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