Something special is happening at Mulberry, and it’s all down to Céline’s former number two, Johnny Coca, who is now in charge after joining the British Lifestyle Brand in 2015 and immediately started to shake things up.
Coca’s first show as Creative Director debuted in February 2016 and suddenly a brand which had seen a tumultuous few years after the departure of former number one, Emma Hill, was re-born into a new era. The success of his debut show, which stayed true to classic Mulberry style whilst experimenting with bolder and more daring European influences, was a sign of good things to come.
Working as Head Design Director at Céline put Coca in good stead to add some creative flair to Mulberry’s collection of lux accessories. In the brief time that Mulberry was without a CEO, sales had suffered and there laid an opportunity for someone special to bring a new direction to this classic and timeless brand.
Established in 1971 in Somerset by Roger Saul, the company initially made a name for itself in quality leather goods such as belts and wallets. The focus was on hard wearing leather and pristine craftsmanship. The initial factory, the Rookery, is still producing many of Mulberry’s creations today. The brand went from strength to strength with the addition of Emma Hill, who created the Alexa bag which would go on to achieve a huge rise in sales and ultimately a younger following for Mulberry.
After the departure of Hill in 2013, the brand had a tough couple of years and was crying out for some much needed inspiration and direction. Enter Johnny Coca. As a British heritage brand, Spanish born Coca wanted to stay true to the values of Mulberry. In just two years, Coca has breathed life into this once-tired heritage brand – his most notable contribution, re-inventing the iconic Mulberry Bayswater bag.
Coca’s AW17 collection features a royal palette with rich shades of purple, blue and deep mustard yellow, crossing unexpected boundaries for Mulberry. It seems that we are going to keep seeing surprises from this dynamic and inspiring designer, and the new reign of Coca will continue to drive the success story of one of our most loved and coveted British labels.