For a long time, fashion was a single endeavor. A creative talent was supported by their atelier, and as the face of the brand, they can be as strong as the history of the brand. While we are still moving in the direction of individualist ideology, the walls are crumbling. For good. It goes beyond the single friendship between high fashion designers and low-cost retailers of the 2010s and it’s about joining the powerhouse (plural) force. This is most surprisingly clear with the Italian brand, Fandes Deva, Gucci Hacking Balenciaga, and Ruff Simmons joining Muse Prada for its naming label. Moncler, however, has been emphasizing the combined narrative for years. There is power in numbers.
The Moncler Genius Project serves as a think tank for designers such as JW Anderson, Matthew Williams and Veronica Leoni, who were tasked with revising Moncler DNA. In this spring-summer 222 season, the group wanted to make a worldwide impression with Mondogenius, a great digital experience that spanned continents. Across five cities, Moncler Genius designers practically presented their collections. Think of it as an international zoom call to shared runways. “I truly believe in the power of community connectivity between experience and creative perspective,” said Remco Rafini, chairman and CEO of Moncler, in a press release for the brand. “This policy paved the way for the creation of the Moncler Genius for 2021.”
For Leoni, the creative force behind the 1952 2 Moncler, her goal was to reach the emotional level of her audience. Her spring-summer collection, streamed live from New York, taps Solank Knowles, starring in the short film “Rest Yours” directed by Khali Allah. Her spiritual performances softly complemented Leoni’s feminine designs worn by the artist, her bandmates, and the dancers. Tops and trousers were similarly hit with feather trim, while a trumpeter wore flared, puffer leg warmers. The quiet effect of a digital presentation instead of a runway is strong, which was exactly Leoni’s goal.
In front, He He spoke with Leoni about the design for the post-epidemic client, his creative process with Solange, and the future of collaborative design.
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It was the first full fashion season in real life. How did it feel to return?
Exciting! Release! I was claustrophobic in my own body!
What was your jumping-off point in terms of inspiration?
I wanted to challenge the idea of a highly classical 50’s silhouette translated with Moncler’s most authentic techniques. I loved the idea of bringing elegance and femininity to a major in a sporty universe.
What was your favorite part of the MONDOGENIUS experience? There were many musicians and artists!
Freedom from any boundaries and creativity with unlimited possibilities is the most desirable condition that a creative director can wish for himself. I was clear in my mind about what I wanted to do for the event and I enjoyed every step. Solanj has been so inspiring!
What was it like to imagine 2 Moncler 1952 performances with Solange?
After thinking a lot about the best way to actually show this collection, I decided to opt-out from the classical show formula. I wanted to touch the ropes of emotion and connect with my audience in a different way, adding more rituals and spiritual experiences to the collection that could be very tangible and emotionally attached to their memory.
I asked myself, ‘What have I been missing the most in these weird months?’ And the answer was simple: concert! The possibility of getting lost in a crowd and feeling the flow of energy between the artist and their people. That final moment of electricity and the feeling of fullness. The joyous experience of something like this is the most creative exchange I can give.
What goals did you want to achieve together?
Solank Knolls was exactly what I was looking for. Through his iconic performances, he was able to take us to another level. Make us feel connected to the energy through his voice, his movements and music. And I was fascinated when I got the first draft of the video! His performances have strengthened my collection and added his mysterious spirit to it, integrating royal architecture and the space around it. Intimate but courageous, engaged in the idea of transformation, growth, exile and new beginnings. The minimal silhouettes are the details and elaborate feathers of the exaggerated puffer as an unspoken ode to the beauty and power of truth in and around us. Solanj has used my perfect femininity as my music forever!
What was your favorite or most memorable input from him?
I exchanged mood boards according to my first input and I immediately loved seeing him be so far-sighted that not just in the music, but on everything: the architectural space, the overall impression on the costume, the composition and so on. The right direction and we didn’t need to talk too much! It was all there!
Today’s designing for women is a little different from pre-epidemic. How did you interact differently with this collection?
I have always been extremely realistic in my design approach. Perhaps, I’m trying to stick to the process with more essential and balanced results. On the other end, I feel a certain tendency towards an internal excess that I am trying to translate into my own language.
In recent years, Moncler has proven itself as a fashion hub for many designers. A continuation of Mondogenuis. What do you think about creative directors and designers being more collaborative, with new lightning-worthy partnerships like Fendes or Gucci “Hacking” Balenciaga?
I like it. I think nowadays everyone has their own genius. But as a creative director I believe in uniqueness. The establishment of Quira, my new brand, was definitely a way to ensure myself within the system. It was about creating a place, blowing a bubble where me and my team could reach out to our own rules, our instinctive approach, and like-minded colleagues and practice fashion. [Individual] Design is central and it is the ultimate tool in determining what it means to be authentic and recognized in a crowded industry.
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