Last week, we stopped by Mulberry’s pretty New York showroom to get an exclusive, up-close-and-personal look at the Spring 2014 collection and chat with Carl Barbato, the President of Mulberry U.S.A. This was designer Emma Hill’s last season with the iconic British label, and she was inspired by both 1960s London and the English countryside while designing the collection, which is quintessentially quirky and luxurious. Supple leathers, playful floral prints and boxy silhouettes dominated the clothing rails, while colourful handbags and small leather goods filled custom-made dollhouses in the downtown showroom.
“The focus on luxury and craftsmanship and creativity is really something that Bruno [Guillon, the CEO of Mulberry], in his leadership with the design team, is stressing,” says Barbato, when we talk about their latest bag introduction, the Kensal. “We [are looking] to design more and more pieces that have this sort of classicism, and to focus on the craftsmanship.” Made from a single piece of leather that’s been uniquely folded, the Kensal comes in multiple sizes and is essentially shaped like a double-envelope clutch (the largest size unzips apart and comes with a cross-body strap). We predict it-bag status for this new design, which will join the best-selling Alexa and Bayswater styles on shelves in the spring.
Mulberry’s first Canadian stores just opened in Toronto, on Bloor Street and at Yorkdale (their accessories are available at Holt Renfrew nationwide), but Barbato reveals that they are already considering a Westward expansion. “We’ve been spending a fair amount of time in Canada and honestly the reaction to Mulberry in the market has been extraordinary… we’re actively looking in Vancouver as a primary next market.”
Can’t make it to one of the Mulberry stores in Toronto? Shop the latest pieces online.
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