The traditional catwalk show is dead – and the way forward is to attract customers with new products each month, says the chairman and chief executive of Moncler.
Remo Ruffini’s comments came on Tuesday as the Italian luxury clothing group kicked off Milan Fashion Week by revealing not one, but eight new collections.
Moncler wowed the fashion crowd while revealing the eight collections – hidden in silver-clad cavelike spaces inside a warehouse on the outskirts of Milan and draped on mannequins, hung from the ceiling, and projected on giant mirrors, rather than worn down a catwalk.
“The concept of the catwalk show doesn’t exist any more for us, it’s a new way of working from now on,” Ruffini said.
In November, Moncler said it would break with its tradition of presenting two collections a year on catwalks in Milan and Paris.
Last week, it said it would start rolling out clothes and accessories at a faster pace.
Ruffini said that the new strategy, with a collection released to the public each month, was an adaptation to the digital age, although he ruled out Moncler turning to the “see now, buy now” model – delivering clothes to shops straight after their presentation.
“We must release new energy each month,” the Italian said. “The world has changed, people travel, they don’t buy in March and September only, like they once did.”
With a younger and fickle clientele, whose tastes change at the speed of a social media post, fashion houses are being asked to deliver more than two collections a year.
But the timing of placing products in stores is becoming an experimental battlefield, as the labels have to juggle the constant demand for novelty with the lengthy manufacturing cycles needed to make their high-end clothes and accessories.
Ruffini is credited for transforming the company he acquired in 2003, from its original focus as a French skiwear group, into a trendy fashion label.
He said Moncler, now headquartered in Milan, would focus not only on young and digital savvy clients – now making up a third of the luxury market – but had to “chat with different generations”.
From June 15, the brand will launch a collection approximately once a month, with clothes and accessories from its different lines available in boutiques, multi-brand stores and temporary pop-ups.
The collections vary from monastic long looks by Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, to preppy and more sporty items by Japan’s Hiroshi Fujiwara, to ruffled and layered looks from Simone Rocha.
Under the new strategy, dubbed “Genius”, the group is working with eight different creative directors, including Piccioli, former Gucci menswear designer Sandro Mandrino and Moncler’s own artistic director Francesco Ragazzi.
Moncler will start off with the “Fragments” collection by Fujiwara.
“It’s a brave and daring project, stylistically challenging. Each designer tells a different story, perspective … it’s total creative freedom,” Piccioli said.
Ruffini did not rule out taking on new creative directors, though he suggested that the group was not planning frequent changes.
Milan Fashion Week will run until February 26, with Italy’s biggest names in fashion – such as Prada, Armani, Versace, Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana – showcasing their products for autumn and winter 2018-19.
The six-day extravaganza will see almost 160 new collections and 64 catwalk shows.