NEW YORK — Accessories brand MCM is opening a 4,000-square-foot flagship at 100 Greene Street here this fall.
The new SoHo flagship represents a return to the brand’s German roots and Bauhaus style with its clean lines, open space and simplicity. There’s also a nod to SoHo’s manufacturing past. “This freestanding location will serve as a model for future store openings,” said Paolo Fontanelli, international chief executive officer. “We plan to have at least 10 stores in the U.S. in cities such as Miami, Texas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.”
The brand, which operates a smaller unit at The Plaza hotel, had a high profile in the Eighties but lost ground in the early Nineties, when counterfeits were rampant and consumer tastes changed. Now MCM said it’s poised for growth in the U.S.
While the company has said that before, this time it believes youth and pop culture are leading the way. “It’s a combination of our partnerships and celebrity following that have sparked the interest of a younger generation,” said Fontanelli. “We’re strategic with our events and who we target.”
This year, MCM partnered with Pop Art duo Craig & Karl, who painted bold graphics and whimsical eyes peering out of goggles and sunglasses on bags and backpacks. Andrej Pejic, the androgynous Serbian-Australian model, appeared in MCM’s spring campaign and Chloë Sevigny is the current style ambassador.
“Last year we had an incredibly successful pop-up shop at Art Basel that was well attended by influencers,” Fontanelli said. “Pop culture icons who consistently carry our products and appeal to cool kids include Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Iggy Azalea and Cara Delevingne. A snowball effect has kept the brand present in the U.S. market. With the opening of this flagship we’ll capitalize on this momentum.”
The brand has changed a lot since its heyday. The brand’s Cognac Visetos line features an all-over pattern of the MCM logo, laurel and diamond. “We want to modernize these items with solid, no-pattern offerings,” Fontanelli said. “Our classic pieces appeal to our loyal customers but our cleaner silhouettes draw the attention of a new shopper. These pieces have minimal overt MCM branding. For fall, there’s pebbled lambskin, cowhide napa leathers and exotic skins.”
MCM, which had $600 million in gross revenue last year, plans to open stores in cities throughout the world. The brand’s global reach includes Athens, Beijing, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hong Kong, London, Munich, New York, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo and Zurich. MCM is also sold in department stores in the U.S., U.K., Dubai, Italy and Russia. Asia is MCM’s strongest market and it’s making a comeback in Germany with a concept store in Munich and a second boutique planned for Berlin.
MCM’s fortunes declined in the Nineties when founder Michael Cromer was accused of tax evasion; he died in 2007. “With rapid global expansion following the Eighties, MCM’s brand equity was considerably diluted by the previous ownership through indiscriminate licensing agreements that eroded the integrity of the brand,” Fontanelli said. “The brand struggled creatively to evolve beyond the Eighties.”
Sung-Joo Group of South Korea stepped in, first as a retailer and then as a manufacturer. Sung-Joo in 2005 bought the company.
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