When Johnny Coca’s first catwalk collection was unveiled at London Fashion Week in February, all eyes were on the handbags.Hailed as ‘the man to save Mulberry’, Johnny Coca is off to a flying start. Previously design director for shoes and accessories at Céline, this is the man responsible for hits such as the Trio and the Trapeze, so expectations were weighty.
The brand has just revealed the latest addition for autumn/winter 2016: the Camden.
So those high hopes were not unfounded. Coca’s take on classics such as the Bayswater, along with brand new styles like the compact, cross-body Clifton, have put Mulberry firmly back on top of the must-have bag list.
Classic black, indigo, burgundy and clay versions come in the brand’s signature, heavy-duty grained leather – the quality of which was one of the first things Coca set about improving – while there are also tri-colour designs in smooth calf leather or tactile calf hair, and a leopard-print calf-hair style with a more rock-chic aesthetic.“I was inspired to play with the zips by the iconic hardware of British punk culture,” says Coca. “Zips make a powerful subversive statement which, when contrasted with lux materials, create an edgy aesthetic.”
A single-handle, bucket-style bag, the Camden features four high-shine zips which transform it from a slouchy, hobo-like carry-all when worn open (as seen on the catwalk), to a cleaner, more structured tote when zipped up. While the zips give a nod to the punk reputation of its namesake area of London, plush materials mean the Camden is firmly at home in Mayfair’s leather-goods mecca.
The bags sit at the high end of the “affordable luxury” sweet-spot that’s so vital to Mulberry’s comeback, after previous price hikes alienated many of its core consumers.Finished with the details that are fast becoming a signature of Coca’s ‘new Mulberry’ – the reimagined logo inspired by a font from the archives, the sumptuous suede lining, the military-style studs – the robust-yet-roomy Camden also reflects Coca’s commitment to function as well as form (he studied architecture).
“The Camden is for everyday use,” continues Coca’s statement. “It’s perfect easy cool with a twist of an edge.” So far, that combination is a recipe for success at Mulberry.