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LFW: Inside Moncler Genius - 'The Art of Genius'

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Fashion |In Pictures

Image: Moncler Genius

Moncler told fans to "expect the unexpected" with its Moncler Genius showcase during London Fashion Week - and it did just that, attracting more than 10,000 people to its immersive presentation colliding fashion, sport, art and culture.

The Italian luxury brand, known for its puffer jackets, took over the entire footprint of Olympia London, creating mini worlds to highlight each "co-creators" collection - from Adidas Originals to Pharrell Williams and Palm Angels. There was also Roc Nation by Jay-Z, Mercedes Benz, Salehe Bembury, Frgmt and a special display from Rick Owens.

'The Art of Genius' was billed as "redefining the year of Genius" to highlight all its 2023 creators, concepts and collections under one roof and Olympia allowed the brand to invite the public into its universe with an immersive and inspiring exhibition filled with fashion, live performances and even a foam party.

Image: Moncler Genius; Adidas Originals

Remo Ruffini, chairman and chief executive of Moncler, said in a statement: “When we launched Moncler Genius in 2018, our ambition was to create and share new energy with ever new communities, while going beyond the conventions of the fashion sector and collaborating with extraordinary talents to create something totally new and unexpected.

“This commitment to new forms of creativity and cross fertilisation continues to this day. What evolves are the spaces where this creativity takes place and expands going beyond boundaries. It is the ability to see and create together what we could never have imagined alone. It is the acknowledgement of a contemporaneity made of worlds that interact with each other and inspire reciprocally. It is all about our quest to always explore new paradigms.”

Moncler’s grand live event showcases collections with Adidas, Pharrell Williams and Rick Owens

Each of the collaborators was given their own space, Adidas Originals had a wall of cool, with models showcasing the padded-heavy collection on a scaffolding wall on the outside. While inside, fans stepped onto a conveyer belt in the middle of a gigantic digital glacier, complete with the havoc of fog, ice-cold air and elemental noise. It was trippy, to say the least, as well as beautiful.

Image: Moncler Genius; Adidas Originals

Stefano Pierre Beruschi, senior design director, culture collaborations and partnerships at Adidas Originals, added: “The Art of Exploration is fundamentally about fearlessly stepping into the unknown. Our collection takes on contemporary frontiers – from the city streets to the summit peaks – for a new context.

“The immersive event is an extension of this vision – toying with the senses in order to confront guests with an experience that is inspirational and outside of the norm.”

Image: Moncler Genius; Pharell Williams

While Pharrell Williams, the newly named creativity director at Louis Vuitton Men's opted for an outdoor wilderness for his 'Art of Terrain' concept for his collection. Visitors walked through the surrealist glamping site, with squishy moss underfoot and glowing trees, while models wore a range of Moncler looks where functionality was the focus, with detachable pockets and sleeves, and zippers that turned trousers into shorts. There was even a picnic blanket that doubled as a cape.

Commenting on the installation, Pharrell shared: “The Art of Terrain is taking in the world around you and getting inspired to create something beautiful. If you allow yourself to be open, you can find inspiration in almost anything.”

Palm Angels brought the fun with a foam party that wouldn't look out of place on the island of Ibiza, however, the brand was instead using the foam to symbolise Moncler’s affinity for snow. The space offered fans the chance to wear a limited-edition co-branded white parka to dance through the "snow-capped beaches and rolling desert clouds".

The Moncler x Palm Angels collection launches later this year and is a further exploration of Francesco Ragazzi’s fascination with vintage and Americana and offers a “post-preppy feel”.

Image: Moncler Genius; Palm Angels

Salehe Bembury designs ready-to-wear with Moncler

For Salehe Bembury, 'The Art of Elements' space centred around a rock monolith engraved with the designer's grain print, which turned and moved under the sunset light. This was Bembury's artistic take on how everything is connected and offered a fresh take on the outdoor explorer’s uniform for his ready-to-wear debut. Pieces centred around earthy, muted tones with utility vests with extra pockets and a reworking of Moncler’s signature Trailgrip sneaker.

