Mulberry has released a short film sharing the thoughts of its new creative director Johnny Coca ahead of the brand’s relaunch during London Fashion Week this season.
“That was then, this is now”, as the company refers to it, sees Coca speaking about his inspirations and his focus for the new collection. He refers to “Britishness” as an attitude and something individual, saying that it’s about “tradition and how it’s mixed with modernity”.
He’ll be bringing that to his first collection, mixing rebellion with “a balance of femininity; poetic but strong”.
Structure of the garments and bags will be a big focus, drawn from his love of architecture, while colour will also play a part, heavily influenced by his obsession with red; something he says is probably because it’s very Spanish, but appropriately also very British. He also talks about his decision to restore an original 1970s logo he found in the brand archives.
There are multiple additional hints as to his thought process from the film – the bank of the Thames, food slopping on a plate, models walking up concrete steps of the Barbican, a gargoyle, heavy florals, a china teacup, piano keys, an orange (perhaps a Seville orange nodding to where he was born), cycling, a washing machine. “I’m inspired by things I see everyday,” he explains.
In a press statement, he adds: “I wanted 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 part of them and their lives. In my role as creative director I want to push the boundaries, but also respect the values and DNA at the core of Mulberry.”
Coca is part of a turnaround plan at Mulberry that has also seen a new CEO put in place, and a shift away from the brand’s original intention to move upscale. More bags have been introduced around the £500-£1,000 mark, while a big focus has been put on enabling digital sales. It returned to positive during H1 2015 (six months to September 2015), with pre-tax profit of £60,000, compared with a loss of £1.1m a year earlier.
Coca follows Emma Hill, who left the company in 2013. He was most recently head designer director for leather goods, accessories, shoes and jewelry at Céline. His vision for Mulberry has been entirely shrouded in secrecy until now.
The full reveal will take place during the show at 4pm GMT on Sunday February 21. Until then, Mulberry will also be revealing more via both Instagram and its new Snapchat channel. Follow along via @MulberryEngland and #MulberryEngland.