Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

April 2nd, 2014

Behind the scenes of Marks & Spencer SS14 Leading Ladies campaign


This post is sponsored by Marks & Spencer.

So excited to finally reveal this (it was a hard one to keep quiet)! A week before Christmas last year I got to take part in the Leading Ladies SS14 shoot for Marks & Spencer. Now, this was no ordinary shoot. The legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz was shooting it, and the other leading ladies consisted of none other than Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson, Rita Ora, Lulu Kennedy, Baroness Lawrence, Alek Wek, and Roma Agrawal.


On the first day it was an early start, heading out to a remote location of the perfect English countryside in the Cotswolds. I was a bit starstruck when I arrived, and was immediately greeted with a hug from Annie Leibovitz. I was then shuttled off to my trailer for a cup of tea before heading to hair and makeup.


Hair and makeup action

You wouldn’t have thought that there were ‘leading ladies’ in the room, with everyone chatting away with such casual ease (Emma asked whether she could come to lunch at the Little Paris Kitchen in impeccable French). The first shoot was quite nerve wracking. I’m fine when I’m cooking, but I’m no super model. I watched in awe how Alek Wek could make all these amazing shapes with her body – where as I already have plenty of ‘shape’ so I didn’t need to make any 😉

We were literally blown away in one of the shots, with the winds blowing at gale force. It certainly gave the hairstylist a lot of work. It also then started to rain but luckily Annie was quick to get the shot.



The following day it was another early start at the beautiful but very cold beach, Camber Sands.


Fortunately there were plenty of turbo heaters blasting warmth our way. It was definitely needed! Especially for the shot where I was standing in a muddy puddle in sandals. Definitely not what I call glamorous!

pretty pastels

The last day was spent having a cup of tea and a chat about style and inspiration.


And here’s a little chat with me!


It was all a bit of a surreal experience, and at the same time utterly amazing to be part of a campaign that includes successful strong women from all different walks of life. You can read more about the campaign here and view the collection, too.

GIVEAWAY: After browsing the latest M&S campaign images, you might be itching for a shopping spree. Thanks to the team at Marks & Spencer, I have two x £200 gift vouchers to give away to two lucky readers of my blog.

For your chance to win, leave a comment here on my blog (bonus points if you spread the word via your own blog, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook – include the hashtag #rachelkhoomarksandspencer!). I’ll be drawing a winner on Friday April 11, so you have until Thursday April 10 to enter. Good luck!

Fine print: this giveaway is open to readers based in the UK (or you’re most welcome to enter from other destinations, if you have a friend/family member based in the UK who can receive the prize at their address). Any queries, send me an email :). The gift cards will be available to use in all of M&S stores and across all areas of the business, not just womenswear.

A petite disclaimer: Please note that this is a sponsored post (and thanks to M&S for the professional images), however these opinions in this blog post are my own.

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77 thoughts on “Behind the scenes of Marks & Spencer SS14 Leading Ladies campaign

  1. Lovely to see the behind the scenes photos and an inspiring group of women. I really like how the clothes really suit you and your usual style Rachel 🙂 There is something for all women to covert in this collection – well done M&S!

  2. Hi Rachel,

    Absolutely stunning photographs and the clothes look gorgeous too! I’ll be sure to have a look at the new range 🙂

    You must have had such a great time with all of the girls!!



  3. Wow, great pics. What a great way to spend a couple of days with such inspiring women (and being one yourself)
    Love the cookbooks, little Paris kitchen, and the blog.
    fingers crossed for more fabulous M&S fashion.

  4. Love the quality of the photos from Annie and the relaxed vibes in the videos despite all being leading ladies!

  5. Hi Rachel

    I loved their previous campaign – and this one is made even better with the addition of you and Emma Thompson! Two of my favourites. Your red lipstick is stunning. Bravo for braving the British elements to get such spectacular results.


  6. Hi Rachel

    I loved their previous campaign with Tracey Emin et al – and this one is made even better with the addition of you and Emma Thompson! Two of my favourites. Your red lipstick is stunning. Bravo for braving the British elements to get such spectacular results.


  7. It must have been tough for you to keep this to yourself for so long!

    Love all the photos and your interview – I admire your bright, bold and real London style and am obsessed with your blog, show and books.

    You were definitely a great choice for the Leading Ladies campaign!

  8. The photos are so lovely! I always admire your bold lipstick – you inspired me to buy a perfect shade of red/pink lipstick but I can’t make myself to wear it (perhaps it will change soon:)
    Greetings from Poland! (I love your new show!!!!)

