Last week, luxury accessories brand MCM introduced its newest capsule collection collaboration with German artist Tobias Rehberger to a group of press representatives, bloggers and brand followers in Frankfurt am Main. The event was the European spin-off of the Asian launch in Hong Kong, taking place concurrently with Art Basel and unveiling a breathtaking 60s-op-art pop-like installation conceived by Rehberger, where capsule items with the signature stripy print could seemed to blend in with the matching store walls. The artist capsule encompasses clutches, backpacks, purses, shoppers and two tops. Between sips of champagne – and before it went right to my head – I spoke with him about the advantages of an affair between art and shopping experience.

The installation that you created in Hong Kong for the launch of the capsule in Asia reminds me of Sixties  Op art. Are there any other sources of inspiration in your work for MCM?
Originally, this striped pattern comes from a camouflage tactic for warships that was invented during World War I. The idea is that you don’t recognize an object shape any longer when embedded in a certain setting.

Originally, this striped pattern comes from a camouflage tactic for warships that was invented during World War I.

Tobias Rehberger


Were there any other things which inspired your work?
Well, it’s also related to op art in a broader sense. The room becomes confusing through this pattern so that you can no longer distinguish the shape of a shelf because the stripes cross over it.

Tobias Rehberger x MCM capsule collection
Tobias Rehberger x MCM capsule collection


In your opinion, how could art add to customer’s shopping experience in a store?
Art can always do one thing properly, when it’s good: to modify the perception of ordinary objects that you’re accustomed to in new, unusual ways.

Now the other way around: Do you think that fashion stores could support art? Should this kind of partnerships happen more often?
It’s beautiful when art emerges in daily situations where it’s not expected. Art shouldn’t be kept only in museums, despite the fact that museums and galleries remain the most important space for it. Art can be also in the gas station, in the kitchen…

It’s beautiful when art emerges in daily situations where it’s not expected [...] Art can be also in the gas station, in the kitchen…

Tobias Rehberger


What is your relation with fashion like? Do you follow it?
I’m interested in fashion, but rather as a social phenomenon. I don’t look for the latest trend, but I find interesting how certain products are liked and then disliked; why are pants wide and then suddenly skinny… This isn’t only happening with clothing. It also takes place with architecture or even art. I think there isn’t enough research on this field – how do these preferences take place? When does a product become boring or how does it become interesting? In the late Eighties we were happy that leggings faded away, and then two years ago they were everywhere.

So this means that you don’t like to go shopping? I actually realized that today you’re wearing exactly the same outfit that you wore in Hong Kong a few weeks ago. Is it your official MCM outfit?
(Laughs) No, it’s just a coincidence. I like to wear bomber jackets, jeans and sneakers! And I just wear suits for weddings and funerals. Now back to shopping: What I actually enjoy more is shopping for something for my wife and children rather than for myself.

Did you already work with other brands?
I have recently collaborated with Alpha Industries in a capsule collection that will be launched in the near future.