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MCM has un­der­gone some­thing of a shift of late. Launched as a lux­u­ri­ous bag brand in Ger­many dur­ing the 1970s disco era, it found its feet in the mid-1980s, just as a dy­namic hip-hop cul­ture was emerg­ing in New York. To­day, it is poised to build on this mu­si­cal legacy, with an autumn/win­ter col­lec­tion that folds mu­sic into its luxe streetwear, and blends leather crafts­man­ship with a raw, youth­ful air.

To em­pha­sise this theme, MCM has called on two fa­mous faces for its autumn/win­ter 2018 ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign. Amer­i­can rap­per and pro­ducer Rich the Kid stars along­side Span­ish in­flu­encer and DJ Sita Abel­lan (who also ap­peared in one of Ri­hanna’s videos). The pair are clad in MCM cloth­ing em­bla­zoned with the phrase “Das ist MCM”, Ger­man for “this is MCM”. Each car­ries mul­ti­ple bags – some in bold leop­ard print, oth­ers in the shape of vinyl records or cas­sette tapes.

The streetwear in­flu­ence be­hind the cloth­ing is clear. Rich the Kid wears silken track­suit pants and sil­ver puffer jack­ets that con­jure up im­ages of New York’s hip-hop past, while Abel­lan, with her long blue hair, echoes Ja­panese an­ime fig­ures. Bold, brash and shame­lessly in-your-face, this is brand­ing made mod­ern. Fol­low­ing the likes of Off White and Ba­len­ci­aga, the MCM logo is over­sized and splashed down arms and legs, while sun­glasses are retroin­spired and huge, with the lens bi­sected by brand­ing.

It’s prob­a­bly no co­in­ci­dence that both stars are in their mid-twen­ties; this is not a col­lec­tion aimed at the sen­si­ble or the mid­dle-aged. In­stead it screams youth and all the re­bel­lious anger that comes with it. “It used to be the more ma­ture age group dom­i­nat­ing the lux­ury mar­ket,” ex­plains Kim Sung-joo, founder of the Sungjoo Group, which owns MCM. “But now, it’s a younger group, and it has moved from for­mal at­tire to some­thing far more sporty.”

As Rich the Kid pos­tures for the cam­era, drip­ping in di­a­mond-en­crusted jew­ellery, he is watched over by a silent fig­ure, de­scribed by MCM as a “guardian for to­tal peace”. The fig­ure re­sem­bles a mod­ern-day Sa­mu­rai war­rior, clad in leather that has been shaped to look like fu­tur­is­tic ar­mour.

“The old-school lux­ury at­ti­tude, with a high nose and a high price, and treat­ing peo­ple as if they will fol­low blindly, is over. A new life­style is emerg­ing, which I think is no longer about big names, big ego­tis­ti­cal brands and big egos just turn­ing up car­ry­ing a Birkin… that at­ti­tude is re­ally fin­ished. It’s not that we are just show­ing a to­tal look; of course, lots of brands are do­ing that, but we are show­ing a new at­ti­tude, a new ap­proach, a new con­cept,” Kim says.

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