Maximalist glamour

The Royal Menagerie is a new collection by Mokum; it is a play on the idea of decadence and luxury – a contemporary take on 1970s Las Vegas glamour, and a reimagining of Elvis’s Graceland home.

Thematic and theatrical, the collection is the brainchild of Catherine Martin, an award-winning costume and set designer. 

The director-designer duo of Catherine and Baz Luhrmann has become one of Hollywood’s most prolific and creative pairings of late, and it is alongside the design of the 2022 film Elvis that Catherine produced The Royal Menagerie in collaboration with Mokum. 

“I think the late 1960s and the 1970s are a nostalgic period because they represent a kind of lost glamour and exuberance, and a rejection of the utilitarian,” Catherine says. 

The collection takes inspiration from this period and the exuberance of Elvis’s style. “The textures and patterns represent this enormously optimistic time. I love the idea of luxury that has an ironicness about it, that doesn’t take itself too seriously and stimulates your senses and makes you smile when you walk past, and I think these mood boosters ultimately improve our quality of life.”

Tactile velvets, animal prints and decorative botanicals are the hallmarks of the collection whose somewhat whimsical maximalist aesthetic delivers a rich array of colours and patterns in luxurious fabrics. 

“Being able to indulge in what Baz calls the ‘Elvis decorative aesthetic’, this kind of baroque 1970s view of the world which is very liberating because you are abounded by convention … I think that art and culture, telling our stories, celebrating, actually helps to elevate us as human beings.”

Elvis’s love of peacocks (and his infamous peacock-embroidered jumpsuit) informed the Royal Peacock design (pictured), while his porcelain animal statues became the basis of the Monkey Business wallpaper (pictured).

The singer’s iconic and eccentric attire, particularly his embellished jumpsuits and capes and bejewelled belts, at once beautifully intricate and shamelessly bold, were the inspiration behind the Panthera print (pictured), which is woven in a cut-pile velvet construction with the leopard motif sunken into the cloth.

As Mokum design director Stephanie Moffitt puts it: “Illustrating the glamour of Elvis’s rock and roll lifestyle are plush, richy coloured patterned velvets, animal prints and exquisite embroidery … Tropically scented palm greens, deep teals, whisky tinged blush pinks and burnished gold are set into a base of refined neutrals, constructing a rich, heady colour palette.” We’re impressed.

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