Mary Queen of Strops

Why is Mary Portas mooching around London with a face like a smacked backside? Watching her show Mary Queen of Frocks last night, I was disgusted by her stampy-footed demeanour – this is a grown woman who has been handed everything she ever wanted on a silver plate yet continues to throw her dummy out of the pram whenever she doesn’t get her own way.

House of Fraser have taken a risk on an unproven retailer and have given her a massive department in their Oxford street flagship store for free, yet Mary pouts like a kid outside a sweet shop when they refuse to let her sell dildos in a family store. International fashion designer Antonio Berardi is creating her every whim in fabric, again for free, and Mary throws the strop of the century when House of Fraser want a few of their own designers’ clothing which she has approved in her store – sorry, their store.

And to top it all of, the moody madam doesn’t want to be associated with the brand at all. Mary doesn’t want her face on any of the advertising, yet the store is called ‘Mary’ and her mannequins are Portas-a-likes with bright orange bobs. The woman has used her ‘celebrity’ to get the whole project done, and I don’t believe for a second that she didn’t realise that House of Fraser would quite rightly want to use her face to sell the stock and attract the customers, when they have invested £3million in the project. Yet tantrums galore ensue and I turned off the TV with a look fo disdain on my face. Where have I seen that look before Mary..?

Here’s what Mary Portas discussed in the Channel 4 chat interview following the show:

Question: Why did you allow your face to be used in the marketing campaign when you were so against it?

Mary Portas: Because whilst I own my business and I lead my business in fashion and in my agency, I still believe in the democratic opinion of my people, and I was simply outvoted. I don’t like it but it was used just the once, on the escalators – the rest were all my campaign. With business and partnerships there’s always an element of compromise. People think I bulldoze but I don’t, I really do listen.

Question: Why didn’t you open a shop of your own rather than use House of Fraser to launch your store?

Mary Portas: I will open a shop of my own, for sure, but I had a tight timescale to create this – I only had nine months, which was the filming schedule, and I would not have been able to achieve that and get the infrastructure together in my own shop. I also wouldn’t have been able to create the depth of the collection on my own. I looked at it every which way but this was the best solution. But I WILL do one on my own!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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