Bright idea: Moncler unveils Genius Building at Milan Fashion Week
Fashion week is not just the time for brands to showcase new collections. It’s also the schedule from which they experiment with new formats, be it presentations or video debuts, the merging of men’s and women’s lines or the showcase of see-now-buy-now collections. Last night on 20 February, Italian label Moncler debuted the latest chapter in the narrative of its creative vision, unveiling the ‘Genius Building’, a magnificent show at Palazzo delle Scintilla, made up of eight individual presentations by a roster of Moncler’s latest collaborators, including Craig Green, Simone Rocha and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli.
‘Since the beginning, Moncler has been constantly been looking for new means of expression,’ explains Remo Ruffini, Moncler’s chairman and CEO. Until last year, the brand had presented its Thom Browne and Giambattista Valli directed Moncler Gamme Bleu and Rouge lines on the men’s and women’s fashion week schedule. It has also collaborated with a roster of creative talents including Jean Philippe-Delhomme, Greg Lauren and Off-White.
Last night, Moncler bought its diverse and evolving approach to collaboration to a majestic crescendo. Eight separate presentation galleries were cloaked in futuristic silver fabric, like huge draped theatre curtains or interplanetary oil cylinders. As guests entered each space via entrances like tunnel or porthole, they were greeted with eight diverse set-ups, which featured imaginative reinterpretations of the brand’s classic down jacket.
Moncler Pierpaolo Piccioli
Take Pierpaolo Piccioli, whose ethereal installation featured a range of gently flaring and multicoloured duvet coats on elongated mannequins, their widening silhouettes taking on a couture meets Handmaid’s Tale sensibility. Or Simone Rocha, whose set-up featured models dressed as Victorian climbers walking amongst a snowy mountain landscape.
Rocha, who is renowned for using gauzy and lightweight fabrics like lace and tulle, was fascinated by Moncler’s signature down fabric, presenting quilted asymmetric dresses with marabou trim, and scarlet coats with fronds of ruffles. 'It was amazing to work on a project that required a new level of expertise,’ she says. ‘I wanted to work with materials that were signature to me like twill or cloqué, and balance those pieces with the down.’
‘We had real freedom,’ says Craig Green, whose presentation space featured two undulating mechanical structures, designed by London-based set designers Isabel + Helen, which resembled steaming pistols or globulous jellyfish. Green has a long fascination with underwater imagery, and his architectural padded designs resembled huge deep sea diving suits that protected the body. ‘They’re like crazy Moncler flotation devices,’ he adds of the pieces, which were presented against a dark backdrop of eerie mechnical noises, like the sounds of a submarine miles below the surface of the sea.
Moncler has always taken its catwalk set-ups to amazing heights. For its A/W 2017 show in New York, the brand recreated a majestic Viennese Ball at Hammerstein Ballroom, and for its S/S 2016 Gamme Bleu show in Paris, its regatta-inspired show set featured a catwalk installed with rowing boats. The Moncer Genius Building debut was a creative culmination of this performance-focus. Produced by Villa Eugénie, it also comprised of a Karl Templer curated installation featuring a giant patchwork sea of Moncler jackets, Sandro Mandrino’s presentation of models moving as if inside a huge reflective kaleidoscope, and Comme des Garçons’ protégé Noir Kei Ninomiya's darkly minimalist set-up, which featured mannequins clothed in innovative knitted down.
‘I believe that creativity has no boundaries,’ Ruffini says. ‘I conceived the Moncler Genius as a hub of exceptional creative minds, that will work together under the same brand, keeping Moncler's DNA alive.’