The inspiration was the English countryside — horses, hounds and rich grandmas with lavish, moth-eaten wardrobes and glittery boxes of jewels. Mulberry’s thinking could not have been more of the moment as 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the heirloom. There’s the upcoming show at Chatsworth that will showcase 500 years of the Devonshire family’s fashion, textiles and jewels, while a major display of Princess Diana’s dresses is set to open at Kensington Palace, marking 20 years since the royal’s death.
Although Mulberry’s thinking was of-the-moment, the collection proved tricky. Highlights included a series of classy crochet dresses with contrasting collars, in feisty combinations such as mauve and mustard, burgundy and green, caramel and aqua, and a lineup of flat-front pleated skirts that swooshed as models walked.
Creative director Johnny Coca said he was thinking of a young woman wandering the halls and rummaging through the closets of the family’s stately home, adapting her grandmother’s wardrobe to suit her modern life. At times, though, it failed to work. The oversized quilted ponchos, inspired by horse blankets, were unwieldy, as were the check suits and big coats that swallowed models’ slim figures.
Bags and accessories — a mainstay of the business — were the true Mulberry family jewels.
Chunky, strappy shoes and high-heeled loafers were adorned with kilt pins, chains and jewels, while patent over-the-knee boots came in snazzy brights such as aqua. There were saddle bags galore, some with accordion pleats at the side, and others done in quilted leather with contrasting stripes. Circular bags inspired by hat boxes came with braided silk straps, while faux croc ones were adorned with painted mother-of-pearl medallions, inspired by ancestral portraits.