Moncler transformed from competitive outerwear with French origins into a global luxury brand that specialises in puffer jackets and high-end sportswear that can just as easily be worn in the slopes as in the city — after Remo Ruffini acquired it and transformed the brand identity.
Founded in 1952 by René Ramillon and Andrè Vincent in Monestier de Clermont- an Alpine town in France- Moncler produced outdoor equipment like tents and sleeping bags and a line of quilted down jackets to protect workers from the cold.
French mountaineer Lionel Terray first noticed Moncler and foresaw its potential. The result was capsule collection: Moncler pour Lionel Terray. In 1954, Moncler’s down jackets were chosen to equip the Italian expedition to K2 which culminated in the conquest of the world’s second highest summit by Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli. In 1955 they equipped the expedition on the Makalù. In 1964 it was official supplier for expeditions in Alaska and at Grenoble Winter Olympics in 1968 Moncler was the official supplier of the French national downhill skiing team. As Alpine holidays grew popular the brand became synonymous with ski glamour.
In 2003 the heritage skiwear label was nearing bankruptcy and was acquired by Italian entrepreneur Remo Ruffini who transformed it into a fashion brand that reportedly generates over a billion dollars annually. Per W: When he and his backers bought the ailing label it had total annual sales of about $62 million and by 2010 it was $368 million. The Chairman and CEO positioned Moncler as a unique product made in Italy and each part- be it smooth-running zips or shiny nylons- were made for the brand. Since he spent most of his life sailing or in the mountains.. the focus was on lightweight zip-front high-neck quilted down jackets that maintained the same standard of warmth and comfort since its origin. In a nutshell- with Ruffini at the helm- the once floundering Moncler began concentrating on its signature quilted down jackets and in no time become one of the most sought after luxury sports brands.
One of the key attributes leading to the immediate success of the luxury sportswear brand was a careful brand repositioning through which Moncler products took on a more distinctive exclusive style evolving from a purely sportswear collection to versatile collections that consumers can wear on any occasion. Outerwear- while being the brand’s most prominent category- was gradually seamlessly integrated with complementary products.
In the 80s, under the stylistic direction of Chantal Thomass Moncler made its entrance into the city.. becoming the iconic garment of the new generation. The most remarkable idea is lightweight collection ‘Longue Saison’ that transformed quilted down jackets into a cold-weather style statement worn by celebrities Jackie Kennedy and Madonna. ‘I think what keeps attracting customers is the quality and the perfect combination of style and performance’ he said per The Standard. Next Ruffini used hi-tech man-made fabrics to revive the duck-down puffer jacket that was gathering dust in the archives.
In 2006 with ‘Moncler Gamme Rouge’ and in 2009 with ‘Moncler Gamme Bleu’- the luxury brand was further enhanced with Haute Couture. In 2010 ‘Moncler Grenoble’ collections made its debut in New York that, reinterpreting the styles of the past, create technical skiing garments and après-ski wear with a contemporary take.
Moncler then expanded overