Johnny Coca finally brought Mulberry back to the runway with his debut Mulberry fall/winter 2016-17 ready-to-wear collection, unveiled at London Fashion Week. An incredible number of Mulberry followers (and not only) hope Johnny Coca is going to be the man that will finally make Mulberry shine again, after some turbulent years that resulted in almost disastrous collections and decreasing sales. Coca, also known as the mind behind the iconic Celine Trapeze Bag (before taking the helm at Mulberry he worked as Céline’s accessory designer), knew that everyone was in anticipation of seeing a winning collection finally and did meet all the expectations.
Spanish-born Coca focused on the everyday busy woman, drawing inspirations from what he sees on the streets. At the same time, he did not want to eradicate Mulberry’s British true essence, making sure the label’s heritage was not going AWOL. That said, the Mulberry fall 2016 RTW collection gracefully combines wearable pieces with eccentric accessories, chic materials and colors, adding the more contemporary and cosmopolitan touch Mulberry needed.
“It’s very important to be very specific and unique and keep a very strong character and eccentricity,” explained Coca backstage, adding that he deeply wanted to “create something very strong, very honest, very British.” And to create a full-loaded British collection he opted for royal, punk-rock, heroin-chic and Britain’s traditional influences, easily to be found in the jabot collars, layered ruches and pleated skirts.
The collection’s contemporary twist is exceptionally vivid throughout the color palette used and the great variety of materials, which even match fishnet attachments to silky pieces and transparent lace fabrics to glittery motifs. As for the colors, although being predominantly dark-toned, the lineup also showcases some bright proposals, featuring vivid shades from fire red to bold yellow (namely two of next fall’s most wanted hues). These two colors, along with orange and shocking blue, not only embellish most of the collection’s pieces, but also serve as accent hues for total-black outfits.
Being a great accessory designer, Coca also used a similar color palette to embellish most of the lace-up shoes, bags and floral adornments, clearly adding a punk-rock tone to the entire collection. To accentuate this aspect he also employed a lot of fishnet detailing, as if he was trying to evoke a sort of ‘good girl gone bad’ kind of attitude. He did not, of course, stop there, as he skillfully added ‘master of color-blocking motifs’ to his CV thanks to some well-served yellow and purple outfits (which I am personally hopelessly in love with).
Creeper-looking pointy-toe shoes, military jackets and leather essentials help the collection’s girl-power vibes grow in style, becoming even stronger when combined with furry waistcoats and see-through lace mini dresses. Plunging v-necklines and hourglass silhouettes create an intriguing contrast with the oversized bomber jackets and mannish trousers, strengthening the whole ‘street-style meets British-style’ concept.
Metal detailing and soft organza skirts also took advantage of such a contrast, confirming once again Coca’s tailoring skills and attention to details. He might have come into the spotlight due to his famed it-bags, but Coca definitely is a 360° artist. Regarding this, he concluded backstage: “You can’t just focus on one bag. It’s more like what you have on the street. It’s important to have a wide range of proportion and function.” And I couldn’t agree more!
Photos courtesy of Vogue