“Seriously, I think my father is shining down on me today,” said Emma Hill, who presented the fall collection of her accessories label Hill & Friends on a sun-filled rooftop terrace at London’s Hotel Café Royal.
She wanted to communicate the optimism that is associated with her label — known for its signature smiley-engraved hardware — by creating an atmosphere where guests could sit back and relax.
“The ‘Friends’ part of the brand really is meaningful to us and I want people to come and have a nice experience; you can eat a pie, have a cocktail and smoke a rainbow-colored cigarette,” said Hill, pointing to all the treats she was serving.
The fall collection embraced the same joyful spirit. The focus remained on brand signatures such as mini cross body bags and oversize totes, which were reworked in a palette of rich, autumnal hues such as burgundy, navy, forest green and an iridescent emerald shade created using treated suede.
A series of new styles was also introduced, such as a sophisticated tote with braided straps and an everyday satchel, which came packed with functional front pockets and a range of playful leopard-print shades.
Hill has always been drawn to leopard print and for fall she mixed a combination of calf and smooth leather on the handbags, which was executed so well one could barely spot a difference between the two materials.
“The calf has been in the making for at least two seasons but we weren’t always able to get it right. I tortured the workers at the tannery until it was perfect, but now it’s ours and we’ve patented the material. Calf is fragile and at a higher price point, so it’s nice to be able to mix different types of leather,” Hill added.
Other highlights included details such as the addition of leather appliqués shaped like mouse ears on the smiley-engraved padlocks and a neon pink smiley face print, which was applied on a classic, roomy burgundy tote.
As the brand, which is now in its fourth season, is starting to establish its signatures, Hill and the label’s cofounder Georgia Fendley said they are considering opening a store. They will also hold sales appointments during Paris Fashion Week for the first time in order to explore opportunities in new markets and connect with the international cluster of buyers the French capital draws.