History, reimagined

Montblanc’s new Meisterstück leather collection is inspired by its iconic namesake pen
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 11 April 2022

As a symbol of creative luxury, Montblanc’s iconic Meisterstück pen is a timeless essential. Under the direction of new creative director Marco Tomasetta, the storied brand is drawing a wider, contemporary vision by launching a new Meisterstück leather collection inspired by its namesake writing instrument.

Blending practicality with style, the collection includes a briefcase crafted with the personality of a traditional satchel, a portfolio case decorated in a distinctive mountain design from the Montblanc archives and a key pouch that offers the wearer multiple wearable options. Throughout, nib-shaped metal hardware reminds us of Montblanc’s original Meisterstück offering. Celebrating the new leather collection, we sat down with Tomasetta to hear his ambitious plans for the brand.

GALLERYMontblanc Meisterstück collection

Alex James Taylor: What first attracted you to Montblanc?
Marco Tomasetta: Montblanc is like no other luxury brand. It is so intimately connected to the culture of writing, and I am incredibly passionate about that world and the value of handwriting. There is so much to work with and be inspired by, and to work across categories at a truly diversified maison was very appealing to me after many years in luxury fashion. I love that Montblanc is anchored in reality. It is a brand that has real value to its customers and constantly evolves to meet the needs of new generations of luxury customers. 

I love that Montblanc is anchored in reality.”

AJT: Once joining, what aspects of the brand surprised you or drew you in further?
MT: Montblanc is sometimes considered more of a classic brand but when you look at the company’s archive, it is anything but classic. It’s an innovative brand that revolutionised writing and brought new products to market in very original ways. It was fascinating to discover all these different aspects of Montblanc, not just its products but the way it marketed itself. There is so much to work with, so much richness. I am excited to bring that story forward in my creative vision for Montblanc.

AJT: How do you see the brand moving forwards under your guidance?
MT: The success of Montblanc design is encapsulated in some of its most iconic designs, and few objects in the world of luxury are as iconic as the Meisterstück writing instrument. My vision is to be bolder and braver in design while finding our creative identity in the very object that makes the brand recognised globally. Montblanc has an unmatched position as a pioneer in the culture of writing and much of the vision is to really elevate that. I want to see the brand build new icons and innovate new brand codes to create desirability and make Montblanc instantly recognisable, just as the Meisterstück is an instantly recognisable icon. To be part of new customers’ lives, we must think about developing functional products that really serve their daily lives. The brand is very conscious about helping people leave their mark on the world while minimising their imprint on the planet, so sustainability is going to be a significant focus for the road ahead.

AJT: In this new collection, you revisit some classic Montblanc details such as the larger emblem and the 1920s mountain silhouette, what was it about these details that stood out to you?
MT: The Montblanc emblem has always been a powerful symbol of Montblanc craftsmanship and quality, but it remained so small and understated over the years, so I thought this new collection was an opportunity to make it more prominent with two significantly larger interpretations on bags. It’s part of a bolder vision for the brand that heightens its recognisability. Every decade for the past 110 plus years is filled with great inspiration for a designer but I paid close attention to the 1920s and 1930s when some incredibly original design and advertising was being created for the brand. That’s what led me to the creative use of the silhouette of the Mont Blanc mountain enhanced with blue on the exterior of the collection’s pouch. What sparked this idea was some Montblanc advertising artwork from 1920; a nod to how innovative Montblanc was then, and how I want it to be seen today.

“We must think about developing functional products that really serve [our customers’] daily lives.”

AJT: And how did the Meisterstück pen directly inspire leather pieces?
MT: I saw an opportunity to bring the design of the collection even closer to the Meisterstück, Montblanc’s iconic symbol of timeless luxury, rethinking how some of those distinctive design features and brand codes might be interpreted in an elevated leather collection in a fresh, bolder and very recognizable way. We explored mirroring some of its distinguishing features like the nib itself as well as the colour and shine of the pen’s precious resin with its smooth sensual touch. You will see new contemporary round shapes, some exciting design details, and a luxurious new leather we are using to achieve a softer touch and a deeper tone of black with a distinctive brilliant finish inspired by the texture of the pen’s precious resin. In addition to the larger emblem, the nib is reimagined as nib-shaped zip pulls in vintage palladium and the nib shape has been applied to the leather detailing itself, including where handles or straps are attached to the bag.

AJT: You studied sculpture, painting, art, ceramics, I’m interested to know how you think this education informs your design work and approach to creation?
MT: From an early age, I was always surrounded by art, architecture and sculpture in Italy. That artistic richness inspired an appreciation for beauty and my artistic sensibilities, and it made me want to study sculpture and ceramics, before finding myself drawn into the world of fashion. My work in leather goods and accessories has always been influenced by my artistic studies, but also by my passion for films, literature and observing the world around me. Bags and luggage are like sculptures in some ways – the forms I explore and the shapes I create have to be balanced and have the right proportions. While they are functional pieces, they also have to have aesthetic, sculptural qualities to stand out. It’s also critical not to add things for the sake of it. If you change the Mona Lisa’s smile she isn’t iconic anymore, and if you start changing too many details on the Meisterstück writing instrument, it also takes away its iconic quality. 

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