The forthcoming capsule collection created between the luxury apparel label MCM and Britain’s pre-eminent young designer of the last few years, Christopher Raeburn, arguably represents the meeting of two very different worlds.
Raeburn is a man famous for his repurposing of military fabrics (his SS15 outerwear pieces made use of decommissioned parachutes, for example), with the ‘REMADE’ concept a signature aesthetic of the designer. Meanwhile, MCM is a luxury accessories label founded in the heady early jet-setting days of 1970s Munich and is about to celebrate its 40th year in the business.
Yet, despite the immediate assumptions, there is actually far more in common between the two brands than meets the eye. Both are grounded in the global-nomadic lifestyle: just one has been doing it for longer than the other. Travel and movement are core undercurrents running through both labels: Raeburn’s designs make use of pieces already well-traveled; MCM’s pieces are made for traveling.
But the act of fundamentally deconstructing and reconstructing MCM’s signature pieces by Raeburn has created something entirely new and fresh. Add to this a game-changing, digital art practice like Universal Everything for an interactive international debut, and you’ve created something far more powerful than the individual elements of this collection.
We spoke with Raeburn himself to understand his thoughts and thinking behind this highly esoteric capsule collection.
Tell us about the collaboration, why now and what should we be most excited for?
MCM celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and their values really stand out and appeal to me, in particular its forward-thinking nature and modernity. The partnership provides great opportunities for us to innovate together, both in product and digital presentation. I was initially enchanted on a visit to Seoul and found Mrs. Kim (MCM’s chairperson and chief visionary officer) to be a very inspiring person. The collection is going to be great but I’m especially a big fan of the bomber jacket in the Limonta jacquard and the modular bag system – I think it offers something really fresh for the 21st-century nomad.
You’re defined by an approach of repurposing, remaking and reinterpreting. How exactly did you reinterpret the past, present, and future of MCM?
This capsule collection, which is genderless and unisex, blends the best of technology and craftsmanship, utilizing MCM’s storied travel heritage and 40 years of innovation to re-imagine what travel means today and in the future. The result is a testament to imagination and innovation—as well as a bold statement of sustainability and functionality in fashion today. This is luxury with integrity.
MCM originated in Munich and Christopher Raeburn is from London. Do you see the two cities as influences? From both a traditional and modern perspective, what similarities and differences are there in design styles?
I think this is really a conversation about a truly global collection that takes influences not just from Munich and London but really thinks about what it means to be a global nomad. Providing flexibility to the pieces truly underpins our ‘Made to Move’ concept.
How do you think Christopher Raeburn’s utility-focused design compliments MCM’s propensity for grandeur?
MCM is a brand for the global nomad who is genderless, ageless, and unconstrained by rules and boundaries. While the brand is very well known for its luxurious backpacks and accessories, Raeburn is a credible and inventive designer who merges sustainable innovation with a singular design. We believe this collaboration fits naturally as both brands seek to define a contemporary aesthetic and leverage functional innovation to create cutting-edge products.
You’re working with Universal Everything on an audio-visual experience, what can you tell us about that?
Universal Everything is a digital art and design collective, inventing new forms of moving image for the screens of the future, with past projects for Apple, Chanel, Radiohead, V&A Museum and the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House projection project has inspired us to create even more immersive, powerful moments in these contexts.
The MCM X CR project is Universal Everything’s first immersive catwalk collaboration. After initial creative discussions with the creative team, they quickly knew that the installation should be an immersive, multi-sensorial experience, with the models at the heart of it. The concept was to create the illusion of models on a continuous uplifting journey through constantly changing environments. This idea then informed the decision process for the entire experience, creating a circular stage design and projecting the immersive environments onto a curved 360-degree screen. The chapters or scenes they have created for the installation are abstract interpretations of unique environments that the models appear to navigate. Every environment features its own choreography and animations inspired by real-world weather.
How do both brands aim to continue innovating and pushing boundaries in the future? Will this be an ongoing relationship?
MCM has always collaborated with great talents. In the long term, we are committed to sustainability. While it is too early to say whether we will produce a second capsule collection, we certainly will continue to tap into Christopher Raeburn’s expertise on innovation and sustainability. At the core, MCM believes in its travel heritage. The brand not only enables travel, but inspires the process of breaking down barriers and bringing cultures together. MCM is continuously evolving in this direction, collaborating with designers, creators, artists, musicians, and designers to reach the goal of innovation, sustainability, and creativity.
As a starting point, MCM chose this collaboration with Christopher Raeburn, who has standout achievements in those fields. The capsule collection is a sustainable approach to material and concepts aimed at the global nomad. MCM will build on this by reexamining the use of PVC. Further, the brand will continue to embrace partnerships and collaborations to fulfill its mission. During CondéNast Luxury Conference in April, the brand also announced its partnership with [RED] by committing to a contribution of 10 Million Dollars across the next decade to support the organization’s global work.
The MCM x Christopher Raeburn capsule collection drops January 2017.
Read more LC:M review of Christoper Raeburn’s FW16 collection.