Mulberry- Nicholas Knightly

Discussion in 'Designers and Collections' started by softgrey, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    Back to granny's attic
    (Filed: 15/07/2004)

    Designer Nicholas Knightly has brought a soft, vintage eccentricity to Mulberry's autumn/winter collection, says Heath Brown

    Zara Phillips might be heralded, by some, as the most fashionable member of the Royal Family, but it is her mother, the Princess Royal, who has inspired Nicholas Knightly's autumn/winter collection for Mulberry.
     


    "She is the best - so confident and so elegant," says the camera-shy designer. "Her Edwardian/Seventies princess style has become personal to her, and she has stuck with it for years. I love it."

    Knightly is fascinated by the subtle quirks that he feels many English women have when it comes dressing.

    "I love a combination of the spontaneous and the eclectic," he says, "whether it is a young girl in Hoxton or a country lady in Hampshire. The way the English like to mix and wear things out of sync can be so fashionable and individual."

    Knightly, 35, is leading the way with the trend for ladylike styles.

    "This is very much my thing," he says, although he is wearing a simple outfit of slouch jeans and a Ralph Lauren polo shirt. "I have been doing variations on this theme since I began. It is attic dressing - a look that never bends to commercialism and is always inspiring."
    Floral-print, empire-line blouse, £250. Tweed pedal pushers, £175. Thong-toe sandals, from a selection at Office; tel: 08450 580777

    Knightly began his fashion career as a Saturday boy in the menswear department at Harrods. This inspired him to apply to the Ravensbourne art school to study fashion design.

    "It was the mid-Eighties and fashion was so much a part of popular culture - it excited me," he says.

    After graduating in 1993, aged just 24, he set up his own company, to critical acclaim. Four years later, he began designing a special range of blouses for Harvey Nichols.  



    However, tired of struggling with business plans and bank loans, he closed down his company shortly afterwards and decided to work for a design studio, first with Tanya Sarne at Ghost, then as design director of Margaret Howell, where he updated the brand's image.

    Initially, when asked to join Mulberry in March 2002, Knightly was reluctant to be part of a company that he felt was old-fashioned and stuck in a rut. But the company's chief operating officer, Lisa Montague, persuaded Knightly to be part of the subtle rejuvenation of the brand's staid image.

    "He took some coaxing, but he realised that we were dusting off the old Mulberry," she says. "We told him that we wouldn't stifle his creativity and were serious when we said that the only way to push the company forward was to make the product king."

    Knightly has taken the stereotypical image of Britons and translated it into a more modern concept. "People want to see soft, subtle eccentricity coupled with a true sense of romance - all highly desirable and idyllic."

    He enjoys the fact that many young women are currently dressing like their grandmothers. "It all comes from another time, but is put together in a different context."

    However, Knightly hasn't rejected Mulberry's heritage. "It is such a well-conceived company," he says, "and I often refer to the archives and the early days, back in 1971, when Roger Saul and his wife made Mulberry a whole lifestyle around themselves. That was wonderful."

    As well as designing the clothes collections, Knightly has been working on the accessories and, particularly, the bags, which are the backbone of the label. Styles to look out for next season include the vintage Darwin leather "Jaquetta", an unstructured shoulder bag, and a pretty, gold, sequinned, small-framed, vintage-look bag named the "Aimée".

    "It is great to apply my experience to this genre, which is new to me," he says. "I am also exploring new uses for the traditional bags and luggage. For example, why can't the 'Braxton', a fishing satchel, be used as a handbag?"

    Knightly has helped to reinvent the classic British brand and, with its increasingly healthy financial results, it looks set to rival the likes of Burberry.

    "I think I've made it more relevant and more fashionable," he says, looking a little embarrassed about being so self-congratulatory.

    "And I hope I have opened up Mulberry to a more diverse selection of people of all generations. This was desperately needed, as it is not by age that you can judge a customer these days."
     
  2. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    um...hello... TWEED CULOTTES...!!!... :heart: :flower:
     
    #2 softgrey, Jul 29, 2004
    Last edited by moderator starrb81477: May 26, 2007
  3. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    very nice dress and the 'jacquetta' bag...for fall...
     
  4. runner

    runner .

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    thanks softgrey
    I need mens pieces colored that green.
     
  5. Lena

    Lena etre soi-meme

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    lovely, this green is totally fantastic
     
  6. helena

    helena Swim Upstream

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    you can really see the margaret Howell influence. I like the new mulberry stuff esp. the cute blouses. Its £££ though for what it is. I tried on a jersey last winter & it looked great on the hanger but the fit wasn't so good - might have beena one off. Keira Knightly recently modelled for the label. classic english rose I suppose.

    my fave is the Bayswater bag. They have all the new bags on their website - its worth a peek.
     
  7. LadyIllusion

    LadyIllusion New Member

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    Hopefully that will bring Mulberry into the 21st century, as their stuff is rather grannified and unappealing to the younger market.
     
  8. mikeijames

    mikeijames no tom ford, no thanks.

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    looks like the uk's answer to the us' perry ellis
     
  9. helena

    helena Swim Upstream

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    mike - yes its a bit like that but more expensive. we don't get perry ellis over here
     
  10. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    more looks...
    Floral-print, empire-line blouse, £250. Tweed pedal pushers, £175.
     
    #10 softgrey, Jul 30, 2004
    Last edited by moderator starrb81477: May 26, 2007
  11. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    Butterfly-print dress, £495, also available in pumpkin pink.
     
    #11 softgrey, Jul 30, 2004
    Last edited by moderator starrb81477: May 26, 2007
  12. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    prices of the other looks posted...

    1-Ruffle bib-front blouse in paper cotton, £99. Tweed culottes, £150. Cashmere/merino wool-mix, puff-sleeve jumper, £195

    2-V-neck dress with three-quarter-length, fluted sleeves, £495. Darwin leather 'Jacquetta' bag, £495, also available in tan
     
  13. helena

    helena Swim Upstream

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    don't you think its a bit overpriced? I don't think the quality merits such high £££ - the design isn't interesting enough to make me want to pay those prices. saw the mulberry bag in croc leather at the weekend - v. nice.
     
  14. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    yeah...the prices are high....that's why i posted them...i like the bayswater bag ...but i think i might like the new jacquetta even better...
     
  15. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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  16. helena

    helena Swim Upstream

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    sorry ooops - wasn't sure if that was why you posted them... yes thats a nice bag too - all the bags seem to be £495. Thats like $890 isn't it? i don't know how well it will do - it doesn't really compare with the Prorsum range or even Pringle.
     
  17. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    it's definitley the same market as the other two brands you mentioned...
    but they are still in a niche market...they are not know in the US at all... do they even do a runway show?...they are going to have to work to compete on a large scale...

    some great ads...well-placed...would help...

    but i LOVE that green dress...
     
  18. helena

    helena Swim Upstream

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    i agree - mulberry must have spent a lot on advertising in the uk - vogue did a lot last winter. I think they have missed that 'revamp an old english luxury goods house' thing that went on a few years ago. I think people are getting bored with it....
    yes the green pringle dress is great isn't it....? can't think where i'd find it apart from possibly their shop on bond street in london.
     
  19. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    i was thinking of the green mulberry dress...but the pringle one...is that the one you posted?...is also lovely...

    i guess i'm buying dresses this fall...it seems that that is what i'm attracted to most...maybe i'm growing up?!?!...LOL...
     
  20. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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