Moncler and Craig Green have proved a potent combination in their previous two collaborations, and this month sees the pair explore their relationship further with the launch of Green’s contribution to the Moncler Genius Project, a supergroup concept that invites eight diverse designers to add their own spin on the Moncler identity. (Alongside Green, the line-up includes names such as Simone Rocha, Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccoli and Kei Ninomiya.)
Using Moncler’s down jacket as a springboard, Green pushes his conceptual approach to voluminous depths. Throughout his work, Green has often riffed on the idea of protective devices, both psychically (such as his FW17 campaign, in which he transformed his collection into human rafts) and metaphorically (think back to the emotional baggage and mindful trekking of FW18’s travellers), but for this Moncler capsule collection the London designer turned his mind towards “the layering of protective devices and garments; life vests, swimming aids, isolation tanks, spacesuits and life rafts”.
This inspiration is realised through puffed-up full body pieces that cocoon the wearer in a soft, inflated silhouettes that appear like otherworldly spacesuits. A palette of white, black and midnight blue harks back to the uniform references that are a ubiquitous feature of his work, while the sculptural, padded shapes created with matte nylon and cotton create a futuristic vision of garments in which to weather the elements.
“I have always explored ideas of protection and functionality within my work, something that is also at the core of Moncler’s heritage,” Green explains to us below. “I thought it would be interesting for these ideas to be pushed further, interpreting Moncler’s performance based history, and developing designs with their years of technical knowledge and expertise.”
We spoke with Green about the 5 Moncler Craig Green collection, and how the two have built on their previous work together.
Victoria Fell: How long has the collection been in development?
Craig Green: The collection was first launched in July 2017, so over one year between first sketches and launch in store.
VF: What does Moncler as a brand mean to you? What are the mutual values that you hold?
CG: The Genius collection for FW18 is the third collection I have designed for Moncler, building on from the Moncler C capsule collection that we created together. Ideas of protection and functionality are at the heart of Moncler’s heritage, and are also something that I have always explored in my own work. Interpreting these ideas in terms of protective forms, life-aids and human life-rafts are all ideas I explored for the FW18 collection, along with the balance between solid forms and an idea of lightness. Although what I do in my own brand is a very different approach, I used these similarities as a starting point for the Moncler collection, exploring Moncler’s heritage whilst interpreting it in a way that aims to push those traditional ideas further.
VF: You’ve previously worked with Moncler before – what drew you back?
CG: When we initially discussed the Genius project I was already working with Moncler on their Capsule collection (Moncler C), and so continuing our collaboration under the Genius project felt like a great opportunity to build on ideas and aesthetics that we had already started developing together.
VF: Your collections are famed for their sculptural shapes – how easily did that translate into your work with Moncler?
CG: The shapes and forms for the FW18 Moncler collection all came from protective devices and garments; life jackets, life rafts, swimming aids, internal breathing apparatus of spacesuits and isolation tanks. The shapes were developed through gradually building pieces onto the body and then translating the final silhouette into single garments, giving the effect of extreme protective garments, or human flotation devices.
VF: In this collection, padding becomes ‘soft contemporary armours… with hoods that conceal the face’ – what are you armouring against?
CG: The collection was developed through the layering of protective devices and garments, these shapes were layered and built into garments, creating the effect of extreme protection.
VF: You talk about Moncler’s years of technical knowledge and expertise – were there techniques that you picked up from Moncler and how did they enable you to advance your designs?
CG: At its core Moncler is about lightness and functionality. It is exciting to play with these ideas and to work with the technical expertise of the Moncler factories to develop new ways of interpreting their traditional feather down.
Alongside the more extreme pieces shown in the FW18 show, there is another side to the collection based on the approach of developing new ideas using down filled technology. A good example of this is the FW18 stitch-less down filled jacket, a technique of creating a Moncler jacket without any visible external stitching. This technique is like making an external lining or cover on the outside of a jacket.
VF: Is this collection’s man the same as your own? If not, how do they differ?
CG: I don’t usually think of a particular individual man when designing, it is always the idea of a uniform or a group. I think that what I do with Moncler and what I do for my own collection is very different in outcome, although the starting point comes from a similar place of protection, functionality, forms, sculptures, tension and uniform.
5 Moncler Craig Green is available exclusively at Ssense, DSM’s physical locations and Moncler stores.
The collection is being exhibited at SSENSE Montreal until 10th September.