Moncler Spring Summer 2019 Milan Fashion Week by RUNWAY MAGAZINE
Moncler has taken a leap into a whole new strategy of engaging with collaborations, giving individual designers the license to extend their worldviews into big-budget, immersive experiences—a showcase devised by Remo Ruffini to shine light around its core product.
It’s hard to think of another brand that would set a brief of showing no product at a press event—but since the debut of the Genius Group project last season, the convention of run-throughs of clothes on racks has been ditched in favor of communicating through an impressive sequence of installations. This time, it was in the form of digital work played on the walls of a cavernous Milan warehouse gallery, individually authored by Craig Green, Fragment by Hiroshi Fujiwara, Noir Kei Ninomiya, and Simone Rocha, and anchored by an offering from Moncler’s own sub-brand, Moncler 1952.
Yes, Vogue had a full preview of the clothes that will constitute the retail and online drops of products, but the event tonight was centered on sensation and fashion imagination.
Ninomiya’s Noir concept involved giant 3-D, computer-generated figures of twirling women in sequences that felt akin to witnessing the head-down birth of cyborgs. The digital collaboration with Setsuya Kurotaki ingeniously magnified the petaled, silver grommet-linked, knitted, and flower-shaped mesh techniques the designer had wrought out of standard Moncler black padded nylon and its logo template.
Rocha chose a gardening theme, reasoning that her Spring Moncler collection should logically center on protection from rain—she’s Irish, so she knows all about that—rather than insulation from cold. There were flower jewels embedded in vinyl coats; ruffle-edged dresses; 3-D anemone and daisy embroideries; floppy-brimmed hats tied on with tulle scarves; and Wellington boots with broderie anglaise cut-outs.
There were also gardening gloves inserted with lace and flower-shaped sunglasses to complete this collection of the quirky Victoriana symbolism Rocha is known for. But, oh, her film: Directed by Tyler Mitchell (who photographed Beyoncé for Vogue’s September issue), it went deep. Shot with a group of girls in the scorching English summer in Wisley garden, with Rocha’s cinematographer boyfriend, Eoin McLaughlin, it evoked a hypnotically beautiful, disturbingly morbid atmosphere, hovering somewhere between The Virgin Suicides, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and a cult surviving on the edge of extinction. Seeing the characters tending the gardens, digging a trench—then a sudden lingering shot of a girl lying under a sheet of plastic, covered with flowers: There was a frisson of horror there.
It’s work that deserves a more public screening. Rocha stated she very much appreciated Moncler offering her the opportunity to stretch and experiment. “I had to make sure people felt the emotion, that the girls felt very displaced, like their identity is their work. It could be Down South; Arizona, even,” she said. “I didn’t want to make a fashion film; I wanted to make a film film. It was really exciting working with a creative team in a completely separate discipline from fashion.”
Green’s installation was a set of giant video projections of the mechanical contraptions he loves to construct. This time they were twirling, jumping, bouncing, windmilling sculptural frameworks for the vast rain ponchos that will be dead-cert cult objects for Moncler next season. “It’s fun working with them because they have so much technical ability,” said Green. “The brief was to try color, so we went for the most celebratory ones we could think of, looking at windsurfing sails, kites, and flags. Also, it’s summer—I burn terribly—so I thought of what could protect you: tents, hoods . . . .” Green’s design language and his ability to fuse concept with real garments is truly unique.
Fujiwara, designer of Fragment, is a Japanese hero of streetwear. His collection, printed with serial numbers and logos, was a practical fusion of American generics—varsity and jean jackets, plaid blazers, field jackets. Its title was World Tour, but Fujiwara’s fantasy animation also had an apocalyptic undertow, with a hero eventually escaping earth to float in space.
The Moncler 1952 collection comprised a more accessible urban wardrobe for men and women. Perhaps what’s most striking about it is that it’s a fully merchandised ready-to-wear line now. The Moncler classic, generic Bady jacket still exists, of course. It’s the thing that’s bankrolling all of this artistic experimentation.