Mulberry magician Emma Hill’s has been made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to British fashion.
Mulberry creative director Ms Hill, whose designs have helped the Somerset-based company’s profits soar, and whose fans include the Duchess of Cambridge, was presented with a CBE for services to fashion by the Queen yesterday.
The firm has blossomed in recent years with much of the credit going to Ms Hill, 42, who introduced the phenomenally successful Alexa bag, named after fashionista Alexa Chung.
The bag sold in such vast quantities that the factory in Chilcompton, Somerset, where the company is based, has struggled to keep up. It has led to Mulberry expanding its operations with a new factory in Bridgwater, and brought international fashion acclaim to Somerset.
Accompanied by six-year-old son Hudson, the award-winning designer said she was overwhelmed by the honour.
“I didn’t think I was going to be so nervous, but it makes me incredibly proud to be British,” she said.
“The Queen asked me if we manufactured in Britain and I told her that we are currently opening our second factory in Somerset, which I think is great for the area, for the economy and the country as a whole.
“Being awarded a CBE from the Queen is a lovely and very unexpected honour.
“I feel like I am accepting it on behalf of the whole of Mulberry, as a reflection of what the business as a whole has achieved over the last four years.
“As an English brand with a passion for Great British creativity, craft and manufacturing we are absolutely delighted to have been recognised in this way.”
The daughter of a professor of mathematics, Ms Hill moved to New York where she worked for Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and Gap before joining Mulberry as creative director in March 2008.
She brought a slicker look to the quintessentially English brand, and under her direction the brand, founded 42 years ago by Roger Saul, has gone from strength to strength.
Earlier this year it announced pre-tax profits up by 54 per cent to £36 million. Some of its classic leather bags can retail for around £1,000.
Her flair for covetable designs has won her numerous awards, including Best Accessories Designer at 2011’s Elle Style Awards, as well as helping Mulberry to the honour of Best Designer Brand 2010’s British Fashion Awards.