September 16, 2008
"What is Mulberry as a brand?" mused Emma Hill, the new creative director at the burgeoning British leather-goods company. "I think we're warm and fuzzy. Not standoffish. A bit of a national treasure." Hill is a valuable property in the handbag world, having worked for Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Gap, and (last season) Halston, and now she's bringing all those American smarts back home to her native England. Her first move was to put on a series of showroom presentations to introduce the Summer collection for women and men, or, as she put it, "a girlfriend and boyfriend." On the girls' side, she kept everything short and cute, with full-skirted beige dresses paired with shrunken leather jackets, lemon or orange shifts with details like "binocular pouch" pockets, and stack-heeled loafers and gladiators. But this is essentially a handbag house, and Mulberry is now building handbag "family" groups, playing with scale and new finishes to leverage the success of the Bayswater and other house hits. New on the block are a chestnut Mitzy hobo, a giant jelly tote, and hottest of the lot, a generously sized day Bayswater clutch, which solves the problem of transporting the daily burden without ruining your shoulder line with a strap.