Mulberry returns to spotlight as brands review catwalk strategy

Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:03am EST
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By Astrid Wendlandt and Li-mei Hoang

LONDON (Reuters) - Much is riding on a debut collection from new creative director Johnny Coca for British fashion brand Mulberry which will be unveiled on Sunday, with shoppers able to buy some of the products within weeks in a nod to changing consumer trends.

Mulberry is trying to reconnect with its roots as an upmarket British brand offering sturdy and chic handbags after an ill-fated push into higher-priced products led to a string of profit warnings and the dismissal of the former executive and creative teams.

Its first show after two turbulent years comes as fashion brands are trying to find ways of getting clothing and accessories to customers more quickly in different climates around the world.

Burberry and Tom Ford said this month they would stage just two fashion shows a year that would feature both menswear and womenswear collections -- rather than running four shows linked to the seasons.

The move is aimed at tapping into a "see now, buy now" generation of consumers keen to purchase things straight off the runway via mobile devices.

Luxury fashion labels are firing back at fast-fashion rivals such as Inditex's Zara which put out clothes inspired by luxury designers before their own more costly collections hit the shelves and without the expense of celebrity creative directors and fashion shows.

"The client comes into your shop and says I have seen this already and for less money," Mulberry Chief Executive Thierry Andretta told Reuters.

"I think all the brands will be thinking about it," he added. "(Burberry CEO) Christopher Bailey's announcement will impact people's thinking. But every brand will find its own solution."   Continued...

A model presents a creation from the Mulberry Spring/Summer 2013 collection at London Fashion Week in this file photograph dated September 18, 2012.  REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/files