Emma Hill's signature styles that became synonymous with her time spent at Mulberry reappeared in true form from the staging of the show right down to the bag designs. Claridge's hotel went above and beyond for the designer, thanks to a long standing relationship, to transform the exterior and the hotel's sign to say "Hotel Hill and Friends" – the first time in history that Claridge's has done such. "To honour it, we put up a sign in the same style as their logo," explained Hill. "That was a big moment for us, and I guess, yes, it was historic. I suppose it was one of the many reasons I got a bit teary."
When speaking of the brand and the chosen name Hill said "We called it Hill & Friends because no brand accomplishes anything on its own and of course, there are legions of people behind us – past, present and hopefully future – that made this whole thing work. The friends also include the loyal customer, who are the joists in the whole structure." Of the many friends behind the newly launched London label is CEO Georgia Fendly, the former brand director of Mulberry.
Every detail of the brand's first presentation at London Fashion Week was considered from the front entrance to the hotel name, right down to the breakfast of bacon and eggs that were served in the shapes of biscuits in combination with pink milkshakes prior to the start of the show.
As the models took their turns on the runway, the theme of the show was once more reinforced. Bell boys in burgundy appeared carrying the 48 debut bags on trolleys, atop silver trays and stacked to the top in their arms and slung across their bodies.
All handmade in Somerset, from the finest calf leather, goatskin, suede and calf hair, each bag was polished off with Italian hardware. According to Hill and Friends, the palette was "happy", in a gamut of bright colours that were comprised of combinations such as oxblood and pink, bright green and black liquorice and a few leopard print pieces for good measure.
Dainty details playing off of the "happy" palette appeared in the form of a wink twist lock and a smiley padlock – girlish accents that Hill assures won't deter grown women from investing in the brand explaining: "I think that the bags are actually quite conservative in shape, and it takes a minute or two to understand the wink or smile detail. I think my body of work has always been about the high/low factor and this is just a representation of that."
At a marketable price point $776 to $3,092, the Spring/Summer 16 handbags went from runway to ready-to-buy in a matter of minutes as the collection launched online right after the show, leaving admirers of the beloved beauties little time to pine over purchasing a bag of their own.
Finally, taking one more opportunity to make history at Claridge's or "Hotel Hill and Friends" she added an extra element of fun. Closing the show in true Emma Hill style, the gaggle of girlish excitement ensued as a bell hop came barreling out onto the catwalk, quickly pulled along by two Shetland ponies.
Discover the collection in full via our gallery below...