An interview with Anna Kreeger: the mademoiselle behind Monsieur Hulot
M Hulot is the brand new London-based accessories label specialising in small leather goods born out of a longing for purity in design, attention to detail and love for craftsmanship.
Launched in 2011 by Anna Kreeger, M Hulot offers a range of handbags, purses and belts perfectly distinguished by functional simplicity, clean shapes, true quality of materials, timeless elegance and a dose of fun and femininity.
A real utilitarian style and lo-fi approach runs through each product, directly inspired by the character of stylishly attired Frenchman Monsieur Hulot – protagonist of a series of films in the 50s and 60s, including Mon Oncle and Play Time.In all the collections, you can find the peculiar signs of his gentleman style in a colour combination with a perfect balance and appeal.
Exploiting skilled experts and a leather working heritage, M Hulot is made in the UK with the finest Italian skins and in Istanbul from beautiful Turkish leathers.
We met designer and director Anna for a little chat, in which she reveals her next SS13 collection.
In just one year, the success of M Hulot has been rapid and has quickly picked up a strong consumers’ consent. What mix of factors, in your opinion, is the secret of this well-deserved appreciation?
Thank you. I’m glad that you think so! When I started planning M Hulot I had a really clear idea of the direction I wanted to take it. Obviously the label has changed and developed, even over this short period, but I always knew the type of product I wanted to offer, the stores I wanted to be in, and the customers I wanted to attract. I guess what has been great is that the designs have a freshness which could be considered youthful, but also a soberness, so they appeal to a broad range of customers. M Hulot is also part-way between “fashion” and “lifestyle” so it can fall into both camps. Overall though, I just wanted to create beautiful pieces!
Some designers are focused on combining design with heritage and tradition. There seems to be the same intention in your work. What does heritage and tradition mean for you?
Personally, I think that the best bags and leather goods draw on tradition and classic design, because above all, a bag has to be functional. I often feel that some bags have too much “going on” and love that a simple shape or beautiful material can actually speak more loudly. I think it’s natural for a lover of simplicity to be obsessed by heritage and craftsmanship. I love being at the factory and seeing close up what we can achieve and what the options are. A large part of the collection is made in England, and I think this is something really special, and luckily more and more people are looking into this as an option.
People often establish an emotional bond with leather accessories that lasts over time, as sometimes happens with a jewel. Do you find this in your customers? Are we approaching the end of consumerism by this way of appreciation of the value of every single object?
I like that! I think people do have a connection to their leather goods. A bag or purse often contains treasured possessions and I think, therefore, it’s in people’s psyche that it has to be something special and completely reflective of their personality. I also think the strength, heritage and expense of leather means people buy leather goods with a view to making them last and keeping them forever.
About your SS13 collection: what has inspired you and could you describe the collection in three words?
For SS13, the collection has expanded to include more premium bowling bags and bucket totes. I really pushed the idea of colour blocking: mixing bright primary colours back to natural and nude leathers. On my mood board were the patch-worked textiles of Louise Bourgeois, Peter Doig’s paintings, colourful rooms from the World of Interiors Magazine and vintage briefcases and luggage. The collection is colourful, earthy, joyful.
When are you satisfied with one of your creations?
That’s a hard one… sometimes you are satisfied and then you become dissatisfied when you begin work on the next collection, and are always striving to do better! I suppose, as my work is about simplicity, I am always asking myself “Is this too much?” vs. “Is this enough?” and “Would I buy it?”
Here at The Upcoming, we would definitely buy!
Find out more on M Hulot’ s artisanal and quality products here.
Laura De Vittori