What makes someone a Genius? Do we all have the capacity for Genius?
On Saturday 25 September luxury brand Moncler used their on-going Moncler Genius project, whereby creatives are invited to interpret the Moncler down jacket, to explore what innovative communication and design mean in a global fashion eco-system. Press were invited as part of Milan Fashion Week to a live event in the city for the broadcast, hosted live by Alicia Keys, as films and video installations were watched by a global audience. The event was followed in the evening by a star-studded show at the historic Castello Sforzesco. In a world more digitised than ever before, Moncler attempted to bridge physical and digital as the notion of fashion TV takes hold.
Through presentations which spanned five cities, including Milan, Shanghai and New York, visionary creatives were once again invited to interpret Moncler's iconic DNA. The resulting event and project MONDOGENIUS globalises the Moncler Genius project, marking also a shift from their usual showtime of February to September. Designers and artists contributing to the project have always been taken from an international level, however MONDOGENIUS showed CEO Remo Ruffini making a wise move in terms of communicating with a global digital audience simultaneously, most notably in Asia, whilst as many other brands on the S/S 22 womenswear schedule reverted to linear runway shows.
Streamed across over 30 platforms, MONDOGENIUS is a digital experience combining each of the 11 chosen innovators' visions under the umbrella of Moncler. Keys spoke to a physical audience in Milan, whilst Victoria Song conversed with her live from Shanghai over video. The Moncler universe upholds collaboration as the way forward, underlined by an inherent attitude of internationalism as the presentation bounced between Shanghai, Milan, New York, Seoul and Tokyo.
'Today is not only about products, but is even more about our communities and the culture we want to shape together. The world is changing, people do not want the same things as before, they demand and expect more from brands. Today, we must find new ways to connect and engage, becoming pioneers of new messages. The greatest inspirations I had in my life came directly from people and at Moncler we know that the more we inspire people, the more they inspire us. 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,' said Chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini.
Grenoble showed the technicalities of Moncler best as performers defied the elements in outdoor wind tunnels in Shanghai, whilst as newcomer DingYun Zhang was the most closely aligned with the brief when it came to creating eye-catching and innovative clothes born from the down jacket as they looked at underwater sculpture for inspiration. FRGMT Hiroshi Fujiwara also represented Shanghai with a series of life-size screen-projections in Tokyo, London, Milan, Bristol, and Vancouver.
Over to Seoul and Gentle Monster made their Genius debut with K-pop artist and actor Hwang Minhyun, thinking about the idea of the digital swipe; then in Tokyo there was Japanese brand Hyke. In New York 1952 WOMAN hosted a spine-tingling performance by Solange, and Matthew Williams of 1017 9SM ALYX called upon Teezo Touchdown to perform I'm Just a Fan whilst surrounded by actual fans, welcoming some humour to the whole affair.
Emotion was the order of the day at Craig Green - nothing new there. Bringing his seasonal architectural campaign sets to life, sails imitated a boat out at sea, bringing to memory his A/W 17 human raft campaign. JW Anderson's collaboration with filmmaker Luca Guadagnino began with mannequins in a cinema, before, in true Guadagnino style, we were transported to cobbled Italian streets and sculpted male torsos set to moving orchestral music. Led by Anderson's lockdown muse, actress Sophie Okonedo, vibrant blue and yellow knitwear together with a baby pink puffer jacket were the most memorable clothes throughout. A moving performance by Guglielmo Tortarolo, cut together with Italian frescoes, showed room for emotion in the global commercial economy of fashion after a week of lots of meaningless 'clothes'.
Palm Angels paid homage to Americana style and vintage culture, with a film featuring filmmaker and visual artist Akinola Davies Jr. Elsewhere Sergio Zambon's 1952 MAN was a slightly confusing affair, taking viewers round an exhibition of contemporary artists at Milan’s Stazione Centrale.
Throughout MONDOGENIUS, it seemed the emphasis was, and perhaps rightly so, on connecting to an international audience as a global brand. On creating a narrative for those consumers and viewers to interact with, within which each designer's garments can live within. But the incredible innovation and often fantastical sculptural structures which usually take up the archways of the Moncler Genius show space, were notably absent in this shifted focus. This author's criticism is not of the fashion itself, but the lack thereof.
With OFF-WHITE's Imaginary TV, Coach TV, Telfar TV and Gucci's new online space VAULT all signalling to the future of fashion television (you can also explore all of SHOWstudio's video content through our own TV channel), MONDOGENIUS utlimately signalled to a desire for a more democratic means of fashion communication, but we mustn't forget about the clothes.