Two large cartoon monsters and benches covered in rugs greeted the fashion world, (well, the ones lucky enough to secure a ticket), to what’s fast become ‘the hottest ticket in town’ for the A/W ’12 catwalk show of the quintessential British brand, Mulberry; one of the most highly prestigious show’s of the season.
Creative director, Emma Hill, took inspiration from the much-loved Children’s book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak, and Spike Jonze’s 2009 film adaptation. When I first discovered this, it struck me as rather un-mulberry. The mulberry girl, according to Hill, has a ‘playful edge and appreciates our mix of irreverence, fun, friendliness, warmth, familiarity and sometimes whimsical message.’ How would they mix the quaintness of the girl, and fierceness of the monster? This season was how.
As David Bowie’s ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’ filled Claridges’ Ballroom, the first girl emerged, and a huge sense of relief washed through me. The girl sported a large fur coat, with a texture similar to the monsters in Jonze’s film, but were cinched in at the waist – adding a touch of femininity to the look. Moreover, makeup was simple; the model’s cheeks were illuminated with a candy-pink blusher, as if they’d been flushed by the cold outside. The collection that followed was populated with dainty silks and lace, contrasted with woolen skirts and heavy fur coats – a wintery dream.
Using the amalgamation of such a range of fabrics and patterns has the possibility of looking mismatched, however this collection could not have been more cohesive; the way Hill tied thick leather, fur, silk skirts and lace bodices together presented ‘matching’ in a fresh, modern way. The long, chunky scarves used for layering also proved popular, with creative consultant Yasmin Sewell saying she ‘wanted to wrap up in it and fall asleep [in it] today.’ Layering included a long delicate lace skirt, an oversize knit, smothered in a chunky scarf – all cinched in with a thin belt: something present in all of Mulberry’s looks, adding femininity by highlighting the waist and creating a demure figure.
And then there are the bags… As with every season, mulberry introduces a new ‘family’, sometimes with an association to a famous face; this season, it’s all about Lana Del Rey. The new ‘Del Rey’ handbag, which comprises a large central zipped bowling bag marked with the signature gold postman’s lock – encompassing Lana’s taste for bling. Lana sported a relaxed look; a varsity jacket and jeans with a white ostrich skin ‘Del Rey’ hanging from her arm. The Alexa (named after Alexa Chung) was revamped for 2012 with colours and embellishment: one bright orange tweed version was paired with a full orange outfit, as well as Aztec beading on black, white and silver versions. Some new bags used a new technique for Mulberry – using heat to imprint the iconic Alexa pattern.
A mulberry bag has fast become one of the most classic, lusted over items in the fashion world, and with £70m turnover last year, its no wonder Hill is busy creating new exciting designs. From this season’s success, it seems that bags aren’t the only thing that will be flying off the shelves come September – layering heavy knits with thin, lace dresses looks set to be a new trend. But for me, Mulberry will always be about the British heritage leather bag. Last year was all about the Alexa, but now it’s time to covet the ‘Del Rey’: I’ll have one in Navy, please.
Olivia de Courcy.