By  on August 28, 2007

Just when you thought the handbag market couldn't get more competitive, an old faithful is making a comeback.

MCM, the Munich, Germany-based accessories brand, is relaunching in the U.S. with a new look. Michael Michalsky, the former global creative director for Adidas was tapped to be MCM's creative director in 2005 and his new designs will hit stores such as Bloomingdale's, Intermix and Fred Segal next month. Styles such as a purple patent leather satchel have already been spotted on trendsetters including Sofi a Coppola and model Anouck Lepere.

The brand, which was founded in 1976 by Michael Cromer, is known for its monogram logo handbags and luggage. MCM exploded in the Eighties, and then saw a decline in the Nineties, with the exception of the Asian and South Korean markets, according to Sung-Joo Kim, chairwoman of Sungjoo Group and MCM Group. Sungjoo Design Tech and Distribution Inc., based in South Korea, acquired a majority stake in the fi rm in 2005.

"MCM looks to become the luxury market success story of the 21st century," said Kim, who started her career at Bloomingdale's in 1985 and launched brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Sonia Rykiel with Sungjoo. "The MCM woman is a true leader on the business front and a fashion icon in the making," added Kim of the firm's target demographic.

The company has plans to exceed $240 million in worldwide retail sales with 150 points of sale in 50 countries. The brand is especially successful in South Korea, where it is in 68 doors. In 2008, the firm also has plans to open boutiques in 30 U.S. cities including Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Washington. A Madison Avenue flagship is in the works as well, and will be from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet, although a location hasn't been announced.

There are plans to expand MCM into a lifestyle fashion brand, with additional product categories.

The bags range in price from $300 to $500 wholesale. Some styles are sleek, such as the patent leather satchel in anthracite, while others incorporate the archival logo in a fresh way, such as the blue bowler with red and white racing stripes."I grew up with MCM when I was teenager in the Eighties," said Michalsky. "Then, it was a hot brand with stores all over the world. It was quite the status symbol; the only global luxury brand out of Germany." Michalsky added the current designs are modern versions of vintage MCM bags. While the leathers are pliable, the brand has also ensured they are lightweight, durable and waterproof.

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