Mulberry’s launch in 1971 coincided with a period of freedom, emancipation and rebellion, which sparked a revolution in British style. Today, Mulberry takes its inspiration not only from the aesthetic of that era but the mood too: a palpable Sixties rhythm of optimism, positivity and energy beats through the whole S/S’19 collection.
It’s hard to think of a luxury brand more British than Mulberry. The company name and logo were based upon the mulberry trees that founder Roger Saul passed on his way to school in rural Somerset, while early designs were inspired by traditional country pursuits of hunting, shooting and fishing. So far, so traditional – except that Mulberry has always put an innovative, often witty spin on everything it does. This, after all, was the company that created an elegant leather satchel and called it the Trout, which went on to become a modern classic.
A somewhat rebellious approach is still very much part of the Mulberry ethos.
Creative Director since 2017, Johnny Coca says his intention is to ‘play with the classic, twist the conventional, use the familiar to make something inspiring and new’. Recent key launches include the Leighton, a new shape with a modern slouch, the Harlow, a more structured design with a double V flap and the Hampstead, a relaxed bucket style with a top handle and cross-body strap. All three are adorned with a take on Mulberry’s signature Rider’s Lock, reminiscent of a horse bit and bridle and a tribute to those early designs.
The multiple facets of Mulberry’s DNA come together in beautiful synergy at its new Regent Street flagship. Created by interior designer Faye Toogood in collaboration with Coca, the store combines brutalist, rural and heritage elements that capture the essence of Mulberry’s point of view, creating a tactile universe in which the brand can be rediscovered. ‘The store concept plays upon Mulberry’s heritage-brand status by paying tribute to the raw power of the British landscape in all its many forms,’ says Toogood. Coca adds, ‘I wanted the new Mulberry stores to be immersive environments with the feel of a home, a place to go and explore the modern British identity of the brand. Faye Toogood is an inspiring woman, a creative force and a bold mind. Together, we are redefining this essential part of our visual vocabulary and building a new chapter for the brand.’
Yet this won’t be a case of change for change’s sake and the brand’s integrity will be upheld with care. ‘I want to push the boundaries, but also respect the values and DNA at the core of the brand,’ says Johnny Coca. ‘I want to reinforce the British character and sensibility of Mulberry. It’s quite humbling – to be trusted with this brand that people love and feel is very much a part of them and their lives.’
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