Marks & Spencer has replaced Twiggy with an all-star line-up of “Britain’s leading ladies” as it launches a new ad campaign designed to “celebrate women”.

Marks and Spencer has replaced Twiggy with an all-star line-up of “Britain’s leading ladies” as it launches a new ad campaign designed to “celebrate women”.

Shot by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, the new ad stars, among others, Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren and artist Tracey Emin.

The retailer said the new ad, which launches on September 3, signals a “reassertion of M&S’ leading quality and style credentials”.

Marks & Spencer marketing director Steven Sharp told The Sunday Times: “We want to be taken seriously at the moment. This is designed as modern portraiture.”

He added it was a “womanist campaign…designed to celebrate women. To whom clothes are presumably important”.

Joining Mirren and Emin are Vogue creative director Grace Coddington, the British Journal of Nursing’s 2011 nurse of the year Helen Allen, and Olympic boxer Nicola Adams, as Marks & Spencer aims to showcase “women from very diverse backgrounds and professions”.

Marks & Spencer will hope the new ad campaign can revitalise its fashion sales, which have been in decline for two years. The retailer last month launched its new autumn collection, the first to be designed by style director Belinda Earl.

“When we get things wrong it gets very much noticed,” said Sharp. “It’s a bit like being scolded by your parents, It’s ‘You must do better but I love you really’. That’s the attitude.”

He added: “We wanted to mark this moment with a confident statement about UK style. The British have a history of being creative and pioneering and these women represent just that. As industry leaders in their field, they make a significant difference that has seen them break boundaries, challenge stereotypes and create visionary artistic work. As the nation’s biggest retailer, we too have broken boundaries throughout our history and it’s this unique position in the marketplace that has enabled us to bring together this remarkable group of people.”

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Marks & Spencer’s executive director of marketing and business development, said: “We wanted this campaign to signal a new and confident tone of voice to introduce autumn. Annie was the perfect choice to shoot a campaign of this magnitude. Annie’s photography has become synonymous with defining key moments in the history of brands over the years and, as such, we feel that this campaign is the ideal way to illustrate M&S’s move into a new era.”

The all-star line up:

  • Nicola Adams            Olympic Gold winning boxer
  • Monica Ali                  Award-winning author
  • Helen Allen                Nurse of the Year 2011
  • Darcey Bussell          Retired principal ballerina at The Royal Ballet
  • Grace Coddington     Creative director of US Vogue
  • Karen Elson              Supermodel and singer
  • Tracey Emin              Artist and professor of drawing at the Royal Academy
  • Ellie Goulding            Multiplatinum global recording artist/Brit Award winning Singer/Songwriter
  • Helen Mirren              Multiple award-winning actress
  • Laura Mvula               Breakthrough singer/songwriter
  • Katie Piper                 Burns survivor, television presenter and charity campaigner.
  • Jasmine Whitbread    Chief executive of Save the Children International