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Full review of the exclusive Moncler Genius MFW event

Presenting the upcoming collections and new designers

Full review of the exclusive Moncler Genius MFW event Presenting the upcoming collections and new designers

Last night in Milan, an event took place the anticipation of which has only been surpassed by the mammoth feat of putting it on. It was time for Moncler’s Genius - One house, Different voices event. Taking place in the cavernous tunnel chambers running adjacently underneath the central station, a restoration project that Moncler’s CEO Remo Ruffini has personally been involved in bringing to life together with the county of Milan. Redeveloping the over 40 thousand square meters of Raccordati Warehouse spaces, which have held a rich historical and cultural value to an area that in the past played a key role in the urban development of Milan. The project has brought new life into a neglected area that last night arose from its chrysalis to spread its newly developed wings in the sign of Moncler. 

It is a 5-minute walk from the train stations epicenter walking parallel to the train tracks, with the first indication being a faint yellow light, that as one approaches becomes the epic Moncler Genius monolith that has functioned as a guiding beacon in the social media campaigns leading up to the event. The Moncler Genius project which was inaugurated almost exactly a year ago has been a very innovative and fresh wind blowing through Moncler. Discarding the paradigms of the past, Moncler took on no less than 7 contemporary designers to create a unique capsule each for their individuals visions of Moncler. Dropping in a manner more closely related to streetwear brands with a new collection coming to market ever 3-4 weeks. Among the first group of selected designers were visionaries and radicals alike, among them Hiroshi FujiwaraCraig GreenSimone RochaKei Ninomiya, and Palm Angels, along with the in-house collections Grenoble and 1952. Just before the year's end, Moncler started whispering about the continuation of the Genius project that has now seen the confirmed additions of Matthew Williams and Richard Quinn. Quinn who’s a rising star within the new generation of British designers, and William’s that with his own 1017 ALYX 9SM brand, coupled with the work he’s done in collaboration with Kim Jones for Dior and the technical training line at Nike, has seen him rise to a point where its hard to think of any designer that’s currently hotter, and admittedly who we’re most excited about seeing on the evening.

Once passing the welcoming Moncler monolith the sheer magnitude of the event scale starts to dawn on you. Fire-born torches aline a massive walkway which runs along a dozen or so bunker like chamber vaults that go in underneath the train tracks above, with every vault containing a specially designed art installation dedicated to each of the Moncler Genius designers. When entering, it's more like stepping into a complete little immersive world where the presented collections feel like characters one would meet along the way. 



First in line, we enter the Grenoble room, an initial impression that can really only be likened to stepping into a candy rave washes over you. I dizzying array of fluorescent colored fluff hangs and covers everything in sight, while bathed in UV black light making everything glow. The collection designed by Sandro Mandrino takes inspiration, not so surprisingly, from hippie festival of the 70’s, to bring that juxtaposition to the ski slope, mountain-based, utility that stands as central to the Grenoble lines heritage. 



Next, it’s time to enter the Palm Angels room, met by a foyer containing 8 large screens mounted on each side of the facing walls, it quickly becomes apparent that the images on the screens are from surveillance cameras mounted within a gallery like showroom behind the wall. The designer Francesco Ragazzi, a constant provocateur, conveys a feeling of the modern surveillance society whilst giving the establishment a light finger by placing his golden laminated creations sprayed with graffiti and adorned with nods to punk with their needles, studs and anarchist fonts, in a pristine museum-like environment just waiting for things to kick off. 



Afterward, we enter two rooms dedicated to the new Moncler 1952 collections, a male, a female, and the collaboration between 1952 and Valextra. The first is dedicated to the solo collections, a giant, long display case presents the models wearing the pieces under a line of color changing lights, along with an array of strobes creating an infinitely mirrored rave terrarium as the lights spring into action at random. In the connecting room, under a series of geodesic dome, the Valextra collab with its clean monochromatic looks are presented. 



