Moncler flourishes best when it subdues the garish shine that’s become associated with new money. It’s a shame, really: any brand that’s expensive will eventually become a status symbol; the brand isn’t appreciated for its own worth, but for what it represents.
Under all of Moncler’s glitz and glamour lies a deeply technical brand. The most exciting releases of Moncler’s come under the ‘Grenoble’ diffusion line. The Grenoble jacket was Moncler’s original puffer, released throughout the 70’s and 80’s, and made infamous by the inside label’s talking duck, who carefully directs the wearer through washing instructions, as well as giving style advice: “I look smart at school”, he directs, giving a playful hint to Moncler’s youthful and affluent target market during Europe’s materialist and neoliberal flourishing.
The modern day Grenoble line is a subheader for all of its technical activewear. This includes skiing, snowboarding and general sportswear. Importantly, it’s the side of Moncler’s modern output that is designed – albeit at a significantly higher price – to compete with fashion’s current technical inclinations, and with the influx of brands like Arc’teryx, And Wander and The North Face.
As an example, there’s this Grenoble ‘Periasc’ jacket, which capitalises on minimalism while maintaining a futuristic edge. It isn’t Gore-Tex, but it needn’t be: most brands have now developed their own in-house Gore-Tex, one that has all the same properties but, due to being manufactured in-house, is cheaper. The padding is outsourced to Primaloft’s Gold range, while the star of the jacket is the zip system. The zips – one, off centre, the other, angled slightly – are highly water repellent with dual sliders. The diagonal zip becomes a pocket, giving the wearer control over placement on the body. The waistline can be synched to adjust for length; the hood finished with armour-like fastens.
Ultimately, this is a skiing jacket, but no one’s policing the pistes. It’s expensive, but if you’re inclined to wear Moncler, there’s far more bang for your buck here than with a garish shiny gilet.