Somerset, England—Ending months of speculation, Céline’s in-house accessories designer Johnny Coca has been named the new creative director for Mulberry, according to reports.
British leathergoods brand Mulberry’s creative director position has been vacant since last year after creative director Emma Hill quit, supposedly because then-CEO Bruno Guillon has a plan to move the brand more upscale. That plan didn’t work and Guillon left Mulberry in March. Mulberry reduced its profit outlook for the third time this year after first half sales declined 17%.
Coca, who has been well-received at Céline, has a challenge ahead of him, being able to keep up Mulberry’s growth, its new “affordable” direction and his own upscale point-of-view.
The Guardian notes that it’s unclear what will happen to the price of Mulberry’s bags under Coca’s watch, since “Céline’s prices are what are politely described in the industry as ‘elevated.'” Having already posted several profit warnings this year the accessory brand is reportedly preparing to announce a 1 million pound loss in its first half results this week–a steep decline on the 7.2 million pound profit Mulberry posted over the same period last year.
However, Mulberry has maintained it will post a profit for its fiscal year, including an estimated 4 million pound profit from Christmas sales.
Coca will report to Chairman/CEO Godfrey Davis, and his duties will include accessories, ready-to-wear and windows. His new post begins July 8, 2015.