Luxury ski wear once made only for the cold, has now become hot fashion. No, no longer catering just to your Alpine ski trip needs. Moncler is headed towards the trendy world of fashion in full gusto, and you might just want to embrace a puﬀy gown for your next gala.
Birthed on the snowy Alps, Moncler ﬁrst started out by producing quality quilted jackets meant to protect mountain workers from the cold. Since then, they have accompanied countless mountaineers and skiers on trips, expeditions, and even the Olympic games. Incredibly warm, reliable, and durable, Moncler’s signature quilted jackets quickly rose to become the emblem of luxury winter wear on the slopes of St Moritz, Lech am Arlberg, and more.
What else is incredibly warm, reliable, and durable? Singapore’s heat. Surely, a puﬀer coat meant to keep you cosy in the snow is the last thing anyone needs in the tropical metropolis.
But Remo Ruﬃni, Moncler’s triple-threat chairman, chief executive, and creative director, doesn’t seem to think so. When Moncler ﬁrst opened at ION Orchard in 2015 to much fanfare, Ruﬃni deﬁnitely saw the irony of it.
“Opening a Moncler store in a place where there is no winter is not easy,” he admitted to The Straits Times. “But it is very important for Moncler to be in the right place, to have a relationship with a very important market.”
Recognising Singapore’s travel and spending abilities, combined with the city’s high volume of tourists, it made sense to open Moncler in Singapore. With a ﬂagship store housed in Marina Bay Sands, and another store at Changi Airport, Ruﬃni’s business acumen was probably in the right place too.
However, with three stores situated on the island, Moncler’s success in Singapore (and the world) cannot solely be attributed to serving ski trip needs.
Although best known for their skiwear, a stroll inside Moncler stores will reveal a variety of garments and accessories. Since Ruﬃni acquired Moncler in 2003, he has worked with renowned fashion designers Thom Browne and Giambattista Valli to create the high-end fashion lines, Moncler Gamme Bleu and Moncler Gamme Rouge, for men and women respectively. The transformation is not just merely aesthetic – Ruﬃni revived the brand from near bankruptcy to becoming worth billions now.
With fashion designers on board, the brand has staged captivating runway shows for its fashion lines, and puﬀer jackets are not the only stars of the show.
Models in delicate spring dresses walk down an artiﬁcial ﬁeld of fauna and ﬂora, and topless male models strut around the runway in red shorts. Moncler has even enlisted hiplet dancers (a ballet and hip-hop fused dance style), synchronised performers, and cowbell musicians for its shows. Skiwear? No. Skiwear inspired? Very much so.
For example, the Fall 2016 collection for Moncler’s womenswear line featured fur hot shorts, chunky sweater shapes, and alpine shades. With luxury ski resort town Gstaad on his mind, designer Valli incorporated ornamental elements often found in Swiss chalets, turning them into intricate embroidery and trimmings on dresses and blouses. Moncler may be explicit about their intentions to expand past ski wear and into fashion, but their ensembles still remain true to their origins and heritage.
Slowly but surely, Moncler’s change in direction is a favourable nod towards seasonal wear. Showcasing seasonal pieces that can be worn in the sun will only encourage customers, such as those in Singapore, to purchase Moncler for its style and brand – not simply just for its utility.
Last year, Ruﬃni announced the end of his Gamme Rouge and Gamme Bleu lines. He also declared the death of his brand’s acclaimed fashion shows, sending shock waves through the fashion crowd. In its place, he introduced the brand’s new project – Moncler Genius. Instead of releasing new looks twice a year during fashion week, Moncler worked with eight various designers and showcased eight collections at Milan Fashion Week.
Moving forward, a collection would then be released for sale at the beginning of every month.
Naming the project ‘Genius’ may be an act of clairvoyance – the increasingly globalised and connected world is fast-paced, and social media has only exacerbated desire for the fresh, new, and relevant. “Content is important,” Ruﬃni divulges in an interview with Imran Amed, founder of Business of Fashion. “Sometimes more important than the product.”
And the Genius collections have proved to be wildly popular. With Moncler’s signature puﬃness now been re-imagined into ridiculously chic silhouettes, big-name celebrities such as Lizzo and Lupita Nyong’o have graced magazines in eye-catching Moncler skirts and dresses. The brand has even graced the red carpet, such as when Hollywood fashion darling Ezra Miller showed up to a movie premiere adorned in a full-length puﬀer coat dress.
Sometimes fashion isn’t completely wearable, but it generates buzz that is unstoppable. Ruﬃni has propelled Moncler into a world of high fashion, and aligning the brand with well-known designers has helped to further legitimise Moncler as a desirable fashion house.
Moncler still remains loyal to their original commitment to producing warm and reliable outerwear. But they have recognised the need to keep up with the globalised world, and they know how to do so without losing touch with their origin.
A look at Moncler’s Instagram account will take you to brightly coloured editorials and fashionforward looks. In this digital diary, models are situated in saturated dreamscapes, mirrors, and photography studios – far far removed from the brand’s mountain range origins. And that is what Moncler wants you to do – to wear the brand whenever and wherever you may be.