Marks & Spencer has poached Victoria’s Secret chief creative officer Janie Schaffer to join in early 2013 as director of lingerie and beauty. Who is she and why is she dubbed “The Knicker Queen”?

Schaffer, a Brit, has been dubbed “The Knicker Queen” as she was one half of the duo which launched lingerie chain Knickerbox in 1986.

It will be a return for Schaffer to Marks & Spencer as she originally joined the department store chain in 1984 as a buyer.

In 1986, aged 24, she teamed up with colleague Stephen Schaffer, who she later married, to launch Knickerbox. It was reported that the pair launched the chain with £75,000 that they got from remortgaging their flats.

Just two years after the launch, the business was recording annual profits of £6m.

Knickerbox grew to a 150-store nationwide chain but in 1996 plunged into the red and the duo sold the business. Lingerie and sex toys chain Ann Summers subsequently bought the business out of receivership in 2000.

For the last five years Schaffer has been at US lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret. She is responsible for all clothing, lingerie and beauty products.