Our Fashion Week contributor Jenny Dyson talks to Emma Houlston, the illustrator commissioned to create the Mulberry Monster, exclusively for the blog.
Don’t be scared. According to illustrator Emma Houlston, the Mulberry monsters she drew are of the friendly kind. Daddy monster was stood either side of the runway and looking just a little bit startled to have found the whole of planet fashion in his secret lair. ‘I initially thought it was a bit mad for Mulberry to commission me to create monsters when they make such posh handbags’ Emma says. ‘But when I delved a bit deeper into the world of Mulberry, I discovered it’s very playful and magical as well.’ And of course Emma is right. ‘Mulberry sprinkles a bit of fairy dust on its fashion story-telling, so after last season’s giant ice cream cones, of course there could be monsters!’
For the Mulberry monsters Emma drew inspiration from the likes of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, the creatures in the film of the book created by Spike Jonze, plus a smattering of naughtiness from David McKee’s Not Now Bernard, a brilliant children’s book in which a little boy is ‘eaten’ by a naughty monster (or becomes a monster, depending on your interpretation).
The Mulberry monsters are friendly and gentle. They’ve tumbled out of a cupboard into the world of fashion. ‘They build nests like magpies and love to decorate them with shiny gold things’ adds Emma. No wonder, then that they feel so happy in the Mulberry world with its giant, shiny golden padlocks, a playful nod to the label’s iconic hardware, not to mention the covetable golden turtle on the Del Rey, the brand new bag shown on the London Fashion Week catwalk on Sunday.
If you happen to meet the Mulberry monster, Emma’s advice is to hide your iPad. ‘He’s really greedy and he’ll eat anything, including gadgets. He might accidentally eat your handbag, too!’
Stay tuned for more monsters making an appearance at Mulberry stores this autumn.