A Fresh Start: Spring has sprung at Mulberry

27th Jan 2015

Photo credit: Mulberry

Mulberry today launched its spring campaign, with new face of the brand Georgia May Jagger making her introduction in a quirky, 60s-inspired style. It also marks the first campaign for Mulberry that iconic photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin have shot since 2004, and shows Jagger as if she is at “an impromptu photo shoot set up in a country house,” the fashion label explained. A video was also filmed for the campaign, in which Jagger dances to loud, psychedelic music by retro Dutch rock band Shocking Blue.

From the offset the campaign contrasts with the label’s previous collection – Autumn/Winter 2014 featuring Cara Delevigne. This, which was filmed in the Scottish Highlands, features the model in sober brogues, heavy-knit jumpers and thick socks, surrounded by heather and animals, with an ethereal backing track. Shot by Tim Walker in his 8thconsecutive campaign, it was archetypal Mulberry, with classic British tailoring, and aspiration themes. While Jagger’s campaign is still playing with typical Englishness, it does so in a far more eclectic, laid-back manner, and begs the question – Is Mulberry turning around? After suffering poor sales and a profit warning last year, the brand was criticized for unrealistic pricing and poor marketing campaigns. In trying to depict a more upmarket image, Mulberry in fact distanced itself from it's classic consumers, and failed to attract enough new shoppers. Critics commented that it failed to backup its prices with quality, and that the image was out of reach for most. Indeed, the high-end rural atmosphere of the Autumn 2014 campaign seems far less obtainable – and relevant – than the new, flirtier campaign.

Does this move away from polished professionalism signify a fresh branding style for Mulberry? Perhaps not a radical one, as it still depicts the 'sheer joy of an English country garden on a summer's day' and maintains the quintessential Britishness that Mulberry has come to represent. It does however do this in a far more playful manner, with Jagger posing in an eclectically decorated country-mansion, with tea-sets, dressing-up clothes, and gold furniture in the background as she models the Delphie bag. This sense of a mad-hatters tea-party is reinforced with bric-a-brac, chess pieces and cakes that defy the model's straight face and doe-eyed stare.

Her chic, black outfit – complete with stilettos – appears all the more polished against the boho, lilac backdrop. Unlike previously, Mulberry here uses contrasting scenery to accentuate the strength of its pieces as well as a setting which matches the model, shown when Jagger wears more bohemian outfits including as a floaty white minidress. As the daughter of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and supermodel Jerry Hall, she is already fashion royalty, but does she also represent the start of Mulberry's rebellious stage? Cheekier than the classic and serious chicness of Delevigne, Jagger's 60s party-girl style in this shoot could signify the phasing out of the old, and the transition into a more modern image.

It was only today that Jagger was revealed as Cara's successor, and the two are known to be good friends. She shows her excitement for the brand:

I've known Mulberry for years, it's such an iconic British brand – I love the new Delphie for Spring Summer 2015, I think it's fantastic how it can flip from day to night – so versatile! The campaign shoot was so much fun, I loved working with Inez and Vinoodh, and throwing petals everywhere! It was snowing outside but we had a very cosy set inside the house. Stephen Galloway, an old friend of mine, was there and we got to dance together like we always do.”

The innovative side to the label is shown physically in the pieces themselves– the Delphie Bag for example is reversible, with an outer layer that can be flipped and changed.

Johnny Coca is to join the label this July, from his job at Céline. He will take on the role of creative director, a position which has not been filled at Mulberry since Emma Hill left in September 2013. The freshness of the spring campaign, and it's model could represent this transitional period – a loyalty to brand ideals combined with a new, more relaxed image – and a keenness to venture into the unknown. One thing seems certain: Mulberry is on the up, and this is only the beginning.

Elizabeth McLoughlin

my-retail media

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