#SuzyLFW: Mulberry - Tapping Into Its Past

This could not be a better moment to look at "Britishness" and what it stands for in a post-Brexit era.

Will threads of the past - from monarchy to football - hold together as links to European countries are broken? Can the UK stay multicultural when the shutters come down on open access across borders?

ADVERTISEMENT
748b4c126e.jpg

5b699945cf.jpg

Indigital

At Mulberry, creative director Johnny Coca promised a forensic look at the largest manufacturer of leather goods in the United Kingdom. On a more esoteric level, his idea was to examine the heritage and craft that comes from the company's soul.

Coca did indeed look back to the beginning, the actual birth of Mulberry in the Seventies. That inspired checkered jackets as worn in rural communities and taken up by Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties. Perhaps some hunting and shooting shops still sell these kind of clothes, but they are right off the everyday list.

ADVERTISEMENT
tiny.gif

fc45c0aa04.jpg

Indigital

Then the designer stretched further still to "the history and culture of Great Britain at the heart of Mulberry's identity" based on "le style Anglais" or English style.

"It's about making something traditional feel new," says Coca. "Taking these archetypal British styles and making them feel right for today."

ADVERTISEMENT
tiny.gif

730f90f426.jpg

Indigital

The process started with the choice of venue - the Old Billingsgate fish market beside the River Thames. But the show notes alluded to a less ordinary place - rather the British aristocracy in their stately homes. No matter that one of the biggest current outcries in England is the lack of homes and the controversy about pushing into green spaces.

tiny.gif

2e3a92ba37.jpg

Indigital

Nothing at this Mulberry show seemed to make sense - except for the good-looking bags, perhaps circular with a braid for a shoulder strap. All the bags had this rounded, purposeful look which chimed with the modern woman who wants style but enough room for substantial pieces.

Shoes and boots also looked modern and streamlined, without too many country house ideas, except for socks that looked like they had been made with hay.

The puzzle was why the Mulberry accessories fitted perfectly into the modern world, while the oversized clothes looked alternatively severe or weird. A checked pinafore dress with embroidery at the mid-calf hem was understandable - if not convincing. A cover-up padded like an eiderdown was baffling.

tiny.gif

29e5311a3a.jpg

Indigital

ADVERTISEMENT

Then I noticed that the stylist for the show was Lotta Volkova, the image creator at Vetements, hot fashion house of the moment. That could be why a stylish big brown sweater and corduroy trousers reached elephantine proportions. And why a square cut suit worn by a model holding a handbag with a horsewhip-like strap, looked urban rather than country.

Whatever the reason, the Mulberry clothes were an unlikely a fit for Autumn/Winter 2017 as the accessories were the perfect one.

Vogue

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks