It’s hard to believe that, at its genesis, Moncler—the Italian heritage brand associated with ultra-luxe performance wear and majorly hype-worthy puffers—had nothing to do with fashion and zero connection to luxury. But with its trend-forward skiwear label, 3 Moncler Grenoble by designer Sandro Mandrino, Moncler’s evolution from classic après ski outerwear to progressive street-tinged ready-to-wear has positioned it as one of the most relevant and exciting brands in the high fashion market.
A Practical Start
Buddies René Ramillon and Andreé Vincent founded the house in 1952 in a tiny mountain village near Grenoble, France; they thought it would be cool to create their own quilted sleeping bags and functional, rounded tents.
As for the the down jackets Moncler is so famous for? They were a happy accident–the pair scraped the coats together to protect their workers during chilly walks up to the factory. A French mountaineer noticed the outerwear and thought it might work on the slopes, too. (And as we know today, he was right.)
Two years later, in 1954, two Italian mountaineers wore Moncler’s high-resistance puffer coats to scale K2. The following year, a French expedition sported a Moncler down jacket to hike the summit of the Himalayan peak Mount Makalu.
This buried history hints at the wider evolution of après ski–the bougie slopes-oriented apparel category that could mean anything from the highly technical sportswear you don for isolated free skiing in Chamonix, to the oversized dark angel-style puffer vest celebs throw over a pair of graffitied pajamas. What was once the ultimate luxury signal (up until the 1950s, skiing was almost exclusively a jet-set endeavor) is at the same time rooted in the rugged, technical reality of life in sub-zero alpine conditions.
A Stylish Evolution
Over time, après ski has adapted both in terms of style and substance. In the early 20th century, après ski saw the first waxed jackets, and skiing surged in popularity among women, who then wore below-the-knee skirts on the slopes.
By the 1920s, women were wearing pants and, with the dawn of the Winter Olympics in 1924, ready-to-wear fashion began to showcase technical proficiency. Later, in the ’30s and ’40s, wool-lined, high-rise pants were ski standards, and manufacturers began experimenting with waterproof cuffs and tighter fits.
During the ’50s and ’60s, ski wear became a technically advanced, water-resistant extension of classic sportswear. It wasn’t until the ’70s, however, that après ski hit its aesthetic stride: Moon boots, psychedelic influences, synthetic materials, and technicolor hues showed up on and off the slopes. For the first time, après ski looks had trickled into mainstream fashion.
From the Slopes to the Streets
We’re now in an era where ski and snowboard wear can just as easily be streetwear or club-wear. Take 6 Moncler 1017 Alyx 9SM, 5 Moncler Craig Green, and 8 Moncler Palm Angels, for one. These limited-edition drops aren’t chalet specific; they hold independent weight. It’s not hard to envision iconic rappers in 8 Moncler Palm Angels’ bold, electric purple down—on or completely off the slopes.
In one particularly adaptable offering, 3 Moncler Grenoble’s collection looks to Italian rave culture. A fringed, unabashedly extra cherry-red puffer channels the self-styled aesthetic of the intentionally provocative early ’90s Roman techno scene. There’s an irreverent, rebellioustone to the collection—the attitude embodied by the platform shoes, ceramic-laced graphic sweatshirts, and neon polyester crop tops of the original ’90s scene.
The fact that 3 Moncler Grenoble’s jackets are also RECCO®️-enabled—hyper-technical and built to withstand the harshest temperatures and physical conditions—means that your ultimate statement piece could quite literally be your key to survival. Add army green tie-dyed snow separates, two-tone coating with fringing on the bottom, and loud, star-printed oversize puffers, and you have an après ski look that’s built for the most extreme ridges of the Chilean Andes—but also for the street.
Styled by Cassie Anderson – Hair by Conrad Dornan – Makeup by Tracy Alfajora.
Source by esquire