BERLIN — MCM is moving on up in the global accessories marketplace.
And that includes Berlin's Kurfürstendamm, where the German accessories brand has relocated several blocks north to become a neighbor of Chanel, Chopard, Sonia Rykiel, YSL, Louis Vuitton and Hermès.
Founded in the Seventies by Michael Cromer in Munich, the logo-studded luggage and leather accessories brand exploded in the Eighties, slowed in the Nineties and then went into a decline. South Korea was the exception.
In that country, MCM license-holder and, since 2005, owner Sungjoo Design Tech & Distribution, has built it into a $65 million business. Sales in South Korea are up 45 percent this year, said Michael Michalsky, the former Adidas global creative director brought in by Sungjoo as creative director last year to jump-start the brand.
Michalsky was in Berlin to check on what he said will be "the nucleus, the blueprint for all new MCM stores." A duty-free shop based on the Berlin model is to open next month in Seoul, the search is on for a new location in Munich and the MCM shop in Düsseldorf is slated for a renovation. The U.S., where MCM had a store on Rodeo Drive during its heyday, is in Michalsky's sights for a small, selective launch a season or two down the road.
The Berlin store will officially open this month, including features such as a floor-to-ceiling curtain studded with 5,000 MCM badges for the back wall. Nevertheless, with MCM hot pink or black-and-white soccer balls sharing the spotlight with Michalsky's first capsule MCM bag and ready-to-wear collection, the 1,000-square-foot store was making the most of World Cup action.
The new décor and merchandise is a far cry from the tacky image most Germans associate with MCM. Not that Michalsky has anything against tacky. "These days there's no clear definition between good and bad taste, especially if it's taken out of context," he said.
The Barcelona chairs — now upholstered in MCM black vinyl — would probably horrify their creator, Mies van der Rohe, Michalsky admitted. "It's a bit sacrilegious, a bit tongue-in-cheek, but we did it on purpose."
Other new signature interior features: the black shag rug like the one Michalsky has in his TV room at home; the "futuristic baroque" black Murano glass chandelier with black tulle shades; the dressing rooms padded floor to ceiling with vintage MCM vinyl; the bare concrete floor; the monolithic mirror, and the windows that function like a glass wall opening directly into the store. "Especially with a brand like this we need to immediately invite people in or they'll see MCM and say 'Oooh,'" he said wrinkling his nose in mock horror.While the brand still has to overcome image problems in Germany, MCM has been picked up by some important trend stores like Petra Teufel in Hamburg. And Michalsky was particularly proud of selling MCM "into 55 of the best stores in Italy" last season, and more important, selling out.
From the start, Michalsky has said that he wants to gear "this brand to where I and my friends would use it." So what did he change? First, he got rid of the cognac monogram. Then he reissued the MCM black-on-black logo series, and came up with the Munich series. This incorporates a bi-color stripe — "like travelers used to paint on their luggage to identify their baggage," he explained, as well as a heraldic Munich lion. He also pumped up the color, introducing the logo in white and raspberry or white and lime green.
The raspberry-white series is already a top 10 seller in South Korea, he said, "which tells me that people want a more youthful, funky feeling."
Bags range from 350 to 820 euros, or $440 to $1,035 at current exchange rates, and more upmarket versions will be introduced for fall. But for now, Michalsky has also pulled together a small rtw collection, primarily in black — his favorite color. It includes items like a monogram trench in a high-tech polyester gabardine (990 euros, or $1,250), mini bombers in glove leather (1,050 euros, or $1,325) and skinny jeans (275 euros, or $350.)
Logos. Monograms. Michalsky can't get enough. "I'm a kid of the Eighties. I've always loved monograms ... and in accessories especially, people are interested in logos, which have been there a long time. They want something with history, whether it's good or bad."
MCM Holding is headquartered in Switzerland, with production in Asia and Europe, though Michalsky said "we're in the middle of shifting more and more production to Europe." As for design, "we're doing it all over the world. It's a small and precise team, and we meet in Milan, Korea, Berlin, wherever. I'm used to working like that."
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)