Friday, July 10, 2015

Lenox Square Lands Another Luxe Lifestyle Brand: MCM

Beats x MCM collaboration
Popular lifestyle brand coming to Buckhead

MCM or Modern Creation Munich, plans to open a new store at Lenox Square in Buckhead.  The nearly 2,500 square foot store will open in the former Kate Spade boutique on the first floor of the Luxury Wing.  Kate Spade relocated to Phipps Plaza last year.  

According to a building permit filed this week with the City of Atlanta, $100,000 will be spent to convert the space to suit MCM's needs.  

MCM previously operated a store at Lenox Square in the late 80s and early 90s near where Urban Outfitters is today, but it closed about 20 years ago.  

The MCM label, which originally stood for Michael Cromer Munich, was founded by Michael Cromer in 1976 in Munich, Germany.  The company's pricey leather suitcases and handbags became popular during the 1980s for being "ostentatious and flashy." At the height of the brand's popularity in 1993, it operated 250 stores worldwide, with sales of a quarter billion dollars.  Following a 1995 investigation of Cromer for alleged tax evasion by German tax authorities, MCM's financial stability was questioned.  In 1997, the company was restructured, and its stores and trademark rights were sold.   


"In 2005, the worldwide rights to the MCM brand were acquired by Sungjoo Group, a South Korean retail business founded by Sung-Joo Kim. Kim re-launched the brand in 2006 with a new store in Berlin and appointed German designer Michael Michalsky as MCM’s creative director."  Since 2006, the brand has again become quite popular and additional stores and wholesale accounts have been added around the world.  Today the brand has twelve "flagship boutiques" along with being in over 300 branded, specialty and departments stores in 35 countries.   

MCM is known for their signature bags and purses but also offers select other small goods and shoes. The brand's MCM logo pattern, called Cognac Visetos, is found on most of their products, often printed on coated canvas.  In addition, the brand recently introduced a new collaboration, Beats x MCM, that pairs the brand's signature logo with the now Apple-owned Beats headphones and speakers.  

One of the most popular MCM items is their assorted backpacks that start in the $600 range and can go as high as nearly $2,000.  The MCM logo belts and hats are also popular pieces of the collection. Most belts are priced around $300, hats around $400, and made of coated canvas and leather.  

Personally, it amazes me that brands like Louis Vuitton, Goyard and MCM are able to command the prices they do for products made of coated canvas.  Leather products from the likes of Bottega Veneta and Salvatore Ferragamo seem far superior in craftsmanship and value to comparable items from other designers.   The only MCM I like is Mid Century Modern. 

MCM is already carried at three stores in Lenox Square, two just in the Luxury Wing: Neiman Marcus and Pure Denim. Bloomingdale's also carries the line.  

MCM is just the latest brand to choose the established success of Lenox Square over the new Buckhead Atlanta.  I broke news earlier this year of Escada's plans to open a new boutique at Lenox Square, adjacent to the MCM store. Lifestyle brand Tory Burch will open a second Buckhead store at Lenox Square, with an existing store at Phipps Plaza. Tesla and CH Carolina Herrera opened in Lenox Square last year, while Diane Von Furstenberg added a signature boutique to the mall earlier this year. 

What are your thoughts on the MCM brand?  Are you willing to spend big bucks on coated canvas because of its cache, or do you prefer quality leather pieces?  What are your thoughts on the Buckhead Atlanta project and how it has impacted Lenox Square, either for better or for worse?  

Please share your thoughts below.  

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't speak to this brand but I do have three pairs of Ferragamo's and can attest to the quality of their shoes. On the other hand, I have a pair of Tod's that cost a little more than a pair of drivers from Ferragamo and the Tod's shoes are terrible. The build quality is awful and they wear very quick.

Anonymous said...

I still have a MCM checkbook register I got as a graduation present in 1986 from the original Lenox store. It is stamped Made In West Germany, and still looks great. Don't know about the quality now, but their products used to be well made.

Anonymous said...

I don't see Buckhead Atlanta surviving with it's luxe strategy. But, I don't know what else it could be. Shake Shack is probably the most successful spot, followed by AF&B. I don't think Gypsy and Southern Gentleman will make it. The entire Buckhead is going to be totally transformed over the next 6-8 years with all the vertical projects. But in the next few years, I see BA really stuggling

Anonymous said...

Why such negativity about Buckhead Atlanta? I work at Louboutin and maybe the manager is just keeping morale up, but they keep saying we're exceeding expectations. I know I'm accomplishing my personal sales goals. I can't speak for the restaurants. But I would say don't judge Buckhead Atlanta because you don't see many people in the stores. Keep in mind, most of the retailers here aren't volume retailers. We're not going to turn inventory every week. One sale a day can yield successful margins with the high fashion items. In some cases, ultra luxe retailers are not even here to generate in-store sales but rather to give proven customer bases (from online sales) a place to continue building brand loyalty face-to-face. These are not retailers that are dumb or did not do their homework. They're here because they had a marketplace that generated a brick and mortar location - not the other way around. The vertical development and urbanization of Buckhead will only elevate the viability of Buckhead Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

Anon July 13-

Seriously - you took the words right out of my mouth. Similar cities like Dallas and Houston already have many of the stores there or are getting them soon. I always hear "But..but..Atlanta isn't as materialistic" or "Atlanta is frugal". No, that's not the Atlanta I know. People in Atlanta are very stylish (at least for being in the South), and have the money or will spend the money for luxury goods. Not all wealthy people buy this type of luxury. I'm sure many of them (business and professional type of men) buy boring, mid-level suits from Nordstrom. However, Neiman's doubled the size of their Kiton boutique this year. Someone has to be buying those $7,000+ suits. Many luxury goods are very good quality (some are hideous and crappy, but that applies to every category). This means that many young professionals will spend the money for their superior quality and style. It makes more sense to buy $600 shoes that will last for the greater part of a decade than $100 shoes that need to be replaced every year.

Neiman Marcus at Lenox is one of their top locations (and one of their largest). They sell many of the brands that have opened at Buckhead Atlanta, so the brands must have been selling well enough there for them to open a boutique. Also, whenever something sells out somewhere else, people (especially women) will do all they can to get what they want. If New York is out and they call Atlanta to get it..Atlanta usually gets the $$$$. I apologize in advanced if I come off as condescending, but fashion and luxury retail is often misunderstood, and I'm tired of hearing about how BA will have Banana Republic, Old Navy, or whatever in a few years. This is simply not the case.

Anonymous said...

What a lot of people dont realize is that you don't have to be uber rich to shop at a lot of these stores. $600 on shoes is a lot. But a person making around $50,000 can aford it. Im not saying thats the only thing in their closet but I can see someone splurging a little on a luxury item or 2 every now and then. I actually know people who do. Now imagine what people who make double and tripple that will spend if they splurge.

And lets not forget who lives in Atlanta. Atlanta has become a flashy town. The entertainment scene is heavy here and has a bunch of people (whether they can aford it or not) who like to shop luxury. These stores know what they're doing.

Anonymous said...

What a lot of people dont realize is that you don't have to be uber rich to shop at a lot of these stores. $600 on shoes is a lot. But a person making around $50,000 can aford it. Im not saying thats the only thing in their closet but I can see someone splurging a little on a luxury item or 2 every now and then. I actually know people who do. Now imagine what people who make double and tripple that will spend if they splurge.

And lets not forget who lives in Atlanta. Atlanta has become a flashy town. The entertainment scene is heavy here and has a bunch of people (whether they can aford it or not) who like to shop luxury. These stores know what they're doing.