There are few brands that can lay better claim to a reputation of pure, exuberant luxury than French label Moncler. With a status and character developed over years of creating beautiful, functional clothing with an unparalleled level of quality, the Moncler name is understandably held in high repute. Most famous for their work with goose down, Moncler are the creators of some of the most sought-after jackets and apparel in the world, with their appeal intersecting many different cultures, styles and age groups with their distinctly luxurious appeal.
Founded in 1952, Moncler is a brand steeped in tradition and heritage. Taking its name from the mountain village in which the brand was born — Monastier de Clermont, near Grenoble, France — Moncler’s now grand reputation has much more humble roots.
The brand was started by Rene Ramillon, an entrepreneur and a visionary, who started out by designing equipment to suit the harsh, mountainous local conditions. He authored over a dozen patents, by developing innovative designs for padded sleeping bags, and tents with external covering for camping; all bearing the Moncler name.
It wasn’t until 2 years later, in 1954, that Moncler began to develop the item that would make them famous: the goose down jacket. The design came about as a result of necessity. It was developed to help keep the workers in the Moncler factory warm; they would wear the down jackets on the outside of their overalls to shield them from the cold whilst they continued to work on Moncler’s outdoor range.
It took the infamous French mountaineer Lionel Terray to realise the potential of Moncler and Ramillon’s down-filled designs. After returning from an expedition, Terray asked Ramillon to produce snowsuits, gloves and sleeping bags to protect him against the extreme climates he kept encountering.
Moncler gear and supplies at the K2 base camp, 1954
The glowing reports that followed up on the return of Lionel Terray led Moncler to perfect their designs, and resulted in the brand being used on expeditions all over the world. In 1954, an Italian expedition used Moncler to conquer K2, the world’s second highest summit, whilst Lionel Terray took his Moncler gear to explore Alaska in 1964.
This was the turning point for Moncler, as the brand turned its hand to concentrate on this newly uncovered line of production. Moncler began to produce weather beating garments that would with stand the harsh conditions any mountain could throw at them — but it was in the cities and streets that the Moncler brand had started to create a buzz.
The result of this clash between cultures on the mountain side and in the cities drove Moncler to become the innovators that they have now been credited for. They made the first nylon and down quilted jacket, which used a technique to blow the down inner to fill the spaces in the jacket perfectly, resulting in an insulation that followed the contours of the jackets tailoring to a tee.
However, not resting on its laurels, Moncler continued to develop. It supplied the French national downhill ski team at the Grenoble Winter Olympics, which led to it’s now strong affiliation with European ski culture. This move was a key time for Moncler. They continued to develop their styles, with the assistance of the ski team, to develop the perfect down jacket to help assist the team’s performance. Features such as leather patching on the shoulders to protect the jackets material when the skier was carrying their skis over their shoulders were used-and are still prominent on some styles today. The exposure that Moncler gained through the Winter Olympics was unprecedented. Their rise to being one of the most sought after brands in the world started here, thanks to the high end nature of snow sport tourism.
The 1980’s proved to be another turning point for Moncler. Their styles were updated, thanks to the input of new designer Chatal Thomass. Moncler’s style was dragged down from the mountain sides of Europe and taken into the cities and towns, thanks to new features, such as bright bold colours, fur trims and high shine finishes-making the already lavish Moncler jackets appear even more luxurious.
Going into the 21st Century, Moncler continue to innovate and keep themselves at the cutting edge of fashion, releasing collaborative lines with world-renowned brands and designers like Thom Browne (Gamme Bleu), Visvim (Moncler V) and Ami. Most recently, the brand has partnered with stylist and designer Virgil Abloh for a line called Moncler O, combining classic Moncler designs with bold typographic and geometric prints in the style of Abloh’s OFF-WHITE label. Moncler’s mainline, while still encompassing the classic designs that made their name, also includes apparel and footwear that experiment with playful riffs on the iconic Moncler logo and tricolour detailing.
Celebrities Wearing Moncler
The luxurious background and ski resort chic that Moncler has enveloped itself in is personified by the list of celebrities who have been spotted in it. From timeless megastars like David Beckham, and Angelina Jolie to some of today’s hottest musicians like Drake and Rihanna, the list of fans for the brand with the mountain badge is endless.
Drake famously wore a Moncler coat in his Hotline Bling video
Browse this seasons full range of Moncler clothing and footwear at Aphrodite Clothing.