Retail Kingmaker: Alexa Chung Is Mulberry's First Lady of Fashion

July 19, 2011


Mulberry bushes are best known in nursery rhymes. Unless you’re a stockbroker. In the past 12 months, shares of British luxury leather goods company Mulberry rose 526 percent to $34 a share, making it the best-performing apparel retail stock in the world. The 40-year-old brand has a very famous British woman to thank for the boost. Once again, let’s sing the praises of Duchess Cather… wait. Huh?

Surely, Bloomberg is mistaken. On Monday, the news service reported that television personality and socialite Alexa Chung, above, caused this astounding rise in profit. Rubbish! Isn’t Mrs. Cambridge Britain’s reigning fashion queen?

While Kate planned her big day, Alexa flaunted her namesake Mulberry bag around London. The Alexa, a schoolboy satchel with a messenger strap and belt-buckle detailing, carries a steep starting price of $900.

Alexa’s no prim princess. She’s a tomboy who scours vintage stores and wears thrifted menswear with high-end labels to movie premieres. The “Middleton effect” may be selling dresses, but Alexa holds the pursestrings. Britain now has two retail queens.

Only one bolsters stocks.

Photo courtesy of Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Katherine Boyle reports on arts, museums and culture for the Style section.
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