Lack of catwalk presence likely to negatively affect Mulberry in coming season as it continues without creative director
Tickets to the Mulberry catwalk show at London fashion week are never easy to come by – with Cara Delevingne on the catwalk, Mossy and Alexa in the front row and tables piled with Claridges' finest cakes, seats are highly sought after – but at February's week of catwalk shows, they will be more elusive than ever. Nonexistent, in fact. That is because Mulberry, which is currently without a designer after the departure of Emma Hill last autumn, will not stage a show.
A string of names have been linked to the Mulberry job in the past six months. At various points Erdem Moralioglu, Roland Mouret, Mary Katrantzou and Sophie Hulme have been rumoured to be "in negotiations". In the late autumn, a deal was close enough to being signed that the label reserved a seat at the British Fashion Awards from which it hoped to introduce their new designer – but the awards came and went and no deal was signed.
The lack of catwalk presence is likely to further negatively affect Mulberry in the coming season. Catwalk and front row photographs from the shows are a staple of fashion magazines and websites for an entire season. Without visuals that can be included in those pages, a brand slips from view.
But perhaps more significant is the difficulty in signing a deal. It is no secret that Hill's departure was driven at least in part by creative differences with CEO Bruno Guillon, who since joining Mulberry from Hermès in 2012 has focused on repositioning Mulberry from being a small, quirky British label to a serious international player.
The quality of the leather has been upgraded, with a corresponding hike in prices. Mulberry achieved cachet by courting hipster celebrities – in the past it held pool parties at the Coachella festival in California, a strategy that proved successful in placing the Mulberry name and handbags front and centre of fashion coverage of the festival – and successfully positioned itself as an aspirational but accessible brand for young British women. There is a long road to travel between that version of Mulberry and the British Hermès that Guillon appears to be aiming for.
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image: © Mulberry