Mulberry has finally named a replacement for creative director Emma Hill. Johnny Coca will join the British luxury brand on July 8, 2015, the company announced late last week. By that time, Mulberry will have been without a creative director for more than two years.
The wait may be worth it, though. Coca joins Mulberry from Céline, where he is head designer of the French house's coveted leather goods, shoes, hard accessories, jewelry and sunglasses. Given that leather handbags are Mulberry's primary métier, someone skilled at creating luxurious bags that people want to buy is an ideal choice, especially given that Mulberry's sales haven't been great lately. Since Hill's departure, which was followed closely by the departure of CEO Bruno Guillon, the company has issued one profit warning after another to investors, including one for fiscal 2014. Former CEO Godfrey Davis stepped in to get the company back on track while a permanent replacement is found. His recent efforts have included the introduction of a lower-priced handbag line and, of course, the appointment of Coca.
In a statement, Davis said that Coca "has a wealth of international luxury and fashion experience that will help us bring new energy and innovation to Mulberry."
Mulberry could definitely use that new energy, and it will be interesting to see how Coca adapts Céline's Parisian chic thing to Mulberry's British heritage identity.