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.