UK

Marks and Spencer set to snap up ‘twinset and pearls’ brand Jaeger


Founded in 1884, British brand Jaegar was once on a par with luxury giant Burberry and has counted many actresses and members of the Royal Family among its fans, including Marilyn Monroe and the Duchess of Cambridge.

It was named after Dr Gustav Jaeger, a German-born zoologist who promoted the use of natural fibres in clothing.

Its woollen longjohns were worn by explorers including Ernest Shackleton, and by 1910, it had received its first Royal Warrant.

It secured its place in fashion history in 1919, when it introduced the camel hair coat to the British High Street. While pricey, it continued to capture the niche for elegant, flattering basics.

When its flagship store opened on Regent Street in the Thirties, women flocked to it. Its fashion heyday came in the Seventies, when its flared trousers, capes and coats featured regularly in glossy magazines.

But in 1982, it abandoned manufacturing in Britain and began making most of its clothes in China. It lost its gloss, being seen as frumpy and old-fashioned.

In 2003, it was bought by British Fashion Council Chair Harold Tillman, who had some success in winning back customers by injecting more style into the clothes.

He returned Jaeger to London Fashion Week and in 2004 brought in Belinda Earl, the highly-respected former Debenhams boss, as chief executive. Jaeger was reinvented as fashionable rather than fusty by focusing on beautiful fabrics.

In 2008, when sales topped £80 million, Jaeger held its first show at London Fashion Week and Kate Moss wore its star-print blouse.

Kate Middleton wore a yellow Jaegar dress on a visit to the Solomon Islands in 2012 and a white dress at the National Maritime Museum in 2014.

Jaeger almost went bust — twice — in 2011 and 2017. Better Capital, headed up by private equity baron Jon Moulton, acquired the brand for £19.5million in 2012, but the firm struggled under difficult conditions for high-street fashion retailers.

It was bought by billionaire Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group in May 2017.

It ran 76 stores and concessions and employed 347 staff when it went into administration in November last year.


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