Pierpaolo Piccioli, Liya Kebede, Sergio Zambon, Veronica Leoni, Sandro Mandrino, Simone Rocha, Craig Green, Matthew Williams, Richard Quinn, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Francesco Ragazzi and Poldo Dog Couture are the designers behind this year’s Moncler Genius project to be unveiled in Milan on February 20 in the vast, newly-revived Raccordati Warehouse space.
“Moncler Genius,” as defined by Remo Ruffini, the Chairman and CEO of Moncler, “is an answer to the times, a symposium of creative minds and an inspiring place. Each Genius operates singularly, and the sum of the Geniuses interprets the Moncler identity. Different rooms house different visions, all of them shaping the global Moncler message and the Moncler Genius Building contains them all.”
The first collection under the Genius project was unveiled at last year’s Milan Fashion Week. Next, they arrived in Moncler stores, online and in select outlets in June. Then, between October and December, the brand unveiled Genius capsules through pop-ups at select retailers, along with two permanent stores: One in Soho, New York and the other in Minato-Ku, Tokyo.
The House of Genius stores, as they are called, are designed to redefine the concept of temporary space by rewriting the rules whereby a single brand becomes a concept store. The store is a collection of interactive spaces animated by special activities to connect the visitor with “the metropolitan context in which they insert themselves.”
“We have chosen designers that differ greatly from each other as we have always spoken to different generations”, says Ruffini. “We constantly need to offer new experiences and new ideas. Moncler Genius is divided into several collections over the year. We have overhauled everything, by overcoming the very concept of seasons. Our approach is monthly, weekly, daily. An approach which considerably reduces the time that elapses between the collections’ presentation and when they actually arrive in the stores.”
The Genius projects’ eleven collaborates working on the eight collections for this season are as follows…
One is for pure essence by Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, who is joined this year by the Addis Ababa-born Liya Kebede to present the classic duvet, stripped to its basic shape following the idea that purity is reached when form reflects essence.
Two is for Moncler 1952, where classics are reinterpreted with pop colours and contrasting enlarged logo. The highly wearable Moncler sub-brand is a homage to the brand’s year of birth and defines its natural evolution over 65 years as imagined by the in-house menswear designer Sergio Zambon and by womenswear design director Veronica Leoni.
Three is for Grenoble by Sandro Mandrino, a playful approach to mix and match at work. Prints and fabrics, considered wide of the mark for Moncler’s traditional mountain gear, assume a technical quality while keeping the playful sophistication intact.
Four is for the pragmatic femininity by Simone Rocha where voluminous silhouettes and deconstructed proportions merge a taste for embellishment with the performance characteristics of Moncler.
Five is for Craig Green re-imagining clothes as habitat, by exploring “the dialogue between clothing and body,” or as in the case of the last collection, clothing as architecture.
SIx is for wearable geometry, and here we witness a change of guard. Kei Ninomiya, a favourite of Ruffini had reportedly only committed to one season and has been replaced by two up-and-coming ‘stars’ of the menswear scene: Matthew Williams, the 33-year-old Chicago-born co-founder of 1017 ALYX 9SM, the hot luxury streetwear brand and Richard Quinn, the 29-year-old British womenswear designer, whose London show last year was attended by Queen Elizabeth.
Seven is for subcultural subtleness from Hiroshi Fujiwara, the great pop influencer from Tokyo. His ability to subtly tweak items leads to cult-status spin.
Eight is for going viral, which in this collection will be spearheaded by Poldo Dog Couture. As the name suggests, Poldo specialises in the design of ultra-chic and comfortable clothing for dogs.
Moncler, the brand founded at Monestier-de-Clermont, Grenoble, France, in 1952 and currently headquartered in Italy, made its name with outerwear collections that satisfied the extreme demands of nature as well as the exacting style demands of Milanese city life to deliver premium and distinctive products that pioneered luxury streetwear. In 2003, Remo Ruffini took over the company which now manufactures and directly distributes clothing and accessories collections through its boutiques, exclusive international department stores and multi-brand outlets.
With the Genius project, Moncler is rewriting the rulebook by promoting access as the highest expression of inclusivity. Following the launch of the collections on February 20, Moncler will open the Genius Building on February 24 to the general public, thus reconnecting with the city of Milan, where the brand became a style icon in the 1990s.