Up next it’s time for one of the newcomers, as we enter the room dedicated to Ricard Quinn. A room of opposing realities, the ceiling is a concave mural of colorful flower paintings, where the floor is all in black with rows of charcoal colored flowers made from textiles along its side. In the center, his pieces with fully covered flower and animal prints on tights and large puffer jackets are presented.



Then it was time to enter the world of Craig Green, having had a casual chat with him during the last Moncler event, where we’d spoken about his fascination with physics and the wind-driven installations he’d presented that time on screens. Green this time has taken things a step further by bringing an array of actual wind-driven sculptures to Milan which were suspended above us. At random a huge industrial sized fan would rev up and breath life into the creations as they rotated with the power of the wind. Continuing his explorations of space and volumes the presented collection this season focuses on the modular, with different details being able to be detached, folded and sealed within the garments to be brought back into use when need dictates. 



In the next room, we literally entered a birch tree forest, into the world of Simone Rocha. The mirrored walls gave the forest an endless depth that felt like one could easily get lost in this world forever. The pieces were presented through Red Riding Hood like figures that with their romantic forms and voluminous silhouettes gave hope to this slightly menacing place. 



A bit of lightheartedness then followed when we entered the Poldo Dog Couture room. For the canine that has everything, why not go all out by adding a mini Moncler vest to the rotation. The room felt like stepping into a cartoon world with a Simpson-esk supermarket storefront and large pixelated sculptures of trees and shopping carts in bright primary colors. 



Then it was time to see the collection we’d most anticipated, it was time to see what Matthew Williams of 1017 ALYX 9SM would create when given the considerable and powerful resources at his disposal at a house such as Moncler’s. The chamber itself stood in stark contrast to the rooms that preceded it, with its minimal dystopian look built from black scaffolding, the focus was definitely on the pieces themselves worn by a series of models at different locations around the room. At first look, the eye has a hard time not to wander to what in many ways has become Matthew Williams' signature, the buckle hardware. This time in a Moncler branded iteration, the most impressive of which is a 3-lock system on one of the knee length black jackets. The fabrics are in a thin yet durable Nylon on the base layer items with tapered seams, and additional thicker top layers in the form of puffer and leather jackets. With the Nylon fabric allowing layers to be very cleanly executed. The collection is prominently in black with a few items in red, white, grey, and splashes of orange. At the feet, we met his new Moncler design of boots, in a robust rubber one piece which gave both a utilitarian and modern look. One is left with the resounding feeling that he’s delivered on what we all hoped he would, a very strong Moncler capsule.



Next door we then arrived at the collection of Pierpaolo Piccioli. The space had a ballroom atmosphere with its wooden floors and on it the playful silhouettes of Piccioli seemed to invite you to dance with their frozen rhythmical inertia. Continuing his aesthetic of bold, bubbly silhouettes. Piccioli fuses the language of couture with patterns that recall African textiles.



Last but certainly not least, we return to where things once started, when we at the inaugural Genius collection in Florence last year, had the chance to sit down and talk with the legend, Hiroshi Fujiwara. His Fragment collection was presented in a room where projections filled almost every available surface from the ceiling to the floor. The visuals made the room breath while immersing you in other worlds. The collection continued Fujiwara’s vintage urban mix aesthetic with bomber jackets and parkas in military green styles.   


When looking at such an impressive presentation in its entirety it really is quite hard not to be overwhelmed by an event such as Moncler’s. In a time wherein all honesty Milan, like most fashion weeks outside of Paris' are in decline, Moncler, by going that extra mile, creating mind-blowing art events instead of catwalks presentations that are over before they even start, by reinvesting in the city of Milan, and taking on brave concepts and designers like the Moncler Genius project does, one can only tip one's hat and say bravissimo. With their slogan of One house, Different Voices, we must conclude that Moncler Genius is a house and voice that is speaking more brightly and clearly than almost any other at the moment. 

For a chance to see the location and the collections, Moncler Genius will be open to the public this Sunday, Feb. 24th. Head over to the Moncler site to register now.