Italian luxury brand Moncler made a radical break with tradition at Milan Fashion Week. Instead of introducing a single Fall/Winter collection, Moncler showed eight separate lines by eight different designers, including some astonishing, almost unwearable pieces by visionaries such as Craig Green, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Simone Rocha, and Hiroshi Fujiwara.
One of these collections will be rolled out each month, helping Moncler remain continuously relevant to younger, media-saturated consumers with frayed attention spans.
Initial responses in China have seen some perplexed, but garnered support from more fashion fixated commentators. Writing about the show on her Weibo account, Vogue China’s editor-in-chief Angelica Zhang (张宇) said, “Collaborating with eight designers, the Moncler Genius project gave me lots of inspiration and stimulation. Awesome!”
The new strategy is the brain child of Remo Ruffini, the chief executive of Moncler, who titled the project “Genius”. Forty percent of Moncler’s revenue already comes from East Asia, and the brand is only likely to become more relevant in China. Xi Jinping hopes to grow the number of Chinese snow sports enthusiasts from 10 million to over 300 million, a move supported by Beijing's winning bid for the 2022 winter Olympics.
Genius is being given a strong push in China, where it currently dominates the home page of the brand’s Chinese website. Chinese actress and model Crystal Zhang (张天爱) attended the Milan show wearing items from the brand’s 2018 Spring/Summer Twist series, and images of her attendance were shared on Moncler’s Weibo account, which has 56,000 followers.
The new strategy is bold, more reminiscent of sports or streetwear brands like Supreme or Adidas than it is more traditional luxury brands. Moncler has been just as willing to innovate in its digital approach in China as it has been with its shows and designs.
When we last spoke to Ruffini, he discussed Moncler’s WeChat mini-program store. “We are one of the few luxury brands who believed in this great opportunity and we are going to launch another ‘temporary store’ within WeChat in the coming months, each time with dedicated collections.”
That's a model that makes even more sense as part of the new Genius strategy.
Moncler’s chief operating officer Roberto Eggs said the company aims to double online sales, which currently make up just three percent of revenues, behind an average of nine percent across the industry. He believes that will help Moncler grow at a faster pace than the luxury industry as a whole. Consultancy Bain predicts that sales of luxury goods, now worth 321 billion, are predicted to grow at four to five percent annually until 2020.
“I think creativity has no boundaries,” Ruffini said.