Moncler disrupts fashion's 200-year-old anatomy by curating eight top designers for its Genius rebirth

Moncler disrupts fashion's 200-year-old anatomy by curating eight top designers for its Genius rebirth

One house, different voices

Text: Andrea Sim

Interview: Jolene Khor

In Milan tonight, Moncler will challenge the notion of a brand as a one-man show. Under the Genius initiative, eight creatives pave the way for Moncler's radical, new identity

Nearly two years ago, Valentino's Pierpaolo Piccioli had an inkling that fashion tomorrow would be radically different. The creative director said, "Fashion, art and society are dependent on populist opinions, but I believe that it is not going to be the case forever. People are ready for fresh bold ideas; even the most conservative of us can already feel the winds of change."

Today, at about 7:00pm in Milan, not only will he be proven right, but he will have a part to play in one of the boldest moves to reverberate the core of fashion's 200-year-old anatomy: the unveiling of Moncler Genius, a new structure for the brand's creative wing that denounces fashion's traditional one-man show for a network of designers. Alongside Piccioli are Simone Rocha, Craig Green, Palm Angel's Francesco Ragazzi, Fragment's Hiroshi Fujiwara, Noir Kei Ninomiya's Kei Ninomiya, Sandro Mandrino and Karl Templer, to design and curate independently and, simultaneously under the Moncler Genius division — a move away from its multiple lines such as Moncler Gamme Bleu and Moncler Gamme Rouge headed by soloists Thom Browne and Giambattista Valli respectively. 

Though collectives in the industry are not unheard of (Faith Connexion's reins for instance are in the hands of numerous creatives), Moncler's Genius initiative sets itself apart by demarcating the multiple voices under its one roof in a bid to cultivate a brand identity that treads new ground entirely. Its products too are not to be released in routine bi-yearly or quarterly fashion, but according to an all-new monthly timeline. 

Ahead of the inaugural presentation at the Genius Building in Milan tonight — Moncler's literal creative hub and home to the "cells" and visions of the eight designers — Buro 24/7 Singapore's fashion editor Jolene Khor gets the inside word from chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini, on the radical move.

"One house, different voices, eight creative minds speaking one language: the Moncler language." 

How did the decision to end the Moncler Gamme Bleu and Moncler Gamme Rouge lines come about?
Moncler has been accompanied by key figures such as Giambattista Valli and Thom Browne who have supported the development of both lines over the years. With the aim to commit themselves to their respective own brands, both Valli and Browne agreed that Moncler is to naturally evolve and expand towards other horizons. For this reason, the Moncler Gamme Rouge and Moncler Gamme Bleu collections will be drawing to a close with the spring/summer 2018 season. That said, I think creativity is the driving factor. I do believe that creativity has no boundaries and Moncler Genius has been conceived as a hub of exceptional creative minds that work together under the same brand, Moncler.

What were some of the formulas that led to the successes of Moncler Gamme Bleu and Moncler Gamme Rouge that worked in the past, but perhaps not anymore?
Moncler has constantly found new ways of expressing itself, offering through the years collections that cultivate the uniqueness of the brand. We're synonyms of creativity, vision, surprise and imagination, and Moncleer Gamme Bleu and Moncler Gamme Rouge meant a lot to the brand. But today, Moncler is facing a natural evolution; a constant investigation of new creative directions. I am really proud to start a different chapter, and announce Moncler Genius. Though we're always evolving, we respect and maintain the integrity of our DNA. We acknowledge the singularity of the customers, and the variety of their tastes.

Tell us more about Moncler Genius and the Genius building.
Moncler Genius is about creative minds shaping the brand's vision of uniqueness. The Moncler Genius Building is an ideal place where all the creatives work — the place where such a vision is made tangible through products. One house, different voices, eight creative minds speaking one language: the Moncler language. 

What are some of the direct changes we'll see to the brand DNA?
The creative DNA of each designer morphs with the Moncler DNA, creating a new identity that is authentic to both.

What are the innovations that we can look forward to moving forward? What are some of the new emotions?
The brand's evolution has become urban, though never renouncing the sporty spirit that is always present in Moncler's soul: [We are] born in the mountain, but living in the city. This is what we really wanted since the beginning, starting with a great product and an outstanding history. In line with the brand philosophy, above and beyond pre-set trends and outlines, Moncler has constantly found new ways of expressing itself. Following this natural improvement, the new strategy will sign a new era for the brand, with innovation in both the business mode and communication strategy. There will be monthly editorial and communication actions when in season, and starting from June, each collection will be launched with a specific 360° communication plan.

Fashion has seen rapid changes in the last five years or so, such as combined men's and women's shows, more high-low brand collaborations, a heavy reliance on hype, direct-to-consumer approaches... How do you think those changes seen within the industry has shaped Moncler?
[We're] exploring fragmentation as an asset to represent a whole.

What is the future of menswear? What is the future of womenswear? Are the lines of the two going to blur once and for all?
I do believe that the consumers are, for a company as Moncler, our stakeholders. We do need to talk to them on a daily basis, understanding their need to give them more and more energy.

Moncler Genius will be presented on 20 February during Milan fashion week fall/winter 2018, at the Moncler Genius Building.