I know what you want to wear: John Lewis’s new head of design Queralt Ferrer is turning the iconic store into a one-stop shop for a sustainable new wardrobe
- Queralt Ferrer is the new head of design for department store John Lewis
- The 50-year-old stylist is in charge of ready-to-wear for women, men & children
- Her task is to build John Lewis’s own label into a ‘more significant player in fashion’, not a space that the brand has been associated with
Queralt Ferrer has stopped counting the time in her new position at John Lewis in days or even weeks. ‘I started seven months ago,’ she declares. ‘But it’s gone by so fast!’ That’s a good sign because the 50-year-old is clearly enjoying life as the store’s new director of design, in charge of ready-to-wear for women, men and children.
It’s a job that should see her reshaping perceptions of this great British icon, taking it from ‘a bit on the safe side’ to essential for a fashionable wardrobe.
However much of a fashion hound you are, it’s likely you’ve not heard of Ferrer before. But for decades this petite Spaniard has been quietly shaping what women are wearing, understanding what they want and becoming a stalwart of the high-street fashion arena. It was Ferrer who, aged just 23 and still living in Barcelona, founded womenswear at Massimo Dutti, having started there as an assistant menswear designer. She remained at the helm for 17 years. Then in 2013 she moved to London and to Marks & Spencer, where she first headed up its Autograph collection before being promoted to design director for womenswear and lingerie.
Queralt Ferrer (pictured) is the new head of design for department store John Lewis. The 50-year-old stylist is in charge of ready-to-wear for women, men & children
She left there in 2018, when she and her family – she has two daughters and a son, aged from 12 to 17 – moved to Amsterdam for her husband’s work.
Last September, however, soon after the family moved back to the UK, she got the call from John Lewis. It was as if she had manifested it: the dream role she’d wanted. ‘John Lewis inspires because of its heritage and uniqueness. I thought, “I’d love to be part of this.”’
Her task is to build John Lewis’s own label into a ‘more significant player in fashion’, not a space that the brand has been associated with.
What convinced her to take on the challenge? ‘I could see the opportunity. It’s how fashion is evolving – people are looking for trusted brands that care for you, for the environment, for the world. And I thought John Lewis was the perfect fit to do something compelling. I understand the British customer and I have a global mindset. John Lewis is a label we want to be proud of, that the British are proud of, so it’s important to have amazing products as well.’
Just how fashion should a store be when it’s the same place you go to buy kitchen utensils or a sofa? Ferrer is about ‘bringing design and style back into the business. It’s about creating a unique look that is relevant, not fashion for crazy forward people. I’m here to create a perfect stylish wardrobe that you can layer season after season rather than new, new, new, then throw it away.’
Ferrer is also ‘passionate about versatility. So you can get a dress to wear with sandals in summer, then in winter you can team it with boots, a blazer and a coat.’
Although Ferrer’s been quietly introducing her vision through additions to the Anyday range, this season’s collection sees her at full throttle. And there are great pieces that will instantly pull a wardrobe together, whatever your age. These include the perfect cashmere-blend coat that could rival one from a luxury brand, easy knits from pullovers and jumpers to a Breton-striped collared top, and wide-legged jeans and elegant waist banded silk pants.
And, of course, there’s some excellent tailoring, too (remember her menswear background), with trouser suits and blazers. All in a palette of neutrals accented with options of deep-water green, aqua blue and sherbet pink.
Sounds like a welcome distraction for next time you’re out shopping for a new fridge freezer, doesn’t it?
- See our edit of the new John Lewis collection at mailplus.co.uk/you
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