For more than a century, Montblanc has been known for its luxury pens. However, since writing by hand is fast becoming an art rather than a necessity, the German heritage brand is turning the pages to new chapters. Its newest speciality? Luxury leather accessories.
In 2019, Montblanc worked with streetwear brand, Bape, on a capsule collection that included a doc case, portfolio, wallet and pen pouch. Two years after, it teamed up with the Parisien label, Maison Kitsuné, for a 12-piece collection. Now, it is launching its original collection, the Extreme 3.0.
Extreme 3.0 is a revamp of Montblanc’s signature collection and comprises 31 pieces, including a green crossbody bag, black backpack and black clutch with a modern interpretation of classic designs like textured leather. There are also writing instruments, connected technologies and timepieces. Retail prices range from £140 for a leather wallet to £1,290 for a large duffle bag.
This new collection, unveiled in the garden of the Palais Galliera in Paris on June 22, was designed for business people, but also every young upwardly mobile person, on the move. “The theme is mobility — on the move,” Montblanc chief executive officer Nicolas Baretzki said, revealing the theme of an upcoming brand campaign.
“I believe leather goods is going to become one of our biggest categories,” he had said further during an interview with Vogue, predicting that this new category could even overtake the pens for which Montblanc is so well-known. And while the collection of gender-neutral bags has a more fashion edge – like the £700 embossed chest bag – that doesn’t mean clothing is coming: “We are not fashion and we don’t want to become fashion.”
From luxury pens to luxury leather goods for a younger audience
The leather goods category is a big revenue driver for luxury brands, says Anita Balchandani, partner and head of luxury at management consultancy McKinsey & Co. “It’s one of the most investable areas, typically seen as more accessibly-priced than watches and jewellery, but still holds its investable value.” That, she argues, is why many brands are pivoting into this category.
Montblanc is not the only luxury brand turning to luxury leather accessories. Bulgari and Cartier are now making handbags, and even Rimowa, which is known for its polycarbonate and aluminium hard shell suitcases, has also diversified into backpacks and totes.
Now is the right time to push further into leather goods, argues Baretzki, because Montblanc’s core categories are performing strongly. “We have never been as successful in writing instruments as now. There’s a huge momentum.”
Source: Vogue Business