es­sen­tials of style

The in­dus­try-shak­ing Mon­cler Ge­nius project is kick­ing off strong with the first drop by streetwear lead Hiroshi Fu­ji­wara of Frag­ment.

Esquire (Singapore) - - Contents -

Mon­cler x Frag­ment.

The best pop col­lec­tives were of­ten the re­sult of find­ing in­di­vid­ual tal­ents and bring­ing them to­gether to form a unique and solid har­mony. Des­tiny’s Child was one and so was One Di­rec­tion. The lat­ter was plucked in­di­vid­u­ally from ob­scu­rity on a real­ity tal­ent show and then groomed and ar­chi­tected by en­ter­tain­ment mogul Si­mon Cow­ell.

Remo Ruffini is fash­ion’s Si­mon Cow­ell equiv­a­lent. But in­stead of cre­at­ing a new band, he’s for­mu­lated a su­per­band of known pow­er­houses. In Fe­bru­ary, the chair­man and CEO of Mon­cler an­nounced a new struc­ture in the brand’s op­er­a­tions that’s a com­bi­na­tion of tra­di­tional sea­sonal drops with the hype of cov­etable de­sign col­lab­o­ra­tions. The Mon­cler Ge­nius project is ‘tra­di­tional’ in the sense that there’s building expectation to the col­lec­tions—all eight col­lab­o­ra­tions were shown in their en­tirety dur­ing Mi­lan Fash­ion Week in the Mon­cler Ge­nius Building—and we do know who the col­lab­o­ra­tors are and how the col­lec­tions look like. As part of the an­nounce­ment, and a de­tail cov­ered by al­most all fash­ion me­dia, each of the Mon­cler Ge­nius col­lec­tions was as­signed a num­ber. The first in line was Pier­paolo Pic­ci­oli, fol­lowed by 1952 and ended with Palm An­gels. This how­ever, as we had learned only in May, is not in­dica­tive of the drop se­quence. Be­cause the first is ac­tu­ally the sev­enth in line: Mon­cler x Frag­ment.

Hiroshi Fu­ji­wara of Frag­ment is cer­tainly no stranger to col­lab­o­ra­tions. In fact, all he does is col­lab­o­rate with other brands and artists. His last lux­ury fash­ion col­lab­o­ra­tion was with Parisian house Louis Vuit­ton just last year. It was the sec­ond, but a more evolved af­fair, than the first Ja­pan-only ex­clu­sive col­lab­o­ra­tion back in 2016. Mon­cler x Frag­ment is his first time work­ing with tech­ni­cal out­er­wear, a chal­lenge he very much wel­comed.

“I re­ally en­joyed this project and be­ing a part of it. Mon­cler

makes use of in­no­va­tive con­struc­tion tech­niques and high-tech ma­te­ri­als. And I am very in­ter­ested in all the tech­ni­cal as­pects re­lated to cloth­ing,” shares Fui­ji­wara.

Mon­cler x Frag­ment is un­de­ni­ably edgy and cool. But it’s not some­thing that’s to­tally out of Mon­cler’s de­sign range. It’s a har­mo­nious blend of Fu­ji­wara’s streetwear sen­si­bil­i­ties with Mon­cler’s renowned goose-filled out­er­wear; no de­tail seems out of place or seeks to gain con­trol over the other. There’s also that sense of fa­mil­iar­ity. Puffy down out­er­wear have been part of the streetwear style vo­cab­u­lary since the ’90s.

Fu­ji­wara tells us that Mon­cler didn’t con­fine his ideas to any pre­con­ceived no­tion of how it wanted the col­lec­tion to be. “The aim of the project was to rein­ter­pret the iconic down jacket while re­tain­ing the brand unique­ness and func­tion­al­ity. I have been able to add my essence to the col­lec­tion, shift­ing the Mon­cler du­vet to my own pa­ram­e­ters,” he states. And shift he did.

The tech­ni­cal down pieces, es­pe­cially those in black, have a leather-like sheen to them and come in a well thought-out range of it­er­a­tions. There’s the reg­u­lar long-sleeved puffer jacket, a hooded ver­sion that’s also avail­able as a vest, as well as di­a­mond quilted bomber jack­ets—just to name a few. Aside from the de­bossed Mon­cler and Frag­ment brand­ing on most of the down out­er­wear, Fu­ji­wara added the slo­gan ‘to the south; to the west; to the east; to the north’ un­der the Mon­cler name to se­lected styles. Fu­ji­wara ex­plains to us that the idea was to mash to­gether dif­fer­ent ref­er­ences and el­e­ments and then re­for­mu­late them in his own way. He wanted to con­vey a sense of global unity; the Mon­cler man can take his down jacket to wher­ever he wants to.

It’s a no­tion that Fu­ji­wara him­self is very fa­mil­iar with. Hav­ing started as one of Ja­pan’s premier hip-hop DJs, he trav­elled to Lon­don and New York City in the ’ 80s and gained a whole new per­spec­tive about what mu­sic, art and fash­ion could be. “Mu­sic in­spires me the most; I would say about 80 per­cent. It’s an in­te­gral part of my life,” he says. For Mon­cler x Frag­ment, this is re­alised through the punk-in­spired mo­hair jumpers that seem to ap­pear as though they were hap­haz­ardly frayed and had been thrashed around in. Add to that the sleek long coat stamped with the word ‘back­stage’ on the back and the col­lec­tion could very well be the tour­ing wardrobe of a band and their en­tourage.

Un­der­stand­ably, Fu­ji­wara kept mum when asked if he plans to con­tinue be­ing part of the Mon­cler Ge­nius band. He’s known to march to his own beat but this col­lab­o­ra­tion seems al­most too on-key to only be a one-off. And truth be told, we think this band will prob­a­bly band to­gether for at least another sea­son. “Stay tuned,” Fu­ji­wara says. It sounds like another hit is al­ready in the works.

Mon­cler de­scribes Hiroshi Fu­ji­wara as “a cul­tural fo­menter and a pop in­fil­tra­tor”.

Fu­ji­wara set his own pa­ram­e­ters to re­de­fine the Mon­cler du­vet.

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