Thursday January 3, 2013
Mulberry goes nostalgic with its 70s-inspired Spring/Summer collection
By NADINE FERNANDEZ
Old is new again, as evident in Mulberry’s latest collection.
IT’S a walk down memory lane this season for British brand Mulberry.
Using materials such as customised jacquard, various types of leather, printed silk, georgette and cotton, Mulberry’s Spring/ Summer 2013 is a look back at the 70s. Apart from revisiting a decade when war was rife and ethereal shapes, prints and fabrics were used, they were also the years of a young Mulberry; the label was founded in Britain in 1971.
Inspired by the nostalgia of the decade, the brand’s posh practicality gets diversified with the laid-back vibe of aerial California girls. In the ambient environment of an irreverent English garden, this season’s Mulberry girl mixes a summer palette of luscious sorbet hues with the covetable luxury of British heritage.
According to Emma Hill, creative director of Mulberry since 2007, the basis of her collection’s inspiration came about when she looked at the brand’s archives and revisited its heritage.
“I was inspired by 70s bag styles from our past. Classics like Bayswater and Alexa have also been ‘updated’ with fresh colours from a gorgeous new palette. We also have a new gecko print which is my take on a tropical-influenced English garden mix-up,” shared Hill in a recent interview in Singapore; she was in the Lion City for the opening of Mulberry’s first Asian flagship store.
Known for producing “it” bags, this collection sees the emergence of yet another must-have as we are introduced to the Willow collection. Consisting of totes and clutches in luxurious calf and ostrich leather in the same sweet tones of the collection, its simple yet chic style is a combination of elegance and practicality.
“Willow is the realisation of an idea combining good looks and functionality. The Willow Tote has two bags in one as it is a large tote with a lovely zip-detached envelope clutch on the front. It seems very Mulberry to have a common-sense English approach to your bag as it needs to be useful as well as beautiful. There is also a Willow Clutch that stands alone; the proportions and simplicity of an oversized envelope were a key influence and a shape I wanted to play with.”
Singing her praise
There’s also the much-talked about Del Rey handbag, the result of a close friendship between Hill and American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey.
Hill expressed that 26 year-old Rey’s fashion sense was an instant inspiration.
“There was something about her that rose above the hype and she felt very approachable – she is polite, almost old-school charming and has a very sure sense of her style and what suits her. All of those traits I admire and so she stuck in my head for weeks after we met,” explained Hill.
Drawing from those specific characteristics that made Rey the superstar she is today, Hill said that upon viewing the clip of her song Video Games on the Internet, Hill knew she had to meet her again.
Visuals in the music video were like snapshots of Hill’s own mind. “It was like a mood board – similar to the way I work when designing, telling your story and thoughts through visuals,” recalled Hill. “She also loves accessories, and we talked a lot about how they fit into our lives and expressed who we are. The Del Rey has retro glamour references combined with the Mulberry signature of practicality and understated charm. All of which makes it the ultimate ‘it’ bag!”
Expect the unexpected
Forty years of history in the fashion industry and there probably isn’t very much that had not been done, where Mulberry is concerned.
Hill revealed that it is indeed a challenge to continually produce new collections. But in reinforcing the brand’s strong ties to its British craft heritage, she feels it helps her to create pieces that inspire and delight customers.
“I am personally proud of our tailoring in the Spring/Summer 2013 collection. We worked hard to learn how to use traditional techniques for the making of the tuxedo jackets as well as the other tailored pieces. It was like learning a skill all over again, but it was important for me to have it done properly and with confidence,” said a proud Hill, adding, “And I say this every season but I really think this is our strongest collection yet! If I were to describe it in just three words, it would be 70s, tailoring and sorbet!”
With a collection reminiscent of a buffet comprising marshmallows, the “sorbet-like palate” of colours used for this season seemed coincidental as Hill shared that the inspiration came from an eye-catching image of melting ice creams. “The colours looked beautiful merging into one another; dream-like and hazy but still light and delicious to look at.”
Not revealing very much about the future of Mulberry and its next collection, Hill concluded the interview with a tease. “You can expect the unexpected!”