SAINT MORITZ — One has to hand it to Remo Ruffini. Moncler Grenoble’s fashion show here was a production that succeeded in surprising even the most jaded industry veterans.
The goal of the chairman and chief executive officer of Moncler Group was to spotlight the Grenoble brand, further raising its visibility. He certainly succeeded, with a collection that was paraded on Saturday evening in the Clavadatsch lodge and its forest with a view of the tony Swiss resort town.
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Guests ranging from Anne Hathaway and Willow Smith to Kate Moss, Shaun White, Renzo Rosso, Carlo Capasa, Hwang Minhyun, Nina Dobrev, Olivia Palermo and Johannes Huebl, among others, arrived at sunset and walked a few steps into the forest, where a snaking catwalk was carved out in the snow. The step and repeat was surely unique — a group of life-size ice statues wearing puffers standing next to a giant Moncler logo, also in ice.
“It’s magical,” Hathaway said of the experience. “I wasn’t raised being able to spend time in the mountains, to ski, to enjoy things like these, so I’m actually very moved,” said the actress, who traveled to Saint Moritz for the first time and was on the slopes skiing a day earlier, admitting she did so cautiously and with an instructor. “I’m not very good yet but I’m having a lot of fun,” she said, beaming.
Moss was also in great spirits and curious about what to expect at the show. “Everything has been kept as a closely guarded secret, I don’t have any idea but the forest looks amazing, it’s so magical,” she said, concurring with Hathaway.
“Fashion meeting function, having products that look great but perform even better, having the board and riding with everyone today on the mountains was perfect, amazing,” said brand ambassador White. Moncler Grenoble has created its first snowboard design in collaboration with Whitespace, the brand founded by the three-time Olympic gold medalist and inspired by surfboards.
Nothing was left to chance — every guest wore a white Moncler cape and wireless headphones to listen to a soundtrack that ranged from opera airs such as “Casta Diva” to waltz excerpts as they walked into a fairy-tale landscape, streams of light dancing through the trees and piercing the darkness above the sloping ground. Concerns about the cold were quelled as the seats on wooden benches were heated and white wool blankets contributed to the cozy arrangements — Thermoses filled with warm wine or hot tea added to the comfort.
The production was there, sure, but it didn’t take away from the comprehensive coed collection worn by 135 models, who ranged from Mariacarla Boscono and Vittoria Ceretti to Irina Shayk and Joan Smalls.
Through the application of wool flannel and corduroy, the brand’s skiwear line was completed by outfits that are technical and can also be suitable for skiing.
Shirts turned into ski jackets, and flannel pants were laminated to be fit for the slopes. Stitch embroideries and maxi crochets landed on technical pieces and textures inspired by Fair Isle mixed fabrics and colors, which grew in complexity, reaching 1,600 components in a single jacket. Texture was also added thanks to embroideries and with a 3D effect.
The color palette for fall 2024 ranged from pale tones of snow and ice, to mixes of red, white and blue, as well as warm mustard and tree greens.
Intricate geometric intarsia reminiscent of traditional quilts were shown on both technical and sheepskin jackets. Quilting created the effect of Aran knit stitches on ski jackets. Apparel and duvets were fully fashioned in knits. Mixed media capes reflected the brand’s expertise with materials.
Oversize, cocooning coats were made with shaggy strands of virgin wool and alpaca, which looked like furs but were not as the company has been fur-free since the fall 2023 season.
The brand showed puffers with multicolored boudins created with the help of artificial intelligence, and quilts inspired by ’70s knits. Feminine looks were seen in cropped down jackets that hugged the torso and were worn over puffer miniskirts.
Some of the looks were also fit for off the slopes, such as the roomy wool pants with twisted rib stitches ideal for snuggling in front of a fireplace with a hot chocolate. There was an abundance of accessories, from beanies to backpacks and bags, not to mention a plethora of boots and eyewear.
It resulted in a beautiful and comprehensive collection that mixed style, sophistication and technology, blending function and comfort.
