With runway collections based on English stately homes and bestselling handbags named after London style stars, Mulberry must rank among the most British of fashion brands. On Thursday, designer Johnny Coca took the label’s Brit spirit on the road - or rather on the Eurostar - to present Mulberry’s spring-summer 2018 collection at Paris Fashion Week.
If you wondered why Coca and co. didn’t step out during London Fashion Week, the answer was that they were getting ready for a change. The next collection is set to be Mulberry’s first see-now, buy-now outing, which meant the brand had to take a little break from the LFW schedule to get on-season. The designs presented today will appear on the LFW runway in February and be available to buy immediately. ‘We want to please the customer and this is a different way to approach it,’ Coca said. ‘Let’s see.’
So what will Mulberry fans want to wear next spring? Newsflash: handbags. Coca has moved this season's hit Amberley satchel forward with a ruffled edge and new top handle. She's joined by Marloes, a softer satchel with a chain handle and choice of a ‘rider’s lock’ or pebble-shaped closure. Then there's the Lynton and the Lynton Mini, drawstring-top bucket bags - some of which come strewn with candy-like jewels, for playful daytime bling.
In clothes, there were more English archetypes. That meant Centre Court-green dresses strewn with more gems, plenty of seaside stripes and some crinkly-ruffled taffeta skirts. The design team took a deep dive into British porcelain, trawling antique stores and charity shops for intriguing pieces and using their found motifs on billow-sleeved Wedgwood dresses (and a sweet silk blouse or two).
But all eyes were on the accessories - namely the glove-like leather shoes perched on heels based on the shape of a round porcelain vessel, milliner Noel Stewart’s My Fair Lady-esque hats, and the earrings. This was ear candy to a whole new degree - beaded parrots, enameled leaves and jangly, surrealist faces included. ‘It is like you take the jewellery from your mother to play with it,’ Coca said. Clearly the statement earring isn't going anywhere.
Holding court in a final room of tiered, swishy, sequinned party dresses - fashion for the age of Boomerang - the designer said he had set out ‘to create some strong things that make me laugh…. and something young and fresh.’ As an English rose, no doubt.