As Moncler celebrate their 70th anniversary – from humble beginnings in a French alpine village to globally-renowned fashion behemoth – it felt like an opportune moment to reflect on our own unique partnership with the brand and offer up rare insight behind the scenes.
Aphrodite x Moncler – The Early Days
Although the quality of Moncler’s products is unfathomably high and their position within the world of contemporary fashion undeniable, the attraction for Aphrodite founders, Andy and Duncan, runs deeper than merely selling cool jackets.
With their origins steeped firmly in family business territory, Moncler’s heritage and integrity permeates everything they touch. These core values mirror those of our sibling founders and have formed the backbone of the Aphrodite business over the past three decades and counting.
“Originally, the ambition was to bolster our assortment of premium brands and supply sought-after pieces to a local audience”, reflect Andy and Duncan. In the AW11 season, Aphrodite became official stockists of Moncler and began a legacy of doing just that. “The ongoing expansion of our online business and flourishing partnership with the Italian brand, means we now satisfy the demand of a global market and ship our Moncler, Moncler Grenoble and Moncler Genius collections worldwide”.
As a result, the Moncler product range has grown at Aphrodite with each passing season and along with it the scale of the buying operation.
Aphrodite x Moncler – Buying: Behind the Scenes
To give you a flavour of Aphrodite’s burgeoning relationship with the brand, allow us to transport you to Milan to experience (vicariously at least) a day in the life of an Aphrodite buyer at a seasonal appointment at Moncler HQ.
Hitching a morning flight from Newcastle to Milan at some ungodly hour, the Aphrodite buying team – beers in hand, as is customary – fine tune their itinerary and prepare for the familiar warm welcome from our long-term partners at Moncler. It’s always a pleasure, never a chore.
Touching down and checking into the nhow hotel – a stone’s throw from the bustling waterway of the Naviglio Grande – has become something of a ritual but it’s also a calculated choice of abode. Situated in Milan’s unofficial design hub, the hotel is a convenient 20 minute taxi ride from Milan’s Malpensa airport and positioned right round the corner from the Moncler showroom on Via Andrea Solari. The hotel itself epitomises the swathe of excitement and creativity that has engulfed the district in recent years. Resplendent with bold furnishings in primary colours, cast against exposed pipes and packaged in a brutalist-esque concrete shell, the nhow is the perfect Lombardy basecamp.
When you’re in Italy, you’re going to want gelato. That goes without saying. For brothers Andy and Duncan, along with our Head Buyer Craig, nothing accompanies a saunter along the sunlit Naviglio Grande canal to the Moncler showroom quite like a soothing ice cold flavour hit in a tub; espresso and stracciatella is an especially satisfying combo. The distinction between gelato and ice cream is an important one, urges Craig. Typically churned at a slower rate and containing less fat and sugar than ice cream, gelato is an altogether denser and creamier consistency than its more commonly-scoffed frozen brethren. This icy delicacy ought to be submerged and covered with a lid for optimal temperature maintenance.
Sound a bit much? Well, this level of care and attention to finer detail is a hallmark Moncler themselves epitomise. The hospitality shown to our squad of buyers is as fine-tuned and considered as you will find anywhere throughout the buying season. Indeed, the exquisite branded chocolates received upon entrance to accompany a perfectly brewed espresso, are not there by accident.
Encased in exposed brickwork, multiple collections are suspended from rails spanning the parameter of the lofty showroom. In the centre of the room exhibited on black marble are footwear and a range of enticing accessories and luggage.
Products are selected, numbers are crunched. Certain details must remain truly behind the scenes but suffice to say, we have secured an immensely exciting product assortment for upcoming seasons.
A buying trip is, of course, primarily a business endeavour but it is also an exciting prospect. In order to squeeze in as many extracurricular activities as possible, it pays to have an optimised diary, and being creatures of habit ensures our buyers achieve a precision to their schedule that resembles something of an artform. Let’s just say they don’t miss the chance to guzzle a post-appointment Peroni.
With business tied up and the next season’s collections locked down, the evening calls for some well-earned luxuriating – and the Navigli district is conducive to achieving precisely that.
Between our three buyers, there is over a decade’s worth of collective effort gone into sampling all manner of Milanese cuisine. Invariably, when frequenting such a modern culinary hotbed, our buyers have honed their palates and have their list of go-to eateries and watering holes dialled in.
Modern though Milano may be, when it comes to honouring traditional recipes, Italians nationwide do so with gusto. And so it is that Vetusta Insigna became the quintessential Nivigli dining experience for our travelling trio; the traditional saffron-infused risotto alla Milanese and classic deep and decadent ossobuco call to them season after season.
Nothing rounds off a fine Italian meal like an exquisitely crafted digestivo. Equally true, is that no Italian cocktail is more deserving of being thrown down than a Negroni. Venue for this night cap: the liquor-lined walls of Rita, a cocktail bar a short trot from the buyers’ hotel. Remember the buyers’ artfully-precise schedule we talked about? It puts Da Vinci’s Virtuvian Man to shame. ‘But a Negroni is an aperitivo not a digestivo’, I hear you say. Semantics! After all, when in Milan.
Aphrodite x Moncler – Looking Forward
Seven decades of Moncler, one of which we have been honoured to be a part of. With the brand’s recent acquisition of Stone Island, not to mention the direction CEO Remo Ruffini has steered them in, Moncler’s exciting evolution is a pleasure to be a part of. A strong member of our family of global brands, Moncler is an Aphrodite staple, one which will feature heavily in our aspirational product assortment for many seasons to come.
So, we hope you enjoyed our behind the scenes preview with Moncler and here’s to many more decades of partnership, cheers!