Wildly popular both in Singapore and abroad, Mulberry gained cult status and became a permanent fixture on everyone’s lips the day the now famous Mulberry Alexa was launched.
Working closely with both the celebrated (Mulberry presented renowned photographer Tim Walker’s first foray into film The Lost Explorer at BAFTA) and the mainstream (their collaboration with Target is selling like hotcakes), Creative Director Emma Hill is bent on spreading the English brand’s good name far and wide.
I had a chance to get up close and personal with Ms Hill herself during the Spring-Summer 2011 Womens Mulberry presentation in London, as she graciously offered me a glimpse into her world…
Bagaholicboy: When you come out with collections season after season, is there a specific woman you design for, or does she evolve with every collection?
Emma Hill: We design with the Mulberry girl in mind. She appreciates British heritage and quality, is edgy and chic and loved by all. Like any girl she grows with time; for S/S11 our Mulberry girl is all grown up with longer hemlines.
You previously worked at Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Chloe and Gap. How did any of those stints prepare you for today’s role at Mulberry and have any influences been carried over?
EH: I fell in love with designing accessories and have been so fortunate to have spent my career working for some of the best brands in the world. My experience has taught me to design from gut instinct rather than look at what everyone else is doing.
My dream job is the one I now have: heading up such an iconically fabulous, heritage-rich and cheeky-charming British brand as Mulberry and working with my incredible team!
Who would you name as your role models, both professionally, as well as on a personal level?
EH: My son Hudson! And of course my lovely Mulberry team!
I understand that Mulberry is the only brand that still has a production facility in the UK. Is it important for Mulberry to retain its legacy?
EH: It is very important to us. I myself come from a family of ‘makers’ and to work for a company that is proud to retain its Somerset roots is such an honour.
We love to continually update and make ever more fabulous our bank of iconic, heritage bags; the perfect mix of classic and new! And manufacturing our bags through our Somerset factory is the ultimate way to respect our heritage, being the last luxury British brand to do so!
I see more and more brands going online and having a greater presence than before. How important is social media to Mulberry now?
EH: Very important! This is illustrated by our very own sparkling new blog. It is a great way to connect to our lovely Mulberry fans, providing them with a real insight into the brand, and in return they provide us with all their lovely comments!
Who is your ultimate design muse and what would you design for him or her?
EH: Our gorgeous line up for our S/S11 show was inspired by the beautiful Julia Johansen (shown above). She was our muse-model for the season (we fell in love with her Scandinavian complexion, her cheeky freckles and her awesome choppy red hair) and so we had the brilliant Sam McKnight replicate her hair for each of our 16 girls!
What were your biggest inspirations for S/S11. And is it true that you are designing for a younger Mulberry woman these days?
EH: For S/S11 Mulberry we were inspired by a walk through the vintage glamour of the film Grey Gardens as well as the timeless children’s novel The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. We love Little and Big Edie and the theme of the ‘dishevelled glamour’ is a constant one for us at Mulberry so it was perfect!
I always design for the Mulberry girl. She is well-loved, enduringly edgy, classic, funny, smart, creative, stylish, and iconic and truly one of a kind; much the way I think about Mulberry. We can’t mould her into an age gap, but we can love her to bits!
YOU SHOULD SEE: Mulberry: The Snapshots
YOU SHOULD SEE: S/S11 Womens Mulberry Press Presentation
YOU SHOULD SEE: Update – S/S11 Womens Mulberry
YOU SHOULD SEE: S/S11 Womens Mulberry
YOU SHOULD SEE: Mulberry Tillie In Silky Snake Print