“The Art of Elements is an exploration of palette, shape, and utility. From extensive time spent in the wilderness, I have developed a deep appreciation for nature and the elements that come with it. The Art of Elements is an exploration of the spectrum of energy that these elements deliver,” explained Bembury.

Image: Moncler Genius; Salehe Bembury

Moncler Genius at London Fashion Week

As well as fashion, Moncler Genius also presented innovations, such as baby-like robots, complete with puffer jackets by Fragment designer Hiroshi Fujiwara. The 'Art of Love by Frgmt' concept was devised as a "peepshow of the future," where the public rotated around the room, spying into the space through windows, watching models wearing matching houndstooth patterned and floral puffers and vests playing with the "lovots" robots as if they were babies.

Image: Moncler Genius; Frgmt

While Roc Nation by Jay-Z allowed the public to become the creator and part of its interactive orchestra with its 'The Art for All' concept. Guests were invited to record their own unique sound, which was mixed live by the producer in the middle of the space to create an "emotion-centred experience - because Genius lives within us all," explained the brand.

For the Moncler x Roc Nation by Jay-Z collection, pieces are conceived as a set of modular elements, with a limiting colour palette of creamy tones of white, khaki, black, and a pop of bright orange.

Moncler + Rick Owens

Image: Moncler Genius; Moncler + Rick Owens

One of the most statement spaces showcased Moncler + Rick Owens, with models rotating around a temperature-controlled soundproof interactive sleep pod for two people to coon themselves completely in Owens vision away from the pulsing music and light show. The models showcase the capsule collection’s elongated quilted silhouettes, which made a statement amidst the fog. Pieces include flight jackets, puffers, extra-long coats, skirts, shorts and tops.

Commenting on the concept, Owens said: “The Art of Design takes the aesthetic bubble concept of our last collection with Moncler further: to a personalised, quietly considered, and introspective bubble as a customised sleeping pod – with clothing to match.”

Moncler unveils partnership with Mercedes-Benz

But the highlight for most had to be the silvery, four-wheel monster car from Mercedes-Benz, affectionately known as ‘Project Mondo G’. The silvery beast, presented like a moon buggy within a starry backdrop dome, complete with dancers suspended in the air, took more than a year to make.

The collaborative art piece marks Moncler’s first automotive partnership, and merges its puffer with a Mercedes-Benz off-roader G-Class car, with quilted, puffer tyres, a giant zipper down the centre and a high-gloss reflective surface.

Image: Moncler Genius; Mercedes-Benz

Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at Mercedes-Benz Group AG, said in a statement: “The collaboration with Moncler inspired us to create a real iconic sculpture on wheels – a very bold design statement: our Project Mondo G. Based on our design philosophy Sensual Purity, this art piece merges extremely contrasting forms and surfaces: spacecraft shiny materials with a used patina look; strong geometry of the G-Class with organic forms of Moncler puffer jackets.

“Two strong luxury brands offer an extraordinary new experience by combining automotive and fashion world united in one piece. Because of over-dimensional and exaggerated language of forms it’s polarising art to set new impulses and trends.”

Moncler to release collection with Alicia Keys

There was also a live performance by Alicia Keys, who sang hits including 'This Girl Is On Fire' and 'Empire State of Mind,' to a dynamic light show backdrop. All performers also wore designs from the upcoming Moncler x Alicia Keys collection, which the singer describes as “cool, easy, 100 percent New York – inspired by late ’90s streetwear, but with a twist”. The collection will launch on March 23.

Image: Moncler Genius; Alicia Keys

Ruffini added: “Since day one Genius has been a promise of continuous evolution. Yesterday we doubled down on that promise. In London, we showed a vision that further expanded our universe of fashion collaboration to a platform of co-creation across different industries.

“We have seen the coming together of diverse sectors expressing themselves and creating a language that defines a new way to experience the brand: music, design, art, entertainment, sport and fashion have brought their unique codes and their energy together shaping memorable moments for our communities. This is Genius.”

The event also attracted celebrities including Lewis Hamilton, Serena Williams, and Hailey Bieber. In addition, all guests were gifted an NFT designed by digital artist Antoni Tudisco. Each NFT gives early access to future Moncler Genius collections, enabled by Arianee web3 consumer solutions.

Image: Moncler Genius; Frgmt
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