Walk around Madison Avenue in late December and you’ll locate each New Yorker worth his or her salt has suited up in a knitted dark puffer. Utilitarian, warm and lively, these coats have turned into the true winter uniform of urban inhabitants. Yet, the wealthiest, most in vogue and most cosmopolitan lean toward one brand: Moncler.
Fifteen years back, Moncler was a sluggish European organization, fabricating super-protecting coats for just the most bad-to-the-bone Alpine skiers and pilgrims. Presently it’s a standout amongst the most first class mold marks on the planet, with expound runway introductions, VIP fans including Kanye West and Drake, and joint efforts with any semblance of Nicolas Ghesquière, Junya Watanabe and Pharrell. In November Moncler opened another store on Madison Avenue, and however the brand as of now has a shop in the city, this goal-oriented expansion is set to be the leader for the US armada. The luxury, two-level, 6,500-square-foot boutique features a black-and-white marbled hallway, wood-paneled ceilings and an American-flag installation by designer Thom Browne made out of 28 starred or striped puffers. (Victor Cruz, Desiigner and Hilary Rhoda attended the opening; Spike Lee made a video for the occasion.)
“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this,” says Browne, who has helmed Moncler’s ready-to-
wear men’s line, Gamme Bleu, since its inception in 2009. In addition to the installation he has designed a unisex capsule collection, which includes the USA-flag jackets, for the New York City store opening. “Bringing together Moncler’s technological aspect, its expertise in active sportswear, with my classical tailoring is what I like the most.”
Moncler was founded in 1952 as a sleeping-bag company by mountain climber René Ramillon in Monestier-de-Clermont, in Grenoble, France. Soon Ramillon realized that the down-filled nylon sacks made excellent jackets for his workers, who were laboring under severely harsh conditions in Moncler’s small mountain factory.
By 1954, Ramillon was manufacturing outerwear, too, outfitting some pretty high-profile scientific expeditions. In 1968, he dressed the French downhill skiing team for the Grenoble Winter Olympics. The brand achieved a kind of cult status in the 1980s, when now-lingerie designer Chantal Thomass reworked the classic down jacket, replacing the zippers with buttons and introducing more flamboyant touches, like fur trim, colorful satin and reversible fabrics. But for the most part, Moncler remained a niche label, sold in specialty athletic stores and ski shops.