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Marisa Minicucci: MM
It wasn't too long ago that Montreal's Grand Dame of fashion, Marisa Minicucci, left the fold, with luxury label M Siamo closing shop around 2008 to the dismay of fashion insiders saddened by the loss of one of the city's top sartorial talents. Marisa Minicucci's high-end ready-to-wear designs were classic, tailored and their overall quality could compete in cutthroat markets, like say New York. Her gowns also made it on the Oscar red carpet. But maintaining a Montreal-based line in the cold world of the schmatta business can be a painstaking feat in the midst of a worldwide economic bust. Or even boom. “I wasn't finding any pleasure in it anymore, Minicucci said during the August 2012 launch of MM. “It was so difficult to please all these retailers,” citing the strain of buyer demands, be they design or price point modifications believed to better meet consumer wants.
But a lot can change in four years. Online shopping in the European Union and China doubled since 2007 and online sales in the U.S. tripled between 2002 and 2010, which may have something to do with the world Internet population doubling up itself in the last five years. Either way, Minicucci saw the rise of online shopping as an opportunity to not only go straight to the consumer herself, but to rework the wholesale/retail business model altogether, proposing the Inline Showroom, a low-risk alternative to traditional retail. Finally, a large part of Minicucci's resurgence in the fashion world is linked to her daughter, Anissa, whom she teamed up with to produce MM, a line of tailored jackets, mostly composed of pressed wool and lambskin leather, designed with versatility and convertibility in mind. I tested one jacket (see photo above) and found out it could be changed into six alternate looks.
Marisa Minicucci's MM: The Inline Showroom
“The Inline Showroom is a storefront, a brick and mortar store that carries our product, but in a showroom setting,” according to Minicucci, adding that for the customer it's a full-service, personalized shopping experience complete with showroom sample sets, and for the risk-aversive retailer, it's a new business model, a low-commitment way of testing the market without having to buy inventory, and no initial purchase minimums, deposits or guarantees are required. As of MM's launch in September 2012, two locations in Montreal and one boutique in San Diego currently offer the Inline Showroom experience. Read more about Marisa Minicucci's Inline Showroom Program.
On Supporting the Masai
Minicucci's MM line also supports women artisans in Kenya, specifically women of the semi-nomadic Masai tribes. “I went to Kenya last year and I thought, I've got to do something with this! I couldn't do a whole jacket with this blanket fabric, but I could definitely put it inside every jacket,” said Minicucci. Placing two welts cut from handcrafted fabric used for blankets in Kenya on the inside pocket of every MM jacket (see example), Masai women benefit from the partnership as they're paid fair wages for their labor. And as an additional community-supportive twist, Minicucci pledges to give a percentage of sale proceeds to a women-centric charity at the end of each season.
The Fall/Winter 2013 collection jackets vary between $495 and $795 CDN.
Visit the MM website to buy online and to find the closest retail outlet and Inline Showroom.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013
Composed of both glossy, lambskin leather and pressed wool that looks like matte felt, this jacket can go from hip-grazing to cropped with the wipe of a zipper. Minicucci said she designed this piece with versatility in mind, wanting clients a chance to own a jacket that works with jeans as well as that little black dress. This jacket retails at $795 CDN.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013Continue to 4 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013Continue to 6 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013See how this jacket transforms into something a little different when the lapels are unzipped.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013The lapels can then be shifted to mimic that classic motorcycle jacket look.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013One final look when the lapels are zipped out of sight.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013Continue to 10 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013Continue to 11 of 11 below.
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Marisa Minicucci: MM Fall/Winter 2013