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Mulberry mayhem at the Marmont

July 21, 2010 |  1:53 pm

Mulberry_Creative_Director_Emma_Hill_and_Molly_SimsThe Chateau Marmont was party central last night. But when isn't it, really?

British leather goods brand Mulberry took over the pool for an intimate dinner, and in the garden, the cast and crew of "Mad Men" downed Manhattans to celebrate the premiere of Season 4.

More about "Mad Men" in another post.

It's good to see Mulberry is going strong under the leadership of Emma Hill, who joined the brand as creative director 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, she's already had an It bag on her hands. It is, of course, the Alexa, which looks a bit like a vintage school bag and is inspired by DJ and global style-setter Alexa Chung. (The story is, Hill saw Chung carrying a briefcase, and decided to cross that with Mulberry's already-popular Bayswater style.)
 
"You can smell the good ones," Hill said of the Alexa. "My nose starts twitching. The only problem is not being able to make them fast enough," she said, talking me through the fall collection in one of the hotel's bungalows, with a gargantuan, pink, glitter-speckled leopard form standing sentinel at the door.
 
The collection is inspired by the campy 1967 film "Valley of the Dolls." "It's like a good girl gone bad, naughty royalty, very Princess Margaret," said the designer. "It's very L.A."
 

Alexa_Chung_and_Kate_Bosworth (The Chateau has certainly seen more than its share of dolls, in both senses of the word.)

But back to the collection. In the accessories department, there are several new Alexa styles, including a new Alexa tote, and the original shape done in a gorgeous dark-purple blurred, "loopy leopard" print. The more structured Neely tote comes in tomato red, camel or steel gray leather, or, my favorite, a leopard pony hair. And the Edna has royal-themed charms on the chain handles.

Mulberry even has its own crest, with two English bulldogs and the slogan, "We believe in tea and cake," which appears as a piece of hardware on the Margaret bag.

The shoes are looking good, too -- studded purple suede shoe booties, loopy leopard T-bar flats, and the new Bayswater slouchy boots with hardware modeled after the postman's lock on the Bayswater bag.

Mulberry has been steadily building its ready-to-wear business too, showing on the runway in New York and London. I could see one of the women from "Mad Men" wearing the nude-colored crinoline skirt, jersey top with an over-sized leopard-shaped sequin pin, or the leopard print rabbit fur jacket from fall. (The show is starting to go down a more madcap road. When you watch the premiere, you'll see what I mean.)
 
Julianne Moore chose the black crushed sequin sheath for the premiere of her film "The Kids Are Alright." She didn't make it to the dinner Tuesday night. But Molly Simms, Kate Bosworth, Matthew Rhys, Kelly Osbourne, Gia Coppola, Jessica Joffe and Chung were there, having fun snapping pics of each other in the leopard-print masks that were on each dinner plate, with Fujifilm Instax cameras left as party favors.
 

Mulberryfall I'm just sorry I missed the diving competition at the end of the evening.

Hill was in no hurry to leave. She loves L.A. -- so much so that she's moving her design team to a house in Malibu in October to dream up inspiration for the next collection.

"Beach Blanket Bingo" perhaps?

The Mulberry collection is available online at Mulberry.com.

-- Booth Moore

Upper photo: Mulberry creative sirector Emma Hill, left, and actress/designer Molly Simms. Credit: Mulberry

Middle photo: DJ Alexa Chung, left, and actress Kate Bosworth. Credit: Mulberry

Lower photo: A runway shot from Mulberry's fall ready-to-wear collection. Credit: Mulberry.

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