First celebrated, then laughed at and almost forgotten in the end. After the total crash, including the forced renovation, hardly anyone expected that the once proud brand could build on old successes. Kim Sung-joo, the abandoned daughter of a Korean industrial magnate, saw an opportunity and led the brand back to its old reputation.…
Beginning and ascent
MCM, Moderne Creation Munich. Three capital letters and a branch of laurel. It all started in 1972 when Mr. Cromer and his wife opened a hairdressing salon in Munich on Kurfürstenstrasse. The salon was a meeting place for celebrities from the region. In 1975 the couple created cosmetic cases in black made of plasticized linen for their customers with the classic MCM logo in white. Not completely satisfied with the result, the couple went a step further and produced a collection of bags, suitcases and accessories in cognac-colored imitation leather. The edges were covered with real leather and brass locks provided the shine, which gave the collection that certain something. The breakthrough came in 1976 when Sammy Davis Jr. (American entertainer) bought MCM articles while visiting Munich. Now MCM began to rise into the international jet set. The product range was then expanded to include other accessories such as perfume and the brand found a loyal following, particularly in Asia.
The Asian crisis in 1997 led to a sudden drop in sales. In addition, there were allegations of tax evasion against Michael Cromer, which significantly torpedoed the ongoing negotiations with banks. In 2000 Michael Cromer was finally convicted of tax evasion and MCM was dismantled by a renovator. After several changes of ownership, Sung-Joo Kim finally acquired the company. One of the most impressive and most respected personalities in today's fashion world with a crazy life story. Born and raised in one of the richest and most influential families in South Korea. Had she behaved according to the prevailing rules of Confucian South Korea, she would have had to marry the eldest son of another Korean tycoon. But she didn't feel like doing that, because she wanted to live her own life. She secretly married a Canadian and in doing so has caused her family an unforgivable loss of face. The father immediately banished her from the family, deleted her from the family tree and forbade her to have any contact with the family. He also turned the tap on her immediately. She developed into a fighter who had to learn everything from scratch and who took big steps to resurrect the MCM label as a hip fashion label.
Back to the old glory
Radical restructuring was initiated after the takeover. More than half of all stores closed and the focus shifted to Asia, where the brand continued to enjoy an excellent reputation. The range was radically reduced and Michael Michalsky, then head designer at Adidas, was hired as creative director. Today the bags are no longer just brown or white but are now available in yellow, bright red or sea blue. The brand is somewhere between youthful, sporty streetwear and elegant designer fashion. An important part of this resurrection was the cooperation with various prominent guest designers such as musicians will.i.am or the Berlin gallery owner Johann König. Finely processed and to buy at high prices, MCM collections are meanwhile in over 400 noble shops around the globe and also in the best location in Zurich, where the current company headquarters are.