Rita Ora & Emma Thompson For M&S

Marks and Spencer have redefined what a brand spokeswoman can be in recent years, venturing beyond the airbrushed and bland to embrace real women who are glamorous and aspirational in a way that doesn’t alienate. The common denominator in their models? Sheer and undeniable talent. Last year saw the likes of Grace Coddington, Helen Mirren, Karen Elson and Ellie Goulding front the brand, as well as artist Tracey Emin and novelist Monica Ali. True to form, this year their Spring/Summer advertising campaign marks another slight departure, encompassing eight diverse and inspirational women from the worlds of design, the arts and social justice.

The actress, screenwriter and ultimate girl crush Emma Thompson – read our ode to her here -  joins singer and HIV/Aids campaigner Annie Lennox, who has received an OBE for her commitment to improving women and children’s lives in Africa, and young starlet Rita Ora, who not only reached number one in the UK charts with her debut album but is about to embark on her acting career with a role in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades.

International supermodel and UN Goodwill Ambassador Alek Wek stands tall alongside London Fashion Week’s fairy godmother Lulu Kennedy and chef Rachel Khoo. Rounding up this group of women whom Marks and Spencer believe are emblematic of “modern Britain” are life peer Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE, who has campaigned tirelessly in the aftermath of her son Stephen Lawrence’s tragic murder, and the young innovator Roma Agrawal, the brain behind the landmark and award-winning ‘The Shard’.

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The campaign was shot by Annie Leibovitz and launches March 31st. It will feature the Spring/Summer collection against the backdrop of the Camber Sands and the Cotswolds. 

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun

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