With London Fashion Week in full swing, all eyes were on iconic British handbag and accessory brand Mulberry. Not least because the brands’ newish creative director Johnny Coca seems to be finding his footing – the show sent a clear message that there’s more to Mulberry than handbags.
Charged with redefining Mulberry – the brand has spent a few seasons floundering in the wilderness – this presents something of a challenge for Coca who is first and foremost a handbag designer. His first job was at Luis Vuitton and before helming Mulberry he worked with Phoebe Philo at Celine.
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But the experts say 41-year-old Coca has the chops to pull it off. “Johnny brings savoir faire to Mulberry. He’s very impressive when he talks about his craft. There’s no convoluted waffle. He knows a lot about leather,” said Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor of the London Telegraph.
For his third collection the designer who is actually Spanish, channelled Britain’s heritage to unveil an equestrian and hunting esque range that looked like it came straight out of the English countryside (yes, there was plenty of tweed). Floral wallpaper, game animals and heirloom jewellery also provided inspiration. “It’s about making something traditional feel new. How to take all these different ingredients and make a new recipe,” said Coca.
While not all pieces promise to be everyone’s, well, cup of tea, there was a definitely a new direction. Not to mention different options. The check suiting and pussybow blouses were a nod to the Iron Lady, but then there were slinky evening dresses and bold vintage style floral print dresses (tiered and dramatic in some cases). Or for the more practical there was silk shirting and suede culottes in an autumnal palette of rust, oxblood, tan and garden green. Watch this space.
ACCESSORY ALERT Today’s It bags are out to become heirlooms of the future. Mulberry’s signature handbags also had an antique feel for the coming season thanks to quilting, bijoux charms, knotted silk foulards and dressage rosette tags.
A-LIST FROW It girls Olivia Palermo, Anais Gallagher and model/actress Anya Taylor-Joy were front and centre.