Meet Mulberry’s Primrose (and the affordable alternatives)

Meet the newest member of the Mulberry family. Toted by Cara Delevingne in the fashion house’s AW campaign, the Primrose is a fresh twist on familiar Mulberry style. Lighter and younger than the Bayswater, it’s almost like a mini doctor’s bag or a riff on the classic 1950s handbag. The curved handle, rounded corners, compact shape and muted colourways all have a vintage-inspired feel, making the Primrose a feminine alternative to Mulberry’s iconic Alexa satchel. 

As well as this putty-coloured version, the bag comes in black and tomato red, finished with a postman’s lock that opens on a sideways hinge. The obvious way to style it would be with peter pan collars, Chelsea boots and a floppy hat – but pairing it with sleek tailoring (like Cara in the campaign imagery, below) is much more powerful.  The long-length shoulder strap means it can be slung over anything, messenger style, or held by the handle with ladylike poise.

It’s “an elegant and understated bag, embracing soft simplicity and classic Mulberry hardware” according to the brand. But even more than that, the Primrose is one of the final designs to come from Emma Hill’s stint as the label’s Creative Director. Hill oversaw the design of the Alexa, Willow and Del Ray - an armful of Mulberry’s most iconic bags – but announced last month that she is leaving the role. Whoever replaces her will no doubt continue the label’s legacy of enviable bags, but they might choose a completely different direction when it comes to design.

But if Mulberry is out of your price range, the high street has a few affordable alternatives. Look for bags that have a similar feel to the Primrose without being an exact replica – there’s a big difference between being inspired by designer pieces, and toting a Mulberry rip-off. This Lulu Guinness satchel shares its size, shape and strap details with the Primrose, but has a quirky, loudmouth charm of its own, while ASOS’s version has a luxurious leather finish, slight trapeze shape and gold hardware that’s similar to Mulberry’s without being too copycat. Dune’s structured bag is a bit more boxy, and Vivienne Westwood has reimagined the style in tartan – this one’s not strictly on the high street but is still more affordable than Mulberry, and it has a bit more impact too.


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