Germany’s relationship with music is deeply entwined with its history. The country is home to institutions like Berghain, the storied nightclub fuelled by techno and sex, and the Love Parade, the Caligulan electronic dance music festival that has since been exported to cities like Paris, Tel Aviv and Melbourne.
MCM is intimately familiar with the genre. The brand was founded in Munich in 1976 — the same year Donna Summer and Italian composer Giorgio Moroder recorded the electronic track “I Feel Love”, a song that former editor of Mixmag USA Bill Brewster credited for “creat[ing] the template for dance music as we know it.”
But for many Germans, the advent of techno in the ’80s wasn’t just about the music, it also heralded a new era, one that was equal parts liberating and unifying, especially after the fall of the Berlin wall.
It is this sense of juxtaposition, of complementary contrasts, that MCM’s Global Creative Officer Dirk Schönberger taps on for the brand’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection.Titled Techno Garden, the collection brings with it a range of tailored outerwear and accessories that carry graphic patterns and bold insignias, all coloured in a palette of muted neutral shades.
Courtesy of MCM
Women’s Geo Plissé Trench Coat, $2,040
“We wanted to create a collection which celebrates the iconography of our heritage, as well as the stories we share from one generation to the next, from the pre-digital age to the post-digital,” says Schönberger. “For MCM, [this] highlights our journey from Munich to Berlin, east to west, analogue to digital and past to future.”
Pieces like the Geo Plissé Trench Coat embody this theme, with pixelated letters and geometric stripes appearing on the back of a structured trench coat to create the appearance of a futuristic piece of graffiti — a sartorial reference to Berlin’s irreverent, colourful streets.
Likewise, the Varsity Jacket in Geo Laurel Nylon is a subtle nod to MCM’s Munich roots: The polygonal lettering of the MCM logo references the Bavarian flag’s blue and white lozenge pattern.
Courtesy of MCM
The collection also introduces new gender-neutral silhouettes into the brand’s catalogue, like the Tech Flower Jacket. With its holographic tendrils of intermingling florals and MCM’s signature Visetos monogram, the jacket plays on gender-normative tensions in fashion by contrasting its delicate motif with a harsh, discordant glitch-effect.
Techno Garden’s campaign images also play on this sense of contrast. Set in a verdant, hyperreal jungle, models frolic in fields peppered with flowers and garish neon strips. Another poses alongside an array of spotlights that look like metal trellises.
Says Schönberger: “Together, these icons curate a timeless space where anything is possible.” Previous collections from MCM under Schönberger’s imprimatur have also carried both musical and cultural influences.
Courtesy of MCM
Men’s Varsity Jacket in Geo Laurel Nylon, $1,660; Men’s Tech Flower Jacket, $1,590.
Last year’s MCM Spring/Summer 2020 collection — Schönberger’s first for the brand — was billed as a love letter to Germany’s nightlife scene over the years, featuring logoed tracksuits and sequinned embellishments alongside leather coats and oversized bomber jackets.
“[Munich] was glamorous, it was the only city in Germany that was hedonistic and full of extroverts,” said Schönberger in a previous interview. “Now, we are here in Berlin, which is driven by techno. It’s a much darker, streetwear-inspired and technical look.”
Schönberger has said that he wants MCM to be forerunner of what he has called “new school luxury”. With his eschewing of trends and fads — and his interpretations of ageless cultural touchstones — Schönberger is set to carve out an enduring space for the 45-year-old brand in the years to come.
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