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74. Belinda Earl, style director, Marks & Spencer

Belinda Earl, Marks & Spencer

Position last year: 73

There is no doubt about it, Belinda Earl has a tough gig. Marks & Spencer’s clothing sales have been on the slide for some time, and Earl and her team have been trying to put a halt to this with solid collections that have been well received by the fashion press.

The £199 suede midi-skirt in its spring 15 collection achieved plenty of press attention and endorsements from celebrities including Olivia Palermo and Alexa Chung.The retailer reported a 1.2% increase in fashion sales for the 13 weeks to March 28 breaking a cycle of 14 consecutive quarters in decline.

Meanwhile, Earl said the autumn 15 range has “raised the bar”, and that the team has a “newfound confidence” following a turnaround in fashion sales in the fourth quarter. Indeed M&S put forward a comprehensive autumn collection with tailoring, boho inspired pieces, bold colours and cashmere across womenswear. Earl and new general merchandise director Steve Rowe (number 73) will need to sustain this performance.

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