Impeccable cuts, timeless style, vibrant colours, and signature patterns. For the past 45 years, Marc Cain has interpreted couture classics with a trendy “je ne sais quoi” inspired by its German roots and observed Italian fashion sense. Stephen Belfer, the brand’s Managing Director for North America, walks us through the eclectic and fascinating house codes
By Alexandra Moulin
Stephen Belfer is managing the North American side of Marc Cain, but the brand was created back in 1973 by Helmut Schlotterer, who wanted to save his father’s knitting company, turning the family business into a multinational success. Since then, the brand has stayed true to its original concepts: seductive, trendy, tailor-made, and innovative, with hypnotic colours, fabrics, and cuts.
Inspired by Italian unbridled creativity, a feminine fashion sense, and relentless elegance, the brand’s CEO soon understood he would need to control the entire chain to maximize profit – one that could carry him long-term. He recruited designers, integrated production facilities and kept a close eye on innovative technology to secure sustainable growth. As North America’s Managing Director Stephen Belfer tells us, “In the Marc Cain business model, stagnation means regression.” Forty-five years later, collections are sold in 57 countries in signature boutiques and upscale networks, reporting over-the-top benefits and employing over 1,000 people in Germany. I’d call that a success.
Let’s Talk About Fasion
Chatting with Belfer, he emphasizes the house’s new fashion era that is about to be unveiled. After over 40 years of faithful and inspirational lead, Creative Director Karin Veit has announced her departure. Quite nostalgic to see her go, Belfer also shows genuine excitement and curiosity over the next collections. “Our customer – especially our Canadian Marc Cain woman – continues to be receptive to fashion that is unmistakably different,” he tells us, hence the new designer – whose name will be revealed in October – will have to integrate the brand’s assets into the creations, starting with leopard-print pieces.
“[We] worked and tailored with renewed inspiration for every collection, [and leopard print] has reached the status of iconic to Marc Cain. For instance, this season we have a fantastic leopard print faux-fur coat. Georgia Fowler – the charismatic 26-year-old New Zealand model – wore it as the opening look for the Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show,” Belfer tells us. Modeled around renewed inspiration for every season, Marc Cain’s “incredible grace” has become a trademark of the brand, reinvented on bags, shoes, belts, pants, blouses, and so much more.
“I THINK WE should NEVER FORGET TO GIVE BACK TO OUR communities, AS THIS ENSURES THE SUCCESS OF TOMORROW.”
Besides the wildcat print, Marc Cain’s touch relies on strong colour. Reminiscent of houses like Ungaro or Yves Saint Laurent, we’ve seen the label rock daring combinations of orange and fuchsia, statements of colours and surprising pops of powdered rose and vibrant red. Patterns and shapes are blended in irreverent harmonies, as the Marc Cain woman likes to reveal her confidence through what she wears. The secret to her elegance? The finest materials selected for the audacious colour schemes, from the most refined cashmeres and knits to lightweight cottons and linens, inherited from the company’s roots. One-hundred-percent produced in Germany, all pieces pay a tribute to the quality, durability, and sustainability of their mother country. Femininity and rigor is reconciled in fashion.
Like timeless couture houses, the Marc Cain pieces carry an enduring, versatile style, securing customers’ faithfulness, as they like to mix older pieces with the latest designs. Vintage meets modern in an effortless way, spelling out a sustainable fashion statement which has inspired contemporary influencers, like Kate Bosworth or American actress Sarah Rafferty, who regularly applaud the German brand. A proud ambassador of the brand’s style and values, Rafferty likes to embrace the fashion creations for her daily life and major events. Stephen Belfer describes her as “a strong, independent customer who loves her femininity. Our brand celebrates and is inspired by confident women with a strong sense of style and consciousness of giving back to the community.”
Rafferty embraced a charity project uniting the brand and Plan International, one of the world’s leading non-profit organizations striving to improve the lives of children around the world. “Together, we designed and sold the Marc Cain Charity Bag, a Mother’s Day limited edition leather purse whose sales help to support Plan International,” Belfer explains. “As the company continues to grow, I think we should never forget to give back to our communities, as this ensures the success of tomorrow.”
This is the first achievement dedicated to giving back, with a second opus launching soon.
The North American Adventure
Based on such prestigious partnerships, Belfer details the current expansion plans across the North American region: “[We’re] starting with a second retail store in Vancouver [in the] beginning of 2019, before the brand continues to unfold out west… and south! Miami will host a pop-up store at the Brickell City Centre this September, while other projects continue to flourish as opportunities arise.”
Happy as a kid with long-awaited toys, he also mentions how trendy the new brand app will be, as well as the North American online boutique. The ultimate Marc Cain experience favours a personalised luxurious experience in a relaxed style.