SWEET DEAL: Creating an nth degree of collaboration, the Danish fashion designer Camilla Staerk has joined forces with M&M’s to create the M&M’s by Staerk Designer Collection.
The design upgrade is timed with the candy’s 75th anniversary and it will be introduced Sept. 4 exclusively at Target nationwide. The colorful M-stamped chocolates aren’t getting an overhaul, but Staerk has upgraded the packaging with abstract interpretations of animal print-inspired designs for the brand’s milk chocolate and peanut M&M’s. Staerk drew from Louise Nevelson sculptures for the milk chocolate print and from Mariel Hemingway’s look in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” for the peanut version, which may or may not be immediately recognizable by the average Target shopper. But Staerk’s tie to M&M’s isn’t strictly an aesthetic one.
Growing up, there was a sugar-fueled tradition during her family’s and friends’ annual ski trips to the French, Austrian or Swiss Alps. The younger set were allowed to stash M&M’s in their pockets to help keep them going during a day on the slopes. That led Staerk to “have strong reason to believe that M&M’s made me a better skier.”
Staerk, who still has her own signature ready-to-wear and accessories collection, has branched out into home decor designs and commissions. She is creating textiles for Comwell Hotels and interior design direction for New York apartment concepts. She is currently working on uniforms and interiors for a Williamsburg restaurant that will open next year in New York.
Staerk also continues to collaborate with her fellow Dane Helena Christensen and will add swimwear and accessories to their Staerk & Christensen label. Having designed jewelry for Skagen, they are working on a home decor line for a Danish-American interior company that will launch next year. The New York-based duo have also created short films and photography exhibitions together, and are currently working on a new exhibition for a New York gallery. Through a deal with the travel company Thomson they designed boyfriend shirt that were gifted to guests at Sensatori Resorts in Mexico, Jamaica and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for a limited time this summer.
Aside from Ralph Lauren’s daughter Dylan running a candy emporium and Maria Sharapova fronting her Sugarpova brand, the fashion-inclined haven’t really submerged in the sector. These two industries might not be that far apart considering the Mars Inc.-owned M&M’s knockoff history. The company founder’s son Forrest Mars reportedly got the idea for the candy shell covered chocolates during the Spanish Civil War, after seeing British soldier eating Smarties candy. After patenting its own process, Mars introduced M&M’s in 1941.