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Marks & Spencer design new Royal Opera House staff uniforms

UK retailer produces attire influenced by Royal Opera House architecture.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

1 February 2012 at 6.02pm | 3 Comments

Marks & Spencer is to design and supply all staff uniforms for the Royal Opera House. This will include outfits for ushers, security, box office and restaurant employees.

From Wednesday 1 February, the retailer is the official uniform partner of the Royal Opera House and has produced a collection of attire including scarves, blouses, pashminas, shirts and ties as well as suits for both male and female staff.

The look for the uniforms was inspired by the Royal Opera House’s architecture and unique surroundings - in particular the glass and iron Paul Hamlyn Hall.

The female uniform includes four different blouses in a colour palette of silver, red and black. Female employees can also look forward to wearing a classic, elegantly tailored suit. Male employees will be wearing a two-piece suit with a crisp white or grey shirt and a specially designed tie. The collection also features woollen overcoats for men and women, a scarf with an embroidered Royal Opera House logo and a pashmina decorated with an abstract design. There are also T-shirts for less formal occasions.

Deborah Bull, Creative Director of the Royal Opera House said: "The M&S designers have produced a beautiful wardrobe for our staff that is stylish yet understated, classic yet contemporary: it reflects perfectly the heritage and identity of the Royal Opera House and our ambition to offer a warm welcome to everyone.’’

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

1 February 2012 at 6.02pm

This article has been categorised Uncategorised and tagged fashion, Marks & Spencer, uniform

This article has 3 comments

  1. Sal G responded on 2 February 2012 at 4:11pm Reply

    The ROH staff (the ushers in particular) have always been easy to identify on account of their 'burgundy' uniforms.

    It's not exactly clear if these are to be replaced by the darker colours shown but if that's the case then (going by the pictures above) anyone dressed 'smart casual' and not holding a drink in their hand is going to look like a potential ROH staff member.

    Would you be able to identify the girl in image 3 as being ROH staff in a typical ROH crowd such as queuing for coats or interval drinks? Or how about standing still at the back of a dark auditorium? Name badges aren't exactly going to help in those situations.

    Cue lot's of:
    "excuse me do you work here?"
    "Can I have a cast sheet please.... oh sorry I thought you were staff"

    Suppose during a performance with the house lights down you're feeling unwell, lost your purse or someone is using their mobile and distracting everyone else, with the current uniforms it's easy to do a quick scan and see if there's a (burgundy) usher nearby and possibly wait until one is within 'silent signalling' distance, thus causing minimal distraction to the people around you. That won't be so easy with these new 'stealth uniforms'.

    This may all sound finicky but has anyone actually thought this through practically? ..... I've got sharp eyes but what about the significant proportion of any ROH audience which is of 'advanced years' and may not have 20/20 vision and the 'Sherlock Holmes' high speed deductive skills needed to positively identify these new uniforms from across a room?

    Just my 2 cents.

    Oh and I think the T-shirt looks a bit naff too, and very 90's (sorry!)

  2. Lucia Filimon responded on 2 February 2012 at 5:41pm Reply

    I am furious that my Friends contribution is spent on a pointless new uniform when the current ones are just fine.
    On top of that M&S lacks understanding of what is opera all about. They have created uniforms fit for office workers and bank cashiers, not for an opera company. In short, boring.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 3 February 2012 at 2:43pm

      Thanks for your comments.
      Lucia, if I may address your comment about the Friends contribution, M&S have provided the outfits as part of a significant three year partnership with the Royal Opera House. We hugely value the support of the Friends but the money from the Friends has not gone towards new uniforms for our staff.

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