The brand looks to emerging creative talents to reinvent its iconic Cognac Visetos-Stark backpack in honour of its 45th anniversary.
When looking to celebrate an anniversary, fashion brands hope to treat their customers to iconic collections of TL-shattering displays. And, with this in mind, MCM has turned to five of the brightest stars emerging out of the British creative scene to reinvent one of its most iconic accessories in honour of its 45th anniversary.
Challenged with reworking and upcycling the MCM Cognac Visetos-Stark backpack, artists Denzel Currie, Imogen Frost, Ted Le Swer, Jess Cochrane and Joe Sweeney all looked to their individual artistic flair and personal codes in order the makeover the beloved accessory. And, with a brief centred around the artist’s perceptions of contemporary British identities, each piece, while wildly different, became rooted in the same ethos, one that stands as a touching tribute to MCM’s history.
And, to make this milestone anniversary all the more exciting, fans of the brand will be able to enjoy these exclusive art pieces in person during a pop-up at the brand’s Conduit Street-bound flagship store between the 18th-31st October, an event that will see each piece auctioned off with the proceeds donated towards the University Of The Arts London.
Head below to hear the artist’s stories behind their approach to reinventing the MCM Cognac Visetos- Stark backpack…
“My goal was to explore the message of the brand and how it compliments contemporary British culture. The signature monogram print “Cognac Visetos” features a Laurel Reef which is a symbol of the Olympic Games. The country coming together on a national stage seemed like the perfect theme for this project. My work is based heavily in mythology and as I looked into the Laurel Reef, I found a story in which it had been used by the Apollo, the Greek god of music, to symbolise victory. The Laurel tree was made from the body of his first love. So I designed a Lyre (Apollo’s signature instrument) made from a woman transformed into a tree. And used this illustration as the base for the rug and both the shape and adornments of the bag.”
“My piece of work explores contemporary British identity as an amalgamation of different building blocks. An identity is formed of many different elements, from its deep-rooted history through to the modern gaze that the viewer will have on this piece. Each material represents a piece of contemporary British Identity that I feel is important. I’ve used materials such as wood, metal, and glass to explore these themes. Aged oak represents history which is part of the beauty of Britain. You’re surrounded by layers of history daily. Although we are forward-facing, history is something we have to recognise and not sweep under the carpet. Metal represents strength, yet is malleable, to show our capability to change and evolve. I chose the zip from the bag to visualise our ability to make room for change but also to bring & hold different communities together. The textured glass explores the idea that everyone will have a different gaze on this subject. It distorts the elements behind it to encourage the viewer to look closely at the piece and explore it fully from 360 degrees. My work is often centred around attention to detail so I want you to explore it and engage with smaller details like the gold links taken from the bag which touch on the richness of the tapestry of British identity.”
“The portrait addresses topics of display vs disguise. The fascination for Cochrane lies within how people view contemporary British culture in this aspect, expresses personal character through clothes just as much as it’s used to deceive others of deep personal self-criticisms. The work acts as a binary that shows us both the positives and negatives of the psychological aspect of fashion. The impressionistic style of the paint gestures warps curves and blurs a perfected image underneath, asking it’s viewer to question how or what we view as desirable and relatable.”
“I’ve subverted the luxury good provided by MCM by entombing it in a stalwart of the British high street, the 5p plastic bag. There is often a morbidity woven into my work that focuses on the concept of time and when thinking about the theme of British culture I often feel we look back, with nostalgia, to past glories. I’ve recreated a plastic bag in a classical aesthetic in this instance to sardonically comment on nostalgia, and how this urban detritus may one day, in its rarity, may be regarded as a precious relic itself.”
Ted Le Swer
“I Won’t Bite, consists of an acrylic UV print, taken from the 60 second 3D animation which is displayed and attached to the bottom of the work. I Won’t Bite follows a 3D scanned MCM rucksack placed amongst a nostalgically British forest scene, consisting of pines, ferns and mushrooms. The narrative of the video work situates a rucksack at dusk as it mutates into a speaker at night and, come the rise of the sun, it morphs back into a rucksack. This short video pulls upon seductive notions of rave culture, allowing for the leakage of fashion, music and art to culminate in the British wilderness.”
Geronimo Boy Film
Imogen Frost, Joe Sweeney, Denzel Currie, Jess Cochrane and Ted Le Swer