To me, thoughts of Mulberry conjure up a number of things: the English countryside, London in the rain, traditional craftsmanship, pretty young things and the kind of accessories that make you daydream with ‘the want’. That’s the thing about Mulberry; it somehow manages to be something to so many people, creating pieces that are simultaneously desirable and classic.
Since Creative Director Emma Hill took the reigns in late 2007, Mulberry has gone from strength to strength, continuing to reinvent itself and become one of the best brands on the English fashion scene. The label’s phenomenal sales figures for the past year (despite the dire economic climate) are testament to the fact that season after season, it puts out clothes and accessories that make women crazy with desire (literally – a Mulberry sample sale in London the other day drew queues several blocks long, despite the frigid temperature), but which also, magically, transcend fashion and which become the new classics each season.
So, having somewhat outgrown it’s former store, it seemed only fitting that the brand move to a more luxurious home befitting of it’s new power status – just down the road to number 50 New Bond Street. This week I popped along for the grand unveiling and fell in love with the brand that little bit more.
The space – a collaboration between Mulberry and Universal Design Studios – brings together a veritable bevy of eminent English names in design. The store, which is both environmentally and ethically responsible (something we take very seriously at LLG), just asks to be explored, revealing tiny design ‘treats’ at every turn – each symbollic of various aspects of the brand’seritage. For example, representative of the new locale, Jonathan Ellery, inspired by the David Bowie song ‘Maid of Bond Street’, designed 25 brass tablets which are scattered around the store’s floor (each printed with images reflective of Bowie’s lyrics), while James Randolph Rodgers has constructed an undulating Cotswold’s dry stone wall around the perimeter of the store, representative of the brand’s roots in the English countryside (but which also serves an eco function, naturally regulating the store’s temperature in a carbon neutral manner).
To me, it’s all these little touches – flourishes of creativity interspersed with timeless craftsmanships, symbols of a brand’s heritage reinterpreted for the modern day, an ethically responsible conscience, and inviting the wearer to make each piece personal to themselves – that distinguish an exceptional brand from a fast fashion label. And Mulberry serve up all of this in spades.
On a rather pertinent side note, Mulberry just just been named ‘Brand of the Year’ at the British Fashion Awards (the Oscars of the British fashion scene) this week. Expect big things from the brand in 2011!