Flush with happy cartoon colors and flamboyant shapes, Johnny Coca’s spring collection for Mulberry expressed the kind of English eccentricity that belongs to daffy aristocrats cooped up in the manner too long with their finery. Clothes were through-the-looking-glass takes on granny’s closet: an Eighties blousy jacket cut in red leather over a full skirt; a green pantsuit cut in oversize proportions; a baby-doll party frock dotted with jeweled embroidery, and a poufy wrap dress in a Delft pottery print. On a trip to a friend’s country house, Coca was struck by the family’s collection of porcelain, kept through generations, and used its soft bright tones and patterns to color the collection, not just the clothes.
Shoes that felt like a stylishly awkward cousin to a ballet flat with ruffle and fur trim came with sculpted resin bulb heels made to look like porcelain. They toed the line between objet and shoe, as did the festive jewelry, including a necklace and earrings made out of bijoux shaped like a face, chandelier bird earrings and waterfalls of colored beads. “I wanted something colorful to break up the silhouette with movement,” Coca said of the jewelry. Everything was a statement piece, but nothing so much as the Ladies Day at ascot hats by Noel Stewart, who whipped taffeta, organza and twill into headpieces worthy of Eliza Doolittle.