Since 1971, Mulberry has grown from an idea around a Somerset kitchen table to an iconic British brand. To commemorate their 50th anniversary, the label has invited Alexa Chung, the model, designer and muse for the brand’s cult Alexa bag, to design two styles for a special capsule collection; Mulberry x Alexa Chung. Here, find out all you need to know about the collaboration and the covetable, vintage-inspired designs.
It’s a big year for Mulberry. The British leather accessories label is celebrating a quarter century of creating handbags and accessories, worn by everyone from Cara Delevigne to Kate Middleton. To mark the occasion, today the brand is unveiling an exciting new design collaboration with writer, model, fashion designer and style savant, Alexa Chung.
Although part of the new Mulberry Editions project – a series of limited-edition capsules by leading creatives who have been invited to put their spin on the house’s designs – this collaboration builds on a longstanding relationship between the label and the influential fashion figure. In 2010, Mulberry revealed a bag inspired by the stylish Londoner, the Alexa — a laid-back, satchel style bag that referenced the vintage Mulberry Elkington briefcase that Chung was often spotted sporting around town. The Alexa bag proved so popular that last year the brand re-released the design, and the V&A even included the original piece at the museum’s Bags: Inside Out exhibition as a representative of the 2010s It-Bag phenomenon.
This capsule collection, however, marks the first time Chung has designed for the British house. The result is two styles, the roomy shoulder bag, the Big Guy, and a compact clutch, the Little Guy. Both designs draw on Chung’s ‘look’ — a combination of masculine tailoring, vintage touches and a consistent nod to British fashion traditions. They also pay homage to the Seventies style icons such as Charlotte Rampling and Lauren Hutton that inspire Chung’s pared-back aesthetic.
The Big Guy
Both the Big Guy and Little Guy feature chain straps and a boxy silhouette in a nod to that same vintage briefcase that inspired the 2010 Alexa bag, a new collection of which will also launch alongside the Chung-designed styles. Both the re-released Alexa bags and the two new styles come in a range of colours, spanning classic earthy shades of tan and dark chocolate as well as bright apple greens and denim blues, reflecting Chung’s optimism for the future after a challenging and unsettling year. Material options include glossy crocodile-effect patent leather, velvet and suede.
The Little Guy
‘I thought it was a great, quite rare opportunity,’ says Chung. ‘I never expected to be invited to actually design my own Mulberry bag, which is really a dream come true. Mulberry has always been a brand that’s very close to my heart. The Alexa represents a moment in my life that I’m extraordinarily proud of and feel really lucky to have experienced. It’s nostalgic and sentimental and sweet and joyful. This time, I wanted to create something that straddled what the bag means to me personally, but could become that for someone else’s wardrobe. I wanted to make sure that it would endure, to become a future classic. I welcome this extension of a relationship that’s been unfolding over decades.’
The collection also stays true to Mulberry’s new sustainability commitments, which they outlined in a manifesto earlier this year as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. The Big Guy and Little Guy are crafted from materials that are sourced from environmentally rated tanneries, and are exclusively made in the brand’s carbon neutral Somerset factories.
The Alexa Chung collaboration is also only one of a number of design partnerships that Mulberry has lined up this year as part of their Mulberry Editions project. Last month, the label worked with up-and-coming British designer Priya Ahluwalia to create a capsule of small accessories and handbags that pay homage to her Nigerian-Indian roots and the symbolism of Black hair. Later this year, the brand is also set to unveil new design collaborations with Richard Malone and Nicholas Daley.
The Mulberry x Alexa Chung collection is available in-store and online at mulberry.com