Not long ago, Mulberry publicly announced its intentions to alter its price structure and handbag offerings in order to try to stanch its recent sales slide, and now we’re seeing the opening salvo of those changes. The Mulberry Tessie Bags, which start at $860, are the brand’s new beginning.

There are a couple of notable things about these four new bags, which are mid-season entrants that are likely meant to get the ball rolling more than to make a big splash with consumers. (The splashy bags, surely, will come later.) First, they lack the big Mulberry turnlock that has graced almost all Mulberry bags released in the last several years. Instead, they have a small gold square with an embossed Mulberry tree.

Second, the bags are discreet. The collection consists of a tote ($990), a hobo ($1,190) and a long-strapped shoulder bag in two sizes ($860 – $990), and the most daring color available is a sedate burgundy. These bags are workhorses, and the kind of thing that every woman needs to have in her closet. They form not only a good foundation for a wardrobe, but also for a brand’s accessories collection – there’s plenty of room to expand creatively from here, but these are the types of bags that earned the brand its loyal following in the first place.

Mulberry is currently functioning both without a permanent CEO and a permanent creative director, so it’s possible that the addition of one or more executives in the near future could drastically alter the brand’s current trajectory. Until there’s more stable leadership, though, this is a back-to-basics olive branch that Mulberry fans will likely be glad to see, even if they hold off on purchasing for the moment.

Or maybe they won’t hold off – at least one of the bags is already sold out. Shop the entire line here.

Here’s model-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne, leaving her London home with a Mulberry Cara Delevingne Bag in tow. As you might have guessed, this bag is part of a namesake capsule collection that Cara recently designed for the brand. The bags are Fall 2014, so they’re not yet available for purchase, but that zany Fendi Bag Bug that Cara’s sporting on her Mulberry bag can be pre-ordered for $800 at Bergdorf Goodman.

It’s been a turbulent year for Mulberry – creative director Emma Hill and CEO Bruno Guillion both left within months of each other, and the brand recently announced that they would be returning to the pricing structure they utilized before Guillion (formerly of Hermes) took the reigns. Essentially, that means the brand is lowering its prices, in a rather frantic effort to get back to its mid-priced, “It” bag roots. You can read all about that announcement here.

Fashion is an industry of rarity, but the news late last week from Mulberry may be the rarest thing we’ve seen in recent memory. On the heels of former CEO Bruno Guillon’s exit, the company has announced it will return to a price structure similar to the one it used before he took the helm of the brand two years ago. In real-world terms, that means one very important thing to bag lovers: Mulberry’s bags are about to become significantly less expensive. (more…)

It’s been a turbulent year for handbag favorite Mulberry. First, creative director Emma Hill left at the end of last summer, amid rumors that she and management weren’t exactly getting along. Now, word broke late last week that CEO Bruno Guillon has up and quit, ending his short run with the brand, which Reuters characterized as “turblent.” What happens from here? (more…)

After middling results with the Mulberry Del Rey Bag, Mulberry has chosen a more fashion-centric name for its next celebrity collaboration. Supermodel of the moment Cara Delevingne has signed on to design (“design”) and rep the Mulberry Cara Delevingne Bag, which comes in three sizes, all of which are convertible between a tote and backpack.

The first run of bags will be available in quilted leather, two shades of camo-print calf hair and one limited edition quilted version that features lion-head studs within the bag’s quilts. Delevingne famously has a lion head tattoo on one of her fingers, which was likely the inspiration behind that particular embellishment. None of the other bags are listed as limited editions, so you can expect the line to live on into the future as long as consumer interest demands its presence.

Before the Lana Del Rey bag, Mulberry had huge success hitching its wagon to style star Alexa Chung (lest we forget that the Mulberry Alexa is named after her). Tapping Del Rey felt like a misstep from the beginning because of the relative lack of interest in her among luxury audiences, but Delevingne has proved to be both an industry obsession and paparazzi magnet, so her clout might do more to propel these bags into the realm of the smash-hit Alexa. As bags, they’re very much traditionally Mulberry-esque and in some ways similar to the ever-popular Bayswater, so fans of the brand’s look will likely have no problem embracing these new shapes. Check out photos from the London unveiling below, as well as Mulberry’s images of the forthcoming bags. Prices haven’t been released yet, and you can expect the bags to surface around the end of summer.

Here’s Princess Eugenie (daughter of the UK’s Prince Andrew), shopping in the East Village with a Mulberry Alexa Satchel. She has apparently expatriated to NYC to work for an auction company, but she’s still repping for British designers with a Mulberry bag. You, too, can live like a princess – this bag can be acquired for the low, low princess price of $1,500 at Net-A-Porter.

Just a little Princess Eugenie backstory, so we’re all up to speed: Eugenie is the daughter of Princess Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York (aka, the original Fergie). She obtained a degree in English and Art History from Newcastle University in 2012, and is now apparently a New Yorker! Even more impressive: an American paparazzo could ID her on sight!

For the past couple of years, Mulberry has had a very specific target demographic: young, hip fashion girls, especially of a particularly British variety. That image has expanded the brand by leaps and bounds, but there are only so many of those girls, and they can only buy so many handbags. It was only natural that Mulberry would evolve into something more refined, and that’s exactly the track Emma Hill has put the brand on for Mulberry Spring 2014, her last outing as Mulberry’s creating director.

Perhaps most notable is the absence of Mulberry’s signature turnlock hardware on many of the designs. Instead, the new Mulberry Kensal Bags have been outfitted with a traditional briefcase pushlock closure, echoing the bags’ more streamlined, slightly rigid lines. The bag will come in two sizes, both of which are convertible between a clutch and a shoulder bag. (On the runway, they were shown simply as clutches.) The Kensal, like the new shoulder bag based on the Mulberry Willow Tote’s zip-off clutch pocket, will be double-faced; both sides of the bag will have independent closures, leading to separate compartments. That sort of construction always makes me worried that hardware will catch on delicate knits, but I suppose those are simply the risks we take. Check out all the bags from Mulberry’s runway show below or shop the brand’s current collection via Net-a-Porter.

[Images via Vogue.com]

IT’S OPRAH! Oprah has been making the press rounds over the past week, giving interviews to networks and magazines which she does not own willy-nilly, which is rare for Oprah. Here she is leaving the CBS Morning Show studios, where she was promoting her new movie, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, carrying a lovely white leather Mulberry Willow Tote. Fun fact: that envelope front pocket detaches to become a clutch! Thus the purpose of the seemingly extraneous yet very functional zippers, which give it a nice contemporary pop. You can get Oprah’s bag in black for $2,600 at Net-a-Porter.

As you probably know, Mulberry bags are generally prized by young, twiggy British “It” Girls – the Alexa Chungs of the world, and those who want to dress like them. But while Oprah may stand a tad outside of Mulberry’s most visible demographic, the Willow is a great choice for her, as it’s definitely one of the brand’s most refined styles. It’s polished and neutral enough to go with practically any look.

Here’s actor Liev Schreiber carrying an exceptionally handsome Mulberry Brynmore Messenger Bag in NYC. It looks like he’s giving someone directions in the West Village, and because West Village is the most confusing neighborhood in New York, that makes perfect sense. Liev’s Mulberry Brynmore bag was part of the brand’s Mulberry for Apple Collection, a line of leather goods created specifically to fit Mac products. This bag was made to accommodate the 15″ MacBook Pro – smaller laptops or iPads would obviously fit nicely inside too. The Brynmore is available for $1,350 at Mr. Porter.

I was excited to learn Liev Schreiber finally has his own show on premium cable – Ray Donovan will premiere on Showtime June 30th at 10 pm, EST. Liev plays Ray Donovan (of course), a professional “fixer” based in Los Angeles, who makes unseemly problems disappear for rich and famous clients.

Well, it took long enough.

I’ve been excited about the advent of the Mulberry Willow Tote ever since it debuted on the brand’s Spring 2013 runway back in September 2012, and finally, the object of my affection has become available for mass consumption. Thankfully, it’s just as beautiful as I had remembered it being, if slightly more pricey than I had hoped.

In case you’re not familiar with the Willow, its most salient feature is that the front flap pocket fully zips off to become an independent clutch, and a rather attractive one at that. Zip-off pockets are usually gimmicky and a bit awkward, but in this case, the integration of the clutch onto the front of the tote is done in such a way that the tote doesn’t feel like there’s an extra portion hanging off the front and the clutch doesn’t look like it was obviously taken from another bag. Combing two separate pieces into one aesthetically pleasing design is no small task, and Mulberry’s done a remarkably good job of making it happen.

Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt that both the clutch and tote fit in quite well with look that’s happening in the handbag world right now – streamlined shape, flared gussets and all that. If you remind yourself that you’re getting two bags, the $2,600 price tag doesn’t seem all that bad. Still, I was hoping for something more like $1,895. Buy through Net-a-Porter in both black and tan for $2,600.

Mulberry Willow Tote Tan
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