Reimagining Moncler, One Puffer at a Time
When Veronica Leoni and Sergio Zambon were tasked with reimagining Moncler for a new generation, they began, wisely, with the puffer. Since 1952, the label has elevated the shiny nylon jacket from utilitarian outerwear to a global fashion staple. In the ensuing years, the garment has become a favorite of alpine adventurers and retail fiends alike, as well as the centerpiece of Moncler Genius, an initiative with monthly launches meant to reintroduce the heritage brand to a wider, younger audience.
Leoni and Zambon, both tapped for the project by the company’s CEO, Remo Ruffini, opted to infuse the jacket with a riot of color, from emoji eggplant to burnt mustard. “We needed nylon and we needed the puffy thing, but we brought it to the city,” Leoni says. “I tried to find a mix between what is the DNA of the company and what is my inner, deeper taste and sensibility. Volume, shapes, experimenting with new fabrics—it’s really interesting to explore limits and push boundaries.”
Of those invited by Moncler to participate in the Genius project—designers from the first presentation in February 2018 included Craig Green, Pierpaolo Piccioli, and Simone Rocha—Leoni and Zambon were the only ones tasked with creating a women’s and a men’s line, respectively, which, together, they have titled 2 Moncler 1952. In their hands, the puffer takes on silhouettes lifted from The Matrix, appearing alongside fleece-lined baseball hats and flared pants. Zambon’s jacket participates in the global language of streetwear; for Leoni, feminine florals and elegant drapery elevate outerwear to the realm of high fashion. The line also includes a collaboration with Valextra, a Milan-based label delivering chic, boxy leather bags with nylon laqué details.
Taken as collections in conversation with one another, they traverse the peaks of New York rooftops and the valleys of London skateparks. “I love his way of being in this world, the very lovely effortless young coolness that he brings to the collection,” Leoni says about Zambon. “I think together, my woman and his man are a very nice couple.” For his part, Zambon, who was born in Egypt and is now based in Rome, sees his man as the free-spirited grandchild of Italian hippies. He borrows the color palette of a ’70s basement, rendered in luminescent Japanese fabrics. On one sweatshirt, the word “freak” is emblazoned in defiant block letters. “It brought to my mind the chic freaks of the disco period, like Freaky Tony,” he says. “I was thinking of the young people of L.A. leaving the big city to go to a canyon and be in nature. It’s a kind of 21st-century hippie— but also pop.”
Meanwhile, the woman of Leoni’s collection was created in the wellcoiffed mold of Paul Poiret, Charles James, and Elsa Schiaparelli. Wearing draped and cinched silhouettes coupled with high turtlenecks, it’s easy to imagine her sipping a cappuccino slopeside. With a background in literature, Leoni brings to her designs a narrative sensibility, invoking a sophistication that spans time and place. “It’s a very feminine point of view,” she says. “I try every time to create a new contamination, to update and bring into today what was appealing for women in other times.”
Models: Yabeen Seol at Elite Model Management, Marcus at Elite Model Management, Sasha Rodgers, and Ollie
Grooming: Michael Harding at D+V Management
Casting: Troy Casting at D+V Management
Photography Assistant: Denis Shklovsky
Fashion Assistant: John Handford
Grooming Assistant: Olivia Cochrane