  9. You are a true leading lady for me, your amazing sense of style struck me since the little paris kitchen series. You definitely rock a good dress/ skirt combo! I’m so thrilled that you were able to take part in something you are also really passionate about. Hats off to M&S for choosing some really inspirational women.

    I also had the pleasure of meeting you at Leith’s school for you Tour de France cooking course in January which was a fantastic day- and as I expected, you looked very glamorous then too! #rachelkhoomarksandspencer

    Lydia x

  10. Love the energy in these pictures and sooo nice to see real women of all shapes and heights (!) for a change. Looking forward to more LPK soon!

  11. I love this campaign! I love that they’ve used inspirational leading women rather than the usual models, it gives the next generation some real women to look up to. The garden party is definitely my favourite, love that bold zigzag. I can’t wait to have a look at Marks & Spencers new range. Congratulations Rachel for being involved in such a wonderful campaign.

  12. This was so interesting. You look great, but what’s so special about this campaign is to see such successful women in all fields and to see different ethnicities and body types. I think the collection looks really pretty.

  13. I saw this post right on time! I work in remote areas of Africa and rarely get the occasion to dress up; and suddenly I get summoned to a Very Important Meeting in Washington, DC… Was completely stressed out, and then I saw this post, and it dawned on me: I, too, can be a leading lady! Loving the campaign; it is so inspiring to see how all these women get to express their unique style and class via clothes. Cross your fingers for me tomorrow, I am wearing my Salvation Army finest! 🙂

  14. Love this shoot and concept – excellent choices in women! More real bodies (and real women) in fashion, I say!

  15. I have always loved watching your show on Telly besides i do adore your classy and chic style sense …. the M&S campaign shoot looks like fun and must have been a joy with all those people and the lovely clothes …. Love the pics that show strong confident women at their best with gorgeous , perfect and real life shots <3

  16. I’ve been tweeting about this campaign for a while now- I just love that M&S are using real inspirational women who aren’t necessarily JUST models and JUST beautiful.

    I’ve also been posting on my blog about M&S’s new collection, including the cute black prom dress you wore in one of the shoots! check it out


  17. Yes please!! LOVE the outfits you’re wearing and really love the campaign.

    So wonderful to see such inspirational and multi-dimensional women from all walks of life starring as the ‘Leading Ladies’. Well done to M&S.

  18. What gorgeous photographs. You always look so elegant! Would love to win the M&S vouchers to share with my mum!

  19. Love these photos, reminds me of our beach here in Portstewart but a bit more glam! Lovely to see a group of successful ladies from different career paths in a phootshoot together. Good work M&S!

  20. I think this is a wonderful campaign and I love the behind the scenes video. It completely humanises people that I’ve a little bit in awe of.

  21. It was really interesting to see what goes on behind the scene’s, we (the great public) always assume it must be a easy number, just have you make-up put on dress in nice clothes, and all this done in luxury, then just stand there and smile.

    My Daddy used to say “Everybody’s job is easy until you sit in the chair” just showns how wrong you can be.

  22. hi rachel, so interested in this campaign it looks very worthwhile. having to type with one finger as i had an op on my shoulder yesterday! lovely to see so many inspiring ladies. looking forward to hearing more about the new book. best wishes, terry xxx

  23. The Little Paris Kitchen was enchanting, I hope we get another TV series in the U.K. soon. You have the best style sense, original, artistic, always perfect – how do you manage it?

  24. I love you in that White outfit – so on trend, urban with a radical edge (I bet they’ve sold out already). Please pick me – I was 50 in March and I am determined to have a new look, especially if it includes clothes from the Autograph and Limited Collection at M&S 🙂

  25. What a fun time, making new friends and then spending time getting to know each other. These days look like every girl’s dream, dressing up, having hair and makeup done, eating together. I live in Australia, but I have a lovely friend who lives in Portsmouth. She is getting ready for her son’s wedding so the gift card would be perfect for her.

  26. You’re such an inspiration and I’ve always followed your amazing journey it’s SOO great to see you on the M&S leading ladies ad you deserve it! Please keep doing what your doing and I hope to follow your footsteps too. Love you! x

  27. Great shots – the locations chosen were indeed special. Love Camber Sand. It’s such a beautiful part of England. And the Cotswolds as well. Wearing something you like and which is also comfort is very empowering. I love when I have the look that makes me feel comfortable and pretty. Be it jeans a nice shirt. I feel that I can conquer it all – well, nearly. My stride certainly changes. M&S has some really lovely pieces for all sorts of occasions. Right now I have a few on my list.

  28. Hi Rachel,

    Love the photos; you look stunning as always.

    Great to see behind the scenes too.

    Hope to see you back on the TV soon and would be great if you did some more book signings throughout the UK.

