Can Montblanc attract crowds with leather goods and collaborations?
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For more than a century, Montblanc has been known for its luxury pens. From now on, the German heritage house is expanding its contemporary leather goods offer to appeal to young consumers, following collaborations with the streetwear giant Bape and the Parisian brand Maison Kitsuné.
“I think leather goods are going to become one of our biggest categories,” Montblanc chief executive Nicolas Baretzki said, speaking to Business in vogue in a large Parisian hotel suite surrounded by a scattering of products including backpacks and briefcases from the new “Extreme 3.0” collection. Stores are being revamped to showcase the category, which may even go beyond the pens Montblanc is so well known for, he says. And while the gender-neutral bag collection has a more fashionable edge – like the £700 embossed chest bag – and the launch party was a star-studded event in Paris during menswear fashion week, that doesn’t mean not that the clothes arrive: “We are not fashion and we do not want to become fashion.
Designed by Artistic Director Marco Tomasetta, the Extreme 3.0 collection is a revamp of Montblanc’s signature collection and features 31 pieces including a green shoulder bag, black backpack and black clutch with a modern take on classic designs like textured leather. There are also writing instruments, connected technologies and watches. Retail prices range from £140 for a leather wallet to £1,290 for a large sports bag, which analysts say puts Montblanc in the range of Belgian brand Delvaux and luggage specialist Rimowa, owned by LVMH. The collection was unveiled at an event for 300 guests at the iconic Palais Galliera museum on June 22, attended by celebrities including American actors Emma Roberts and Dylan Sprouse, British actor Ed Westwick and Madonna’s son, Rocco Ritchie.
The crowd of young celebrities in attendance wasn’t the only indicator of the brand’s desire to attract a new audience. He brought in popular musician and entertainer DJ Pee Wee, commonly known as Anderson Paak, to perform, as well as break dancers. A string quartet performed a classic rendition of Fatboy Slim Here Now. Trevor Stuurman, a 29-year-old award-winning photographer from South Africa, says: “I think it’s so cool for a pen brand to take this approach where it feels more fashionable, more fun, more relaxed.”