all by high street standards) to wear the cut. I would love more low rise really well fitting black trousers or all-season trousers. I know where to buy good jeans, I still don't know where to find good trousers, but the high waist does not suit me.

More statement dresses (with belts please) that can be cut flattering - roomy but not baggy? Perhaps some cool blouses peasant style or sequins etc - I find some of the blouses are cut quite square and not flattering if you have a large chest / upper back and want to be slimmed on top. Funky blouses that would have 3/4 sleeves (for those of us who do not want to show upper arms) that could look coold with jeans and wedges for evening out?

For summer - I love the scarves, wasn't blown away by the bags (hard to sell handbags so much choice out there). Stick to core competency and offer great investment pieces - blouses, dresses, perhaps more nice lightweight summer jackets (not blazers but more layering choices?). Awesome trousers would be good but so hard b/c so many different body shapes to appeal to - I would like more low waisted boot cut options. But that's just me smile

Oh - and I love the idea of Armoury but have not bought any yet. I am the person who owns 20 cardigans b/c always need to cover up upper arms...

latrucha Thu 10-May-12 20:34:17

I'm sorry. I really didn't like any of it at all. Everything looked too boxy, with unflattering necklines for the large-breasted lady and with trousers fashion has been telling me I should wear for several years but look dreadful on me.

Some of the shoes and bags were nice.

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