The Mulberry appointment is thrown wide open by the fact that prime candidate Katie Hillier landed herself a very smart new job only two weeks ago.
Scenario 1: The dream appointment: Katie Hillier
Katie Hillier has been a kingmaker of the It bag world for a decade, creating sellout bags for Marc Jacobs and Victoria Beckham, among others. Part of a golden set of Central St Martins graduates (Stella McCartney, Katie Grand, Luella Bartley, Giles Deacon) Hillier is ridiculously well-connected but also one of the nicest women in fashion. If she hadn't just been appointed creative director of Marc by Marc Jacobs, this would be a shoo-in.
Scenario 2: The fun appointment: Lulu Kennedy
In fashion maths, London = Fun. (NB: New York = Money, Paris = Chic, Milan = Sex/Power.) Having the smarts to maximise and monetise this important variable (eg putting dogs on the catwalk; having the Muppets on the soundtrack) has been a key element of Hill's success at Mulberry. Lulu Kennedy can run a meeting all day, but she can dance on the table all night as well. The new Mulberry creative director needs to keep the brand plugged into the quirky-British-humour energy source, which Lulu Kennedy, fairy godmother to up-and-coming British talent turned designer in her own right, could do.
Scenario 3: The next-generation appointment: Sophie Hulme
Sophie Hulme, most recent winner of the emerging talent award for accessories at the British fashion awards, would be a statement appointment for Mulberry. Her sleek, clean-lined totes have become a staple in the wardrobe of every London fashionista who can't afford Céline (ie, 99.9%). Hulme's star has risen as part of the modern minimalist movement, and her appointment would represent a move on from the jolly, bags-with-silly-charms-on aesthetic that defined Mulberry's heyday under Hill. If Mulberry is feeling brave, Hulme could be in with a shot.
Scenario 4: The celebrity-friendly appointment: Charlotte Dellal
Charlotte Dellal, designer of the Charlotte Olympia label, has a wickedly British, dark sense of humour. Her latest collection of accessories has a fairytale theme: think espadrilles with Rapunzel-braided soles, and pumps with chunky heels styled to resemble book spines, imprinted with the legend "Happily Ever After." Half-sister of Chanel model Alice Dellal, Charlotte has an address book that would fill the front row with glamorous women, which is key because the front row has always been a Mulberry strong suit. A Cordwainers graduate, Dellal began as a shoe designer before expanding into bags – but in an era when a menswear designer can take the helm at Yves Saint Laurent womenswear, as Hedi Slimane has done, that isn't necessarily a dealbreaker.
Scenario 5: The French star: Nicolas Ghesquière
Nicolas Ghesquière was unceremoniously released from Balenciaga last year, but the fashion rumour mill is convinced he is poised for a comeback. Womenswear Daily has named him the designer most likely to succeed Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton if that contract is not renewed when it comes up next year, but no official announcement is thought to be imminent. The Somerset-rooted Mulberry company culture might be a stretch for Ghesquière, a designer steeped in the history of Paris couture. But in the two years since Mulberry poached the Hermès managing director, Bruno Guillon, as CEO, the British label has edged closer in its outlook to that of a French luxury house. It's unlikely, but not impossible.
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