Saint Moritz holds a special place in the heart of Ruffini, who has a house in the town and is passionate about skiing. Last year, through Ruffini’s family investment vehicle Archive, which has a stake in Langosteria, Moncler partnered with Enrico Buonocore, founder of the Italian premium seafood restaurant, and opened its first high altitude location in Saint Moritz.
The idea of showing in the ski resort felt personal, as Ruffini explained before the show that Saint Moritz is a second home for both himself and Moncler, where the company opened its first store more than two decades ago. In December, the first Moncler Grenoble store was unveiled in Saint Moritz, the town here the bobsled was born and which for years has been known as a luxury winter destination for the jet-set. As reported, it has been undergoing a renaissance, with a renewed buzz.
“When we publicly listed the company, I said we wanted to survive fashion and that is not banal,” said Ruffini, as consistency and staying true to the brand’s roots is his mantra. “Grenoble has allowed us over the years to keep a foot in the sports world, in the mountains, skiing, active sports, hiking and biking, a world that is becoming increasingly relevant, especially in the U.S., and we need to raise awareness around our product, around Grenoble, which comprises high performance, après ski, and performance and style, where we express our maximum creativity on the slopes, and I think this is still not very clear to the end consumer. We have always been committed to Grenoble, but we didn’t’ really communicate this commitment.”
After highlighting the Moncler and Moncler Genius projects over the past several years, Ruffini believes now is the time to give visibility to the Grenoble line, focusing on the product. “I am convinced we must be more precise, balancing fashion and luxury with our root. I believe in creativity and that you can be stylish on the slopes, too.”
Moncler Grenoble owes its name to the city that hosted the Olympic Games in 1968 when the brand was the French national ski team’s official supplier. The first Grenoble collection was presented in New York in January 2010 during the city’s fashion week.
The last runway event held by the brand was in February 2017, a winter ball staged at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom during New York Fashion Week.
However, Ruffini said the event in Saint Moritz was the “first true show for the brand,” and that he saw more “itinerant experiences” for Grenoble going forward.
In 2022, Moncler rebooted Grenoble as the brand’s “high performance” division, flanked by the fashion-forward Moncler Genius line and the lifestyle Moncler Collection.
Fashion and luxury brands have increasingly been turning their attention to skiwear as a burgeoning category to deliver a rounded, lifestyle offer. Examples range from Louis Vuitton and Chanel to Balenciaga, which have all launched skiwear collections. Fendi, Brunello Cucinelli, Bottega Veneta, Paul & Shark, Pollini and Golden Goose, among others, have hosted activations in tony destinations such as Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy; Gstaad, Switzerland; Aspen, and Courchevel, France.
“Yes, this segment is becoming more crowded, but I am not worried,” contended Ruffini, confident in the brand’s expertise and its industrial capabilities. “We have set up a dedicated manufacturing plant [in Romania], and we combine style with high quality.”
He highlighted that outdoor experiences after the pandemic have become increasingly more important, particularly in the U.S. and Asia, with the consequent boom in the outerwear category. Ruffini noted that the brand has been extending its offer to the summer with lighter weight products.
Moncler Grenoble is the result of extensive research, experimentation and development of fabrics and techniques, which involves ski instructors at the best international ski schools in towns such as Gstaad, Kitzbuhel, Niseido, Verbier or Zermatt, to name a few.
“The technology trickles down to the other brands, Moncler Collection and Genius,” enthused Ruffini, “improving lightness and performance of the materials and comfort.”
The Saint Moritz Grenoble store was designed by the architectural firm Küchel Architects, and the impressive 3,230-square-foot space with seven windows on the town’s central Via Maistra pays tribute to the landscape of the surrounding Swiss Alps, with natural materials including wood, stone and marble juxtaposed with metal and futuristic design elements. A few steps away on the same street is the Moncler flagship store.
Further highlighting the brand, the company has been investing in Moncler Grenoble pop-up stores.
The Saint Moritz opening was marked by the release of a Grenoble dedicated ad campaign fronted by marquee athletes and brand ambassadors Xuetong Cai, Perrine Laffont, Richard Permin and Shaun White, lensed by Jamie Hawkesworth.
Launch Gallery: Moncler Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Photos
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