MCM makes some noise

Tokyo is back as the preferred launch pad for luxury brands to leave a global impression - MCM’s Ginza flagship tower is the latest.

Tokyo is a beloved city in the fashion world. Designers, models, editors and buyers alike love to flock to the Japanese capital for inspiration and good times. Lately, many brands have rediscovered Tokyo – after Seoul briefly was considered the new Asian gateway – to either hold shows like Dior Man under Kim Jones last November and Giorgio Armani next month or in the case of MCM to open a blockbuster tower in Ginza to underscore the brand’s ambition to redefine luxury and enter Japan with a bang.

With new global creative officer Dirk Schönberger on board for half a year now, owner Sung-Joo Kim is bullish about growing the brand to exceed one billion dollars in turnover by 2020. And it’s clear how they plan to do this: By opening multi-level floor stores, which not only sell products but also let the consumers immerse themselves in the world of MCM. Over several floors art and sound installations, a mini MCM museum and elegant plant-overgrown café were installed to elevate the brand to a lifestyle experience.

Less bling, more product thing is Schönberger’s mantra. His first collection for the house is eagerly awaited and will hit stores including this Ginza one in September 2019 and lend MCM a sorely needed, new understated elegance, which will be less logo-driven. Only with new categories like serious ready-to-wear and beauty can future growth be in the cards. Schönberger has secured a young, global superstar for the next ad campaign who appeals to the key demographic of rich millennials but also helps to reposition. He has also ushered in a new 1976 store concept on Berlin’s Torstrasse and has partnered up with Gonzalez & Haase, the Berlin-based architecture studio which is giving global retail a new face with its Balenciaga stores. Schönberger hopes to present the new look in an upcoming Munich store opening, the brand’s original home.

But Big in Japan is what MCM wants to be next so all the stops were pulled out last Thursday including a noisy, live tribal drum performance followed by an elegant Izakaya meal fusing Japanese and German food hosted by Sung-Joo Kim and Schönberger. The duo has understood that’s what’s trending in Tokyo, is spreading globally.