If you’re not sure whether you want to spend your summer exploring the coast of California or making your way through the Mediterranean, the new Mango x Simon Miller collaboration is here to provide the warm-weather wardrobe of your dreams no matter where your vacation takes you.
The 73-piece line, out today, blends the summer aesthetic the Spanish retailer is known for with the unabashed boldness and cheekiness of the California-based brand which has made a name for itself thanks to its playful shoes and vibrantly coloured apparel. “The root of Mango’s DNA is the Mediterranean, so I kind of thought, What does ‘Mediterranean’ mean to Simon Miller?” Chelsea Hansford, the Simon Miller creative director and CEO, told Refinery29 of the inspiration during the collection’s launch event in Menorca, Spain. “I dreamed up this fisherwoman [muse], and built this under-the-sea world.”
The maritime references translated into bead-embellished fishnet dresses that could double up as cover-ups, seashell-adorned straw bags that look plucked from the ocean after years of being lost at sea, and comically oversized hats inspired by the raffia umbrellas that dot Spain’s beaches, as well as printed matching sets, bright dresses with fringe, and graphic tees.
“I would describe the pieces as ‘playful luxury,’” says Hansford of the collection that ranges in price from £19.99 to £299.99. “They're playful but in luxury, classic silhouettes, so they're really balanced. The collection is attainable, and that's kind of the beauty of it.”
True to the Simon Miller brand, accessories play a central role in the drop, with the label’s ubiquitous platform shoe silhouettes appearing in the form of colourful slides and a sky-high flip-flop heel with an architectural sole. This is rounded out by sun-shaped jewelry, printed bucket hats, and cartoon-like balloon sunglasses, with the latter being a first for the label. “I don't have sunglasses in my main line, and they are such an important part of the way I personally dress and style. So to test them out with Mango, that was really exciting for me,” says Hansford. “If they're very successful, [we’ll] probably do them ourselves.”
The collaboration also includes swimsuits, scarves, and towels. “I design for a lifestyle — that’s always been [part of] Simon Miller,” says Hansford, who creates limited-quantity home goods like robes, tablecloths, and napkins from excess production fabric as part of its Casa line. “When Mango was down to do the full lifestyle [selection] for me, I was like, Finally people can get the full look because it's attainable. For me, that was like the best part.”
This collaboration follows a string of Mango partnerships which, most recently, saw the brand collaborating with influencer Camille Charrière on a collection of holiday party-ready looks. “Collaborations make us think out of the box, to go out a little bit of the routine that we have on the [main] collections, and it lets us do something different,” Justicia Ruano, creative director of Mango’s womenswear, tells Refinery29. “We try to look for brands or for influencers or collaborations that we have something in common with, and we thought about Simon Miller. They have this summer collection approach — very colourful, very playful — they have this freshness.” According to Hansford, once approached by the Mango team, the collaboration was a “no-brainer” for her: “[Both of us] design for the working creative.”
This “perfect synergy” made for a seamless process when it came to creating looks together. “Because they are designers, we spoke the same language with them. So the process was very creative and very easy,” says Ruano. “We were very interested in understanding each other and the identity of the brands, and we tried to respect and mix it together… We tried to make a mix between the West Coast in California and the Mediterranean Coast and make it like a cocktail.”
The result is a refreshing spritz of pieces that shoppers can sport “anywhere and everywhere all over the summer,” according to Hansford: “You can wear them in the Caribbean and look amazing. You can wear them in the Mediterranean and look amazing… You can wear them in the middle of the countryside and upstate New York and look amazing. All you need is some sun.”
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