After a few low-key seasons in New York, Mulberry summoned up an awful lot of expensive star power and staging for its return to London. The theme here appropriately tapped deep into the well of Englishness, a darling but darkly humored brand of it in the vein of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox.
After the show, creative director Emma Hill described a familiar-sounding muse: "She's very English. She's got a dilapidated, stately home. She's got her long party dress on and she throws on a duffel coat." And hopefully she remembers to take her handbag. After all, this may walk and quack like other runway shows, but the real stars (along with Kirsten Dunst, Clémence Poésy, Gemma Arterton, and Nicholas Hoult, all squeezed into the tight space at Claridge's) are those new Alexas, now oversized with diamond quilting and fox-head hardware, and Bayswaters, in ponyskin and covered with tiny fox-head rivets. Also new: the revival of the beloved but discontinued Neely called Polly Push Lock, and a natty little cross-body chain bag called the Carter.
As for the clothes, the fresh-scrubbed, boxy sixties and maxi-skirted seventies looks focused heavily on outerwear, a piece of clothing that hews most closely to accessories when it comes to buying habits. Among the winners: the toggled shearling that opened the show, a long buttery-looking bomber, and a silvery gray rabbit-fur car coat.
Hill's take on Mulberry's ready-to-wear business is simply to make very appealing clothes. "It's not necessarily making a statement," she said. Fair enough, but given that, a more tightly edited selection than the 37 looks shown today might have had a bit more impact.