Moncler, the Italian luxury brand coveted for its innovative approach to skiwear, introduced their latest show MONDOGENIUS with a “digital world” aimed at reconnection. The collection presented film, music, fashion, and art through a warp around the world, hosted by none other than Alicia Keys and Victoria Song.
Known for their early collaborations with Simone Rocha, Richard Quinn, and Thom Browne, Moncler set the standard for the later famed partnerships like that of Gucci and Balenciaga or Fendi and Versace. For this year’s show, Moncler took it a step further, inviting 11 designers from 5 cities across the world to create collections under the storied label’s name, setting it within its own globalized digital landscape.
In recent years, fashion brands have departed from traditional runway shows, opting instead for virtual formats that democratize the experience. Social media initiated the lifting of the veil in the elite realm of luxury fashion, allowing a new type of access into the lives of directors, models, and editors alike. Last year Balenciaga revoked any sort of exclusivity by pulling the show off the map entirely, creating the first digital-only runway with gaming technology built by dimension studios.
Now, Moncler aims to open the realm of possibilities, breaking down borders through an immersive experience that includes the worlds of music and art emphasized by the meaning of connection in a post pandemic reality. A hard ideology to support with more than 3.8 billion offline according to Wired—that’s just shy of half the world’s population. “Today, we must find new ways to connect and engage,” shared CEO Remo Ruffini in the brand’s press release, again a hard statement to back.
The digital space centered around the “communities and the culture we want to shape together” Ruffini further announces. “The world is changing, and people do not want the same things as before. I truly believe in the power of connecting communities around experiences and creative visions. This is the principle that guided the creation of Moncler Genius for 2021.”
This is not to say that Monclar is poised for a diverse roster of creatives. While the claim sounds on par with what the brand has approached, the history of predominant white creatives calls into question how Moncler defines connection without diversification. As it stands now, designers outside of the traditional European selection for MONDOGENIUS were slim: Sergio Zambon, Hankook Kim, DingYun Zhang, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Hideaki Yoshihara & Yukiko Ode representing only half of the talent.
The show opens in an immersion of rich colors, bold typography, and ‘Planet Claire’ by The B-52s drumming in the background. Voiceovers by Keys and Song dissect the meaning of the immersive and its collection of collaborators. The screen goes black and the music continues to play before slowly fading off into the distance.
What follows is a medley of tightly cropped shots and wide angles from familiar parts of the mundane world casted in a new unseen vision. Aerialists float high among rigid architecture dressed in glossed and patterned puffers, spotted tie-dye jackets in canary yellows and crisp whites speckle the seats of a theater and parade down city streets to the soothing melody of Peggy Lee’s ‘Senza Fine.’
Again the screen shifts, transporting the viewer even further into the MONDOGENIUS realm of unearthly light shows and digital effects. Solange’s Saint Heron collection cuts in with an interpretive jazz piece reminiscent to the cultural sounds and movements of the ceremonial mask dance original to the Dogon people. Brisk shots of the Milan cityscape and the anatomical work of Craig Greene lay into sequence and reconstructed icecaps in the heart of Shanghai sit juxtaposed to the futuristic work of DingYun Zhang, YEEZY’s footwear designer.
Back in New York, the Texas born emo, punk rapper Teezo Touchdown comes into view, dressed in Matthew Williams’ latest collab with the brand, pierced with the artist’s signature metal nail facade. His recent release ‘I’m Just A Fan,’ a soothing balance of cloud and emo rap, softly comes in as his metal prodded locks chime together as if part of the melancholic undertones. Teezo, who’s viral hit ‘Strong Friend’ put him on the map, found himself featured on Tyler, the Creator’s ‘RUNITUP’ single before connecting with Williams who’s gothic streetwear seemed to suit the rapper’s own style sensibilities.
Teezo’s arms, 3D rendered by the work of Austyn Sux and OseanWorld, oscillate to the tempo of the music, picking up speed before the final clips of Gentle Monster’s matrix inspired coats and glasses flicker among the panels of light. As the show closes, Keys’ final welcoming of the future echoes in the concave of screens, concluding a new standard set by Moncler, but one that does not come without doubts for how the brand plans to expand further without globalization of communities.