Mulberry Creative Director Emma Hill Interview With the Guardian UK

 (Emma is the brilliant designer who created the Mulberry Alexa bag) How does a bag become a fashion icon? She frowns.
MulberrySS2010_Details3"You know, I don't think there's any formula. I mean nobody needs a new bag, so it just has to be one you look at and think 'I've got to have it'. I also think we've done incredibly well through the recession because of the sense of heritage that people are preferring now. A lot of the bags are made in England, too. And you know, there's a sense I think of people wanting to step back a little. It's been a bit grotesque – those images of people staggering down Bond Street laden down with bags, it's a bit gross now. Our bags are simple – the Alexa is really just a little school satchel, but you could be wearing it in 40 years and pass it on to your kid."
Mulberry bags are certainly less overtly "fashion" than other brands, preferring to skip on faddish trends and opt for timeless classics. Of course they also do what Hill calls "bells and whistles" - like the Alexa in crazy animal prints for the younger consumer – but certainly a core appeal of the brand is that your average consumer who can probably only afford one designer bag in a lifetime wants it to be Mulberry. This is probably what has helped them to buck the recession. "I joined Mulberry and literally two weeks later the bottom fell out of the market" says Hill. "I was like ..." - she pulls a comedy face - "...Oh! Good! Goodie!"
Mulberry is a high end but also a quintessentially British brand. Hill herself, though, has spent most of her working in life in New York, designing bags for the likes of Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein. When she worked for the latter, she tells me, she was a full-on Klein woman, with all the minimalist power dressing that entails. This, frankly, is impossible to imagine. She laughs. "I know, my friends found it hilarious."
So what differentiates a British brand from an American one and British sensibility?
Mulberry_SS2010-2"I have lived here for 15 years but I've tried with Mulberry to stick with that that real English sense.. but make it slicker. I think that's probably the difference you know, it's all about the New York minute here, and everything is very slick. But if you just applied that to an English brand I think you would totally miss the point. I always have a theme for my shows and this one is Grey Gardens [a 1975 documentary about a reclusive mother and daughter, once socialites, now living in splendid squalor]. Even though it's America, it's that idea of something that was once magnificent but has now gone a bit bonkers, tumbled down, and descended into madness - it's a very British story really. Hey, it's probably happening all over England as we speak. Not even closed down, just allowed to continue..."
Are you happy to be one of the girly Brit gang, alongside Stella McCartney, and Pheobe Philo?
They are amazing! I really think British designers are the best in the world, I think that there's always that little bit of madness and creativity. I think our references are probably more eclectic too. Read more.


Anonymous said...

I love the alexa bag had no idea it was created by mulberry. I always thought prada created this bag.

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