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Ruffini’s genius, honed by his American experience, was to realise back in 2003 that serious outerwear would become hugely popular – and not only with skiers. Indeed, the high net worth tech-bro and the Succession wardrobes prove a padded gilet can carry more boardroom clout than a bespoke suit. ‘Look, I love the mountains, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t stay there as a business, you need to venture into the city,’ he says. ‘We ended up with a marriage of the two worlds.’ Last year Moncler Group – which also includes Stone Island – made more than €2 billion in revenue and €410 million in net profit, up 44 per cent on the previous year.

To elevate his label from practical to phenomenal, he engaged the power of couture in 2008, making Moncler one of the first fashion houses to enlist the creative talents of high-end designers. He signed up couturier Giambattista Valli and New York menswear titan Thom Browne to create collections. Since 2018, Moncler Genius – the fashion arm of the more practical Grenoble mainline – has borrowed the talents of everyone from Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli to London powerhouse Simone Rocha, to create micro collections twice a year. ‘It shows people that we’re able to create something more than ski jackets; it’s a new way to define luxury that’s more creative and exciting. With Thom Browne you have a professional guy who’s going to the office in a padded blazer, and with Giambattista Valli a woman who’s going to a special evening event with a quilted shrug,’ says Ruffini. It’s all a very long way from après-ski cosiness.

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Ruffini is curious about the new digital landscape around fashion, saying, ‘You always have to know what’s ahead, what’s coming.’ In the past he’s held virtual shows including one hosted by Alicia Keys with live streaming from Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai. But Moncler is not ready for the metaverse yet – apparently Mark Zuckerberg warned him, ‘It’s too early for you, but stay tuned.’

Back on planet Earth, Ruffini has a stringent sustainability roadmap. By 2025 Moncler is committed to 50 per cent of its yarns and fabrics being from lower impact materials, such as recycled nylon, wool certified Responsible Wool Standard, and cotton that is organic or from regenerative agriculture. By 2023 Moncler also commits to recycling at least 80 per cent of its production nylon scraps. In 2021 Moncler Group reached carbon neutrality at its own sites.

It appears his fans are now ready to take their urbanite puffers back out into the wilds: ‘Our customers are less tied to city life now, whether in Milan, Los Angeles or London. The pandemic caused a huge shift to greener spaces, and we’re seeing people keen to dress for being outside in nature, not just in winter but in all seasons.’ 

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