M&S model takes a turn on the catwalk at the tender age of 86…eight decades after her first assignment

M&S model takes a turn on the catwalk at the tender age of 86…eight decades after her first assignment

A former model has taken to the catwalk for a unique show – 82 years after her first assignment.

Pauline Crystal posed for a show celebrating the fashions of high street chain Marks & Spencer – where she used to work – at the grand age of 86.

Back in 1930, aged just three, she modelled a pair of jodhpurs by sitting on a rocking horse, a job she only vaguely recalls but which set in motion a love of clothes and a lifetime of modelling.

 M&S

Pauline Crystal

Pauline Crystal models vintage M&S clothes to celebrate the launch of the High Street chain's archive in Leeds

M&S Vintage Inspired Outfits at University of Leeds

Reliving the past: Pauline has been a model for 80 years and is a former Marks & Spencer manager

Eight decades on and Mrs Crystal is still in demand as she showed off a variety of vintage M&S styles, bought by Leeds University fashion and design students from auction site eBay.

The event came ahead of the official opening of the M&S company archive at its new permanent home at the university.

Mrs Crystal, of Leeds, a former Marks & Spencer manager, found herself in a 1970s faux fur coat, a 1960s shift dress, a modern white men’s shirt and lace tights.

The coat, bought on eBay, cost the students 45 and the dress 35.

Over the years she has modelled bridal gear and department store fashions but is a newcomer to the world of retro.

'I prefer the tailored look,' said Mrs Crystal.

Crystal

Pauline with fashion and design students, Natsumi Losaby, Amber Maute, and Alice Law, modelling an outfit put together by them for the University of Leeds

'If it is simple, it is better. Young people can wear what they like and how they like. The fashion of today suits young people, which it should do.

'I am an M&S girl. The clothes are wonderful – I live in them.'

During her career as a manager with M&S she helped the firm choose what might sell well and also gave tips to up-and-coming models: 'My advice was hold your tummy in and push your bust out.'

She also revealed how her great grandfather, a market trader in Leeds, apparently turned down an offer from a fellow trader, one Mr Marks.

M&S Vintage Inspired Outfits at University of Leeds

During her career as a manager with
M&S, Pauline helped the firm choose what might sell well and also gave
tips to up-and-coming models

She said: 'My great grandfather, known as Sloman the Soap King, turned him down.

'He went into business with Spencer and the rest is history.

'We always have a little laugh when we walk past Marks & Spencer.'

M&S archivist Katharine Carter said the full archive, of around 70,000 objects, has now moved permanently from London to Leeds, the city where the company began.

It will open in March.

Ms Carter said: 'There are quite a few garments in the collection. Some have been donated by members of the public.

'We are always looking to add to the collection, which goes back to the 1920s.'