    Kind regards,

  29. Hello,

    What a great set of images for the campaign, M&S always work that much harder! I must drop in there sometime soon, and check out their latest range. Great to see you there too, and I love the dress you are modelling in the Morris shoot, really pretty! I might pick one up to use on one of my own shoots. Hope to see you on TV soon.


  30. Hi Rachel
    I’ve always respected M&S for using a mixture of ‘real’ women to advertise their products. As a vertically challenged,’shapely’ lady, I find it tricky to dress without looking like an oompa loompa! So campaigns like these re-assure me that there are gorgeous pieces for everyone! Plus the gorgeous images by the fab Annie!! Good work Rachel you held your own within a group of fantastic women!
    Nadine X

  31. oooh!! I’d love a little M&S gift card! Great job on the photo shoot, Rachel! You looked absolutely darling 🙂 x

  32. Great M&S campaign, good to see ‘real’ women but also great role models.

    Would be happy to send in a photo of me in new M&S clothing and share on my social media,if I won 🙂

  33. Looking forward to shopping the collection once I’m out of maternity clothing and to be a leading lady in my child’s life.

    I’m so excited to welcome someone into the world where there are so many opportunities and many wonderful things to discover. We are very lucky as women that we are able to achieve and inspire others. A great campaign with great role models.

  34. I love the ethereal photos, looks so beautiful. Wish i can go on a day trip out to the countryside now with some tea and cake 🙂

  35. Cambersands is my favourite beach! Love this campaign so much and M&S have really been on the up recently. They’re really good at choosing a diverse bunch.

  36. It’s such a pleasure to see leading ladies that I admire for an M&S campaign. M&S to me means classic, humble beauty with delicious food as an after treat! You just can’t beat M&S food to cheer you. Seeing you, Rachel was the cherry on top. I’ve admired you ever since you first appeared on tv. You’re a role model to me, and I love M&S!!! I’m creative, intelligent, beautiful and love to bake and cook- just like you. I’m even moving to France as an au pair!

    WELL DONE RACHEL. Always beautiful.

  37. What an amazing looking day with such a fabulous group of women. The clothes look quirky, bold yet super feminine. Perfect for your style!

  38. Lovely photos, what a great location!

    You all looked like you were having a great time.

    Also brilliant to see Emma Thompson in the campaign – I met her once at a charity event I was working at and she treated everyone with kindness and respect and had such a great sense of humour.

    Can’t wait for your next TV show by the way 🙂

  39. Loving M&S at the moment – the Limited and Collection ranges are really hitting the spot. Looking gorgeous in the campaign Rachel!

  40. Thanks for sharing ‘behind the scenes’ photo-shoot impressions Rachel. The scenery is gorgeous and all of you are wonderful and inspirational.
    I saw the first jumbo poster on the way home from work yesterday and I had to stop and have a better look – not something I’d usually do.
    Btw, I love your cooking and have used many of your tips from the TV show.
    More of that please.

  41. What a gorgeous shoot! You & Emma Thompson are my icons – so amazing to see you both as leading ladies – I’m kind of jealous of you both that you each got to spend the day with each other! Love M&S too – their stuff’s so comfy and hard-wearing as well as stylish!
    Rebecca 🙂

  42. I am not even in the UK anymore, but gosh you lovely ladies make me want to come back and enjoy M&S goodies. You do yourselves, Britain and M&S very proud. Can’t wait to come back for a sarnie and Homemade M and S lemonade :)) keep posting the fab Instagram pics. Am on countdown til the M&S automatic doors open, 9 days and counting!

  43. Rachel Khoo, you are my style/chef icon! If I could have the clothes you wear in this shoot it would be just fantastic. And all the other clothes. And that car..

  44. AMAZING! What an extraordinary opportunity for you. The shoot is totally lush but what do you expect – ANNIE Freaken LEIBOVITZ!

  45. Have been a fan of both your food and your wardrobe, and I think it’s wonderful that you’re a part of this campaign. The photoshoot looks fab!

  46. I’ve only just spotted this on my RSS feed – I think I’m just in time (fingers crossed) Yes I’m Ireland based but there are addresses to be used and as I’ll be in the UK this summer – lots of opportunity to spend, spend, spend!
    As mentioned on twitter (@mswalsh) – it does look like it was loads of fun – I’m rather jealous!

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With over 30 delicious recipes, this e-cookbook showcases wonderful new ways to cook with cocoa. This is not just a dessert book; within you'll find a whole range of recipes for every occasion from a decadent chocolate tahini caramel torte, to a confit cocoa cod with lemony white chocolate sauce. These recipes are featured in Rachel Khoo's Chocolate TV show.

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