Italian sportswear brand Moncler kicked off Milan Fashion Week with the unveiling of its highly anticipated Genius Group project, and there is a lot to talk about. In the past, Moncler has dazzled fashion week with its elaborate seasonal Gamme Rouge and Gamme Bleu theatrical shows, but this year chief executive Remo Ruffini has jumped on the “sign of the times” train and taken it one step further. The fashion landscape has been slowly changing over the past few years as more and more designers have begun adopting the “see now, buy now” method, steering away from seasonal fashion shows in which their clothes are not available for purchase for several months after the show. Collaborations have also become a major, if not the most, influential driving force in fashion, as high end brands enlist underground streetwear labels (hello, Supreme overload) to create limited edition capsule collections; not to mention the model/artist/musician partnerships that are virtually everywhere, thus inciting consumer frenzy and label envy to-the-max. Understanding the current landscape of the the fashion market, Ruffini devised the modestly named Genius Group and presented eight unique designer collections under the Moncler name, each to be dropped individually on a monthly basis. Invitees lined up for hours and made their way into a cavernous warehouse where eight unique show spaces were created for each designer, arousing an Instagram delirium that went on well into the night.
Puffer coats met Italian monks in Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s colorful collection of A-line cloaks. Models were covered head to toe in nylon ripples, with only their stoic faces exposed to the elements. Impactful in their couture beauty and elegance? Yes. Functional on a daily basis? As long as we still have winter storms dubbed Polar Vortex and Bomb Cyclone, sure, why not.
The vintage era collection 1952 was originally conceived by stylist Karl Templer, who was recently named in a sexual harassment suit thus resulting in the removal of his name and any association with Moncler. The collection was still displayed and released, however consumers will have the ultimate say on whether the collection can stand up to the scandal or not.
Yes, there were gorgeous prints adorning sets and separate outerwear pieces. Yes, there were magnificent colors evoking joyful images of snowy winter afternoons. Yes, there were furry boots and pom pom hats. But did you see the models lying on the floor, reflected by a tilted mirror giving viewers the illusion that the entire collection was involved in a giant snow angel orgy?
Turns out there can be romance and elegance when dressing for the elements, thanks to the wildly beautiful collection by Simone Rocha. With a set covered in “snow” covered rocks, gorgeous models with pink tinted cheeks were dressed in Victorian inspired ensembles with fabrics ranging from lace to fur and of course the signature Moncler nylon puffer making appearances in ankle baring dresses and over coats. If you’ve never before imagined wearing pink chiffon in the dead of winter, its time to think again.
British menswear designer Craig Green gave us a real treat with his puffer samurai-meets-winter-spacemen collection. All in black and white, the haunting ensembles covered the entire body, with hoods pulled low and tight over the model’s faces giving viewers the freedom to interpret the good vs. evil aspect of Green’s designs.
Noir Kei Ninomiya
A study in constraint and master manipulation of fabric, the gorgeous monochromatic collection by designer Kei Ninomiya provides the structure and meticulous beauty inspired by Japanese culture. Ninomiya reimagined the standard puffer into origami shells of outerwear and managed to create a textile to look like a woven scarf and sweater.
Fragment by Hiroshi Fujiwara
Perhaps the most wearable of all the collections, with functional flannel, cozy sweaters and standard puffer coats made Instagram worthy by adding “Moncler: to the South, to the West, to the East, to the North” (Want. Need. Please). The mostly menswear collection was highly ready to wear and sure to sell out.
Designed by Francesco Ragazzi, lets call this the “Influencer Collection” or “Most Likely to be Worn by Young Girl With a Lot of Followers” or “The Supreme Collection”, need I go on? The sexy, sassy street style collection was emblazoned with naughty sayings like “I’m So High” and “Make it Rain”, perfect for your Kendall or Bella wanting to push boundaries, but never cause controversy.
Written by Elizabeth Kramsky
Visuals by Olga Sorokina
Photos by Maxim Baev, vogue.com