Clever Strategy Jay Z and Mercedes Benz to Show at London Fashion Week Alongside Moncler
The coming together of fashion designers? In other words, they’re done. For the time being, at least, that seems to be the case at Moncler, whose highly regarded five-year Genius project is “evolving from a world of fashion collaborations to a platform for co-creation across different industries,” as the company announced today.
Genius, which previously focused on a high-volume series of designer collaborations with names like Japan’s Hyke, is expanding its scope to include non-apparel categories as part of its new strategy. Mercedes-Benz, based out of Stuttgart, is the fourth partner on the new Genius roster, joining music industry heavyweights Jay-Roc Z’s Nation, Alicia Keys, and Pharrell Williams. Most notably, Jay-Z is a part of it; he sold his clothing line, Rocawear, in 2007 and is rumoured to own multiple Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Williams was an early partner of Moncler, and Keys directed a digital presentation for the brand as part of the Moncler Genius initiative in 2021. A further intriguing crossover is the inclusion of Mercedes-Benz, which has a long history of sponsoring fashion weeks but has never appeared on their schedules.
As chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini first introduced the term “co-creation” in May 2022, it signifies Moncler’s acceleration beyond the fashion industry to attract new audiences and drive further growth. This co-creation focus appears to imply that new products will be produced by all parties involved and not just Moncler, whether in the audio, fashion, transportation, or other categories. A representative did not want to comment on the upcoming collections. Outwardly, it appears to be more money poured into the Genius machine. The Moncler Group’s total revenue in 2021 was over €2 billion. According to what Ruffini said in May, Moncler Genius generates between 5 and 10 percent of total sales. Mercedes-Benz, in terms of market potential, had sales of €168 billion in the same year.
In other words, fashion is not missing from the new Genius. At the London Fashion Week launch of Moncler on February 20th, concepts will also be presented by Adidas Originals and the designer who is disrupting Crocs, Salehe Bembury. Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Frgmt, as well as Palm Angels, a high-flying Paris-showing streetwear brand founded by Francesco Ragazzi, formerly the art director of Moncler, have returned as fashion partners to Genius. Rick Owens, whose installation was one of the highlights of Moncler’s most recent physical reveal in February 2020, is the final designer participating, but his eccentric nature means he does not identify as a Genius.
Subscribe to American Vogue for a year and receive a special edition tote. The time to subscribe is now.
Each co-creator, if the previous event is any indication, can expect to have their own booth or area in Olympia London for the benefit of industry guests and audience members (tickets will be available via Moncler.com). The goal of any given installation is to not only showcase the collection in question but also to personify the ideas that inspired it. According to a press release issued by Moncler, the event would feature “immersive experiences and performances that represent their creative visions” from the various collaborators. A representative would not say whether Jay-Z, Keys, or Williams would be performing live, or if any other musicians associated with them would be.
Ruffini has used collaborations as a means to increase brand visibility and, as he puts it, “create energy” since his early partnerships with Balenciaga and Junya Watanabe in the mid-2000s. About the new book, Ruffini wrote in an email, “At Moncler, we strive to continuously be an expression of the times, which goes hand in hand with the instinct to never stand still. We are expanding our methods of collaboration and investigating opportunities in a variety of fields because “genius” was born from a determination to think outside the box and make constant progress. In addition to working with former Apple designer Jony Ive on an unannounced project, the company also announced a collaboration with Sacai at its Paris fashion show last month.
After discontinuing the Thom Browne and Giambattista Valli-designed Gamme Bleu and Gamme Rouge collections shown on the runway in 2018, Moncler introduced the Genius concept that same year. At first, the list of partners was limited to those in the fashion industry (with a side serving of dogwear).
The decision by Moncler to bring in such a powerful roster of talents and brands from the fashion industry and beyond is a huge boost for London Fashion Week. London Fashion Week (LFW) has gained two “tentpole” moments (shows thrown by globally powerful houses) with the addition of Moncler and Burberry, both of which are showing on the same day. It’s safe to say that Monday, January 20 will be a highlight of the fashion week schedule, with the debut of Daniel Lee’s Burberry collection on the runway and new collections from a star-studded roster that includes Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Rick Owens.