The Remarkable MCM Story: From Dynasty to K-Pop Royalty
Move over Louis Vuitton and Hermes, there is a new luxury leather goods brand capturing the attention and imagination of Generation Z thanks to enthusiastic endorsements from celeb fans like Rihanna & Cristiano Ronaldo, K pop bands and teenagers everywhere. It’s called MCM, a short form for Modern Creation Munchen, and it’s a German-Korean label, that teen fans call “the luxury backpack brand’ thanks to the thick-strapped pack stitched from supple cognac leather embossed in a repetitive print logo cognac visetos design.
Think of it as new school luxury – a de-construction of classic design that counts three cities as its major influence: Berlin, Seoul and Los Angeles. In the MCM universe, customers are referred to as tribes and global nomads, travelling the world looking for new experiences and sharing them on a multitude of digital and social platforms. Personalization and a mobile-first approach drives every single decision and creation for the company. Surprisingly, there are more than 700 stores now in 42 countries that sell a regular stream of limited edition art and celebrity collaboration collections.
What makes MCM interesting is its ability to bridge the worlds of street fashion and luxury design. A compact backpack will set you back about $900, while a roomier version can exceed $1,400 depending on the finish and detailing. If you study the silhouettes and detailing carefully you can almost see an Apple-like quality – clean lines, perfect proportions and above all, functional. These are items crafted to perform and look good.
If you watched Dynasty in the 1980s, you may have spotted Blake and Krystal carrying MCM luggage when travelling. Diana Ross used it exclusively when touring the globe. The company was actually founded in 1976 in Germany by a man named Michael Cromer Munchen who had the vision to create a new heritage accessories brand for the next generation. He convinced Herb Ritts to photograph supermodel Cindy Crawford naked except for her MCM bag. The brand stalled over the next decade everywhere except in South Korea where it had signed a licensing deal with Sungjoo Group. That firm would acquire MCM in 2005 and undertake a radical reinvention.
The key to MCM’s success is in part to Michael Michalsky, Adidas former global creative director, who brought a youthful eye and design aesthetic that captured the zeitgeist of teen culture. His sporty, dynamic designs quickly exceeded $500 million in sales. China, Korea and Japan became MCM’s most popular markets.
“MCM is more colourful, more expressive than a brand that has 150 years of history on its back, It is much more youthful, as well,” explains Schoemberger.
“The young generation expects brands to be interactive and for luxury to be functional,” adds MCM Chief Visionary Officer Sung-Joo Kim. She explains that millennials are born with computers, so they have a completely different approach to life and expect brands to be digital. She wisely noticed early on that traditional luxury houses appeared as ‘temples, one-sided and arrogant’ and this turned off young consumers. MCM was to be interactive and responsive.
With this backstory and direction in mind, it isn’t surprising that the MCM fragrance is very much designed to be noticed thanks to a revolutionary bottle: A backpack-shaped flacon. The bottle recreates the iconic backpack down to the tiniest detail. And it houses a fragrance with a twist. Perfumer Clement Gavarry reworked the fruity-floral theme with a fresh green character. It’s this green note that acts like a fresh wind that uplifts the raspberry, jasmine and vanilla notes. It almost has a sheer texture, light and clean.
A Floral fruity-green scent for her or him
The MCM fragrance opens with a hyper-real red raspberry note and fresh apricot
Blends with a sheer floral bouquet of peony and jasmine with a hint of green violet leaf
Sits on a base of vanilla, ambrox, sandalwood and white moss, which gives it an urban edge
The MCM fragrance is available in Canada at shoppersdrugmart.ca, thebay.com, select Shoppers Drug Mart stores and Hudson’s Bay stores.