I first met Johnny two years ago and I don’t like to play favours with my designers, but Johnny is definitely one of those that are closest to my heart. And it’s not only because of his work or the fact that Mulberry has become a more well known brand thanks to this charismatic man, it’s also because of the character that he himself holds. And it was once said that a man is but the product of his thoughts… Johnny is definitely a prof of that. Humble all the way, he gave us a quick rundown of the new collection, where, as of this month, some of the pieces are in store, and about his vision to extend the brand to the Far East:
“Yes, we are trying to extend the brand more internationally. We are already strong in Korea with 32 stores and we would love to extend the brand more in Asia. In August for example we held a pop-up store in Tokyo and it was a very nice experience. Each season we are trying to focus on one country and a new territory.”
Which territory is it this year?
We are going to continue to develop in China.
How is this collection different from the previous one?
I am trying to bring the British reference that I like…
…British reference… so that still hasn’t changed?
Oh no, it’s still very consistent! Because I love colours, check and flowers so I was trying to see what I was more into this season. And I was trying to work that into the design. The idea behind the collection was to be more urban and easy-to-wear. And to play with the sneakers trend because you see more and more women on the streets running around in sneakers. You know that I personally like women in heels. But the other day I was sitting at a café here in Paris, looking at women passing by, and 9 out of 10 were in sneakers. And even though you know that I personally love Manolo Blahnik and Louboutin, but today sneakers are so important. It has become another way to drive the fashion trend forward. So when I was working with the new collection, adding sneakers to it, was just my way of thinking what the best offer is that I can bring, for Mulberry to be just in line with want women want to wear today.
So easy-to-wear is the keyword for this collection?
I would say that the keywords are essential, British and unexpected.
Yes, because of the sneakers.
And your inspiration is still…
And when did you start planning the collection?
A year ago.
Does it take a year?
You see, the schedule in the fashion industry has changed as an attempt to try to prolong the life of the clothes and collections. And to have them ready for this means that you have to close the collection 6 months before. This collection was already done in May and its bags are in store now, and the clothes will follow in December.
Dead or alive, who would you like to have a collaboration with?
Coca Cola! Because you know, Johnny… Coca…
No but jokes aside, as for collaborations, I think that you have to choose wisely and you should not choose it because it’s good business, you should choose it because it is right for the brand.
When we first met, you were just warming up at Mulberry, how has it been so far?
It’s interesting to see how we are finally getting more international customers. We are taking it step by step and not trying to rush it. But sure, you want it to go quicker sometimes but in the end, designing is my passion and it should take the time it takes.