how the other half shop;
Heaven help me, reader; for I am in love with a pair of shoes.
So what? I hear you say. Aren’t you silly ladies always obsessing over some pair of shoes or other? Well, quite; but I spotted this particular pair in Mulberry’s new Edinburgh store on Thursday night after the label invited me along to their opening party. So they’re a little beyond my means.
Now, I appreciate that these shoes are not to everybody’s taste (“£5 from the New Look clearance basket?” was my sister’s guess when I sent her the above picture) but I think that’s why I like them. They are available in a more muted black, of course, what with Mulberry being a byword for a more understated elegance, but if the evidence of the in-store women’s ready-to-wear collection – previously unavailable in Mulberry’s Scottish retail stores – is anything to go by, burnt orange is this season’s colour.
The new store has just opened opposite the company’s previous store location on Multrees Walk, Edinburgh’s designer alley, and it’s absolutely gorgeous – all wide-open spaces and tasteful gold fittings. In keeping with similar stores there are no prices on anything, which makes the browsing experience a little strange for those of us not used to it, but the staff are friendly, approachable and on exactly the right side of non-irritatingly attentive. The assistant of whom I enquired just how long I would have to save up in order to be able to purchase my flame-coloured beauties had to look them up on a store iPad for me, given the newness of the range, but he leaned over the site a little making me think it’s not something they’re supposed to talk about. I guess you can either afford Mulberry or you can’t; and if you can’t then it really doesn’t matter.
I was at the party on my own after a last-minute work emergency kept my Blonde Date in the office, and after I was done wandering around (with such an exclusive range there’s not a lot to the shop) I suppose I looked a little disorientated, or so I confessed to the friendly store manager. “Don’t be ridiculous!” she said. “Everybody’s welcome here.”
[ABOVE: the Lydian String Quartet entertains Mulberry new store browsers]
And she was right. If anything, the atmosphere in the Mulberry store reminded me most of the famous Tiffany’s on my first visit to New York. Much like on that occasion, once I was done being made to feel like a VIP there were still a couple of affordable little treats I could have picked up if I had just been paid (although I refuse to believe Mulberry’s craftspersons are so unfamiliar with Doctor Who that they didn’t know exactly what they were doing when they designed those little leather tassels).
There was plenty to keep those of us who hadn’t brought our gold AMEX cards with us entertained, including delicious Nyetimber champagne and canapés (rare roast Aberdeen beef, Crowdie cheese tartlets and these lovely mini scones I was DENIED due to their being filled with manky salmon and mankier caviar) and an in-store demonstration from a Mulberry craftsman. He had brought sheets of fine leather, marked out in chalk where the cuts would be made for stitching, and we discovered that although waste was kept to a minimum anything left was sent to local schools for use in their craft projects. I have decided that, when I grow up, I would like to be one of the many fabulously eccentric older ladies present; one of whom was guaranteed to say every time a piece of leather was held up “you could make a skirt out of that”. I had a leather skirt once, but I was 19 at the time and in denial about how much of a dick I looked.
Mulberry’s new store is located at 7 Multrees Walk, EH1 3DQ. Check the website for store opening times over Christmas.
With thanks to Mulberry for inviting me along to a thoroughly fabulous evening, and for supplying a couple of photos – the one used in the header and the one of the craftsman at work. I didn’t get his name, but he had a fantastic West Country accent.