Rocky Moun­tain High

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Hong Kong Tatler - - Con­tents -

Moncler is a niche lux­ury player with im­pec­ca­ble cre­den­tials—but it wasn’t when Remo Ruffini took the helm

he worst of times have be­come the best of times for an elite group of bou­tique lux­ury com­pa­nies, in what’s be­com­ing a fa­mil­iar in­dus­try story: An ex­ec­u­tive takes over a flag­ging brand that’s 50 to 70 years old— To­mas Maier at Bottega Veneta (founded in 1966), Jean-marc Gaucher at Repetto (1947) and Remo Ruffini at Moncler (1952)—and trans­forms its for­tunes by go­ing back to basics, re­dis­cov­er­ing and repo­si­tion­ing its roots be­fore em­bark­ing on a global roll-out. Bottega Veneta was the finest Ital­ian leather; Repetto ap­pealed to women and girls and counted such lu­mi­nar­ies as Brigitte Bardot among its clien­tele; but Moncler, an unas­sum­ing French down jacket, cagoule and sleep­ing-bag brand? Cool, yes—but de­sir­able only to a niche group of ad­ven­tur­ers.

“When I took over Moncler in 2003, I had a clear idea. I wanted to cre­ate the ul­ti­mate du­vet jacket, an iconic gar­ment to be worn by ev­ery­body on ev­ery occasion,” says Ruffini. In­deed, he did—and in bring­ing Moncler down from the moun­tains yet still tar­get­ing those on- and off-piste, Ruffini has hit style­icon high and be­come a bil­lion­aire.

Wit­ness the brand’s lat­est dream­scape of an ad cam­paign that pits per­ox­ided male model-of-the-mo­ment Lucky Blue Smith with his sis­ter Pyper Amer­ica Smith in the wilds of Ice­land, shot by renowned pho­tog­ra­pher An­nie Lei­bovitz. “An­nie’s in­spi­ra­tion was the fairy tale of Hans Chris­tian Andersen—the Snow Queen. I went with An­nie and was en­chanted by the beauty of na­ture, a fairy tale in it­self. The ic­ing on the cake was that Pyper and Lucky Blue Smith played the roles so bril­liantly.”

Suc­cess also came with his re­cent pro­ject Art for Love, an ex­hi­bi­tion shown dur­ing Septem­ber’s Fash­ion Week in New York City, fea­tur­ing “32 of the best pho­tog­ra­phers of the mo­ment” who in­ter­preted the iconic Moncler du­vet jacket, Maya. The list of snap­pers as­sem­bled—bruce We­ber, Pa­trick De­marche­lier, David Bai­ley and Craig Mcdean, to name a few—is tes­ta­ment to Ruffini’s in­flu­ence and vi­sion. Art for Love is a pro­ject cu­rated by Fa­bien Baron, but a char­ity ini­tia­tive

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