How does one present a runway show when all one is showing are handbags? For Mulberry, whose absence of a creative director led it to cancel shows this season, the answer was to put a supermodel’s name on the collection and parade her out in front of flashing cameras. Anya Hindmarch had a better idea: stage a musical.
Performed on a set that looked like a giant bar code, the striped catwalk was surrounded on either side by conveyor belts. You know, those things that push your groceries along when you’re not going through the self check-out line at the market. As models dressed in identical white dresses with yellow scarves presented the different bags, other models, including young men dressed as stock boys in black pants and white shirts with black suspenders, rode along the conveyors, sometimes qued up as though waiting in line, other times “pushing” shopping carts, or trolleys as they’re called here. Cute. Fun.
Beyond the showmanship of the presentation, though, I’m a bit lost. I’m not all that big into handbags. I find them utilitarian at best and since I rarely even carry a briefcase any more, I’ve no great reason in being interested. So please forgive me for the absence of detail in this review.
I can tell you that Ms. Hindmarch has licensed a number of retro products for several of her bags, including long-standing Kellogg’s brand cereals. The first bag down the runway was a large blue tote with a smiling Tony the Tiger on the side. The second look mimicked a box of Daz laundry detergent, complete with the claim that it “boils whitest.”
Bags came and went in a variety of sizes and shapes, from huge totes that could probably carry a small child, to delightfully small clutches whose cereal box look reminds me of the 10-box variety pack mother used to buy when she tired of my brother and I fussing over who got the prize inside the cereal. I foresee some disappointment when someone’s husband or boyfriend picks up such a clutch and fails to actually find cereal inside.
Any good musical needs a great production number at the end and the Anya Hindmarch show had one. Jazz hands popped up from the floor in front of the front row and the stock boys performed a well choreographed number as models made their finale walk. After a wonderful performance like that, who wouldn’t be ready to go shopping?