From branching out into watches, through to entering the luggage market, Montblanc has been full of surprises recently, and the party they held for the global launch in Florence was no exception. Last month, in the sweltering 30-degree heat, we descended upon Florence for the highly anticipated global release of the MY 4810 trolley at the most significant men’s fashion event in the world–Pitti Uomo.
Known by most as quite a conservative and traditional brand, famed for its writing instruments and leather goods. Montblanc has been flirting with the boundaries of the brand’s conservative identity, a move that is welcomed by many–the team from Man of Style included. The mastermind behind the monumental changes and the rejuvenation of the Maison as a futuristic, fashion-forward luxury brand is none other than Montblanc’s creative director Zaim Kamal.
4:00 pm at the St Regis Hotel, and remember, you only have 15 minutes!
Before the event, we were lucky enough to catch up with Zaim and get the low down on the MY 4810 trolley. As well as a bit of an insight as to the direction Montblanc was heading. After waiting in the foyer after following very, very specific instructions. We were next in line for our allotted time slot of strictly 15 minutes with the man himself.
‘Zaim is ready to see you now.’
It has been two years since Montblanc entered the travel space with their Nightflight Collection. For Zaim, the release of the MY 4810 has been a long time coming. Inspired by robotics and cyborgs, the trolley is light, durable and functional. Which Zaim believes is ‘precisely what you need for luggage.’
When deciding what materials to use, polycarbonate was a no-brainer. ‘Even though it is light, it is embossed which makes the bag more rigid and robust,’ Zaim explained.
‘I’ve learnt more during this project about physics and chemistry than I ever learnt through my studies… That is what I love about this job at Montblanc.’
The combination of the technical ruts and the leather on the side profile of the bag was, in Zaim’s opinion, his favourite feature of the bag. ‘It’s about the feel, the touch, the sound… It’s all the details.’
What sets this bag apart? According to Zaim, that’s simple–it’s a Montblanc.
‘When we do something at Montblanc, we have a very precise way of working. Not only is it design–we have a whole ecosystem that we work within. In the end, what comes out is aesthetically, technically, and craftsmanship-wise the best the Maison has to offer.’
When discussing where his passion for design came from, Zaim noted that one of his biggest influences was his grandfather. ‘He was a collector of writing instruments; he was a collector of watches… The love of detailing and the love of the sound of detailing is what inspired him’. Once a week, Zaim’s grandfather would show him how to wind his watches and refill his writing instruments. It was this ritualisation of keeping everything at its prime that led to Zaim’s obsession with doing things that fulfil a particular need.
‘It’s about the feel, the touch, the sound–it’s all the details.’
How has Zaim managed to make Montblanc, a 112-year-old brand with a rich history, stay relevant and innovative? According to him, Montblanc isn’t a traditional brand; rather, they are a ‘heritage brand’. ‘Tradition has rules, you either break them, or you follow them, there is no in-between. Heritage has values, and values evolve.’ The core pillars of craftsmanship, excellence and innovation are embedded into Montblanc’s DNA. It is these values that allow for the Maison to adapt and remain relevant in the ever-changing luxury goods landscape.
Before we knew it, the 15 minutes were up and we were on our way to the My 4810 launch event.
Held in the courtyard of a historic Florentine mansion. The lavish location was perfectly juxtaposed against the event’s underground aesthetic. A gigantic graffiti mural on a wall of Montblanc Trolleys welcomed guests as they entered the fray. A true testament to the new direction Montblanc is looking to steer their brand image. With cocktails and canapes aplenty, the launch event turned out to be much more like a launch party. An Italian DJ duo was spinning some stellar tracks adjacent to a quarter pipe that was getting carved up by a group of skaters for the entire evening. Then later in the night, Tinie Tempah graced the decks to play an impromptu DJ set. Not bad Montblanc, not bad at all.
It’s safe to say that the Man of Style team, who is quite partial to a party, enjoyed ourselves immensely. In fact, almost all those in attendance stayed until the end of the event, a true testament to the quality of the event. Montblanc has definitely raised the bar in previous years when it comes to entertainment, and this event was no exception. We can’t wait to see what the Maison has in store for us all next!