Queen Mum hats, porcelain crockery heels and the bag you'll want RN - designer Johnny Coca gives us a tour round Mulberry's gloriously bonkers best-of-British moodboard for SS18...
When you’re pounding the fashion-month pavements, you often come across the designers themselves as you speed round, trying to snap their creations while attempting to Instagram your own shoes (#OOTD) and do a commando roll back into your car to the next appointment at the same time. The most that generally comes of these encounters is a snatched sentence or two. But not when it comes to Johnny Coca. Oh no. The diminutive ball of energy putting a rocket under Mulberry and restoring it to It-brand status is so jolly, you’d think he loves nothing more than shooting the breeze with journalists. Or maybe he’s just very, very polite. For Mulberry SS18, the label showed the collection at a private presentation during Paris Fashion Week – taking a season out from doing a full catwalk show, in readiness for a mega return to LFW in February (when they’ll switch to a totally see-now-buy-now model – credit cards at the ready)
Hearing Coca, dressed in a purple shorts suit, talk through his moodboard, below, made us smile almost as much as the bejewelled faces adorning some of the shoes.
Here’s what his Mulberry SS18 is all about.
1. Country-house crockery
On a visit to friends at their grand house in the English countryside, he was entranced by the Mitford-esque heritage and hand-me-down vibes. “I was in the kitchen, and I saw all this beautiful china from the family, they keep it and hand it down to the next generation. It was so beautiful, like a museum.” This led to the Wedgewood-worthy prints on organza ruffled dresses and quite literally to the heel of some of the shoes. “It’s interesting to make something unexpected, let’s take a piece of china and change the shape of a shoe completely.” Cue bulbous, porcelain-effect heels – like a miniature antique vase propping up your foot. I mean, what could be more Normal for Norfolk?
2. The Queen – and assorted aristocrats – in summer
“The way the royals are is a reference for a lot of British girls. When you go to a party in London, the girls there really love to be ‘dressed’ – there’s a real difference between their day and their evening dressing, not like the way girls dress to go out in Paris, for example. At an English garden party, everyone is so focused on their outfits, there’s almost like this competition – like who has the best hat, and I really love it.” He asked society milliner Noel Stewart to create enormous, OTT picture hats to finish off his ruffled organza dresses and soft linen looks. “If you take off the hats, they’re really easy pieces – nice jackets, tailoring that’s easy to wear. But the hats break the proportion.” You can say that again.
3. Joyous jewels – and bags, and shoes…
“Happiness is very important. It’s a question of how you feel in what you wear – like when girls try on their mother’s dress and see how they look. ” And these are accessories that will make you very, very happy indeed. Earrings in the shape of birds and faces that move as you walk, shoes with those faces on them, and an array of sizzling new bags.
Say hello to the gem-scattered Lynton Mini Bucket, below, and the new version of the Amberley in block stripes, bottom.
The question now is what piece are you lusting after most?
We really do want it all!