It is easier to illustrate genius than it is to define it: the recognizable masterpieces of Vincent van Gogh and Georgia O’Keeffe, for example, or the transformative sounds of Mozart’s concertos. Genius is not simply a measure of intelligence, but talent driven by extraordinary creativity. And for Moncler CEO Remo Ruffini, this alchemy begins with a coat.
The Moncler Genius initiative explores the plurality of artistic intellect through a series of eight unique collections from designers like Simone Rocha and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli. Each capsule reinterprets Moncler’s signature aesthetic based on eight different points of view, including “wearable geometry” (number six) and “subcultural subtleness” (number seven). These concepts prompt collaborators to tap into their fashion fantasies while prioritizing the functionality of each project’s core element: a down jacket.
The final product was unveiled earlier this year at Milan Fashion Week as the Moncler Genius Building, a physical manifestation of the brand’s motto: “one house, different voices.” The massive exhibition space featured dedicated cells for each capsule, with everything from inflatable life preservers by Craig Green to the Grenoble line’s groovy floral patterns first shown on models affixed to the wall. The installation unified all eight projects in one space where Ruffini’s singular yet multifaceted vision comes to life.
“Moncler Genius has been conceived as a hub of exceptional minds operating together while at the same time enlightening their personal take,” Ruffini explains. “Each project fits together with the Moncler soul, creating a new identity that is truly authentic.”
The first, and perhaps the most remarkable, of the collections—which drops at Barneys New York in October—is by Piccioli, who experimented with the idea of “pure essence” for a Michelin Man–of–the–cloth–type capsule featuring towering, cone-like puffers and skirts. By deconstructing the classic puffer silhouette, Piccioli follows the idea that purity is reached when form reflects character. “His take on functionality with a couture touch is simply incredible,” says Ruffini of Piccioli’s designs. While Piccioli’s prompt was not necessarily to go viral (that would be capsule eight of the Moncler Genius series), his designs did—tickling the industry’s imagination and cropping up across social feeds. This impact, appealing to the millennial and Gen-Z consumer, is necessary as Moncler evolves to satisfy its increasingly diverse customer base, particularly those accustomed to a culture of instant gratification.
“If in the past presenting collections twice a year—in September and February—was fine, now it is not,” Ruffini says. “As so much is happening, we want to speak with our customers more often—every month, every week, every day, if necessary.”
The brand has adopted a fragmentation model in delivering the collections of the Moncler Genius project, with each being released successively each month as part of dedicated launch events. It’s a strategy that Ruffini says is required by the new digital and social media climate, establishing consistent dialogue with customers and an ongoing program of new content to keep Moncler on the “top of the mind” of its audience. This is accomplished while maintaining the integrity of the Moncler DNA—and inviting an array of creative visionaries to build upon that identity. It signals a new era for the brand, one that Ruffini calls an evolution.
“Moncler’s driving force lies in its ability to renew itself constantly by turning the challenges into opportunities,” he says. “Consumers are changing radically and our sector is transforming as fast as ever.” Considering this initiative as a method to keep up the pace, well, it’s simply genius.