The past 18 months have been a long, strange trip for Mulberry, and at least one part of that journey got an equally strange ending last week. On Thursday, while every sector of the American fashion industry (including the press) was roasting turkeys in their hometowns, the brand named Céline’s Johnny Coca as its new creative director.
Word on the street is that there might finally be some good news in the pipeline for Mulberry. The struggling British brand, which has been without a creative director since fan-favorite Emma Hill left over conflicts with former CEO Bruno Guillon, is reportedly eying Johnny Coca, head of accessories design at handbag wunderkind Céline.
Despite debuting a line of more accessible bags to win back old customers and signing on Cara Delevingne to do a high-profile capsule collection and campaign, Mulberry’s fortunes still haven’t turned around. Earlier this week, the company issued a profit warning to shareholders after a 17% decline in sales in the first half of 2014, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
Yesterday was Cara Delevingne’s 22nd birthday, and considering that she’s an international It Girl and supermodel from a well-to-do London family, you’d be excused for not knowing exactly what to get her. Mulberry, the brand that loves Cara the very most, did not seem quite so stumped; it got her an edible Mulberry Cara Delevinge Bag, bathed in black fondant.
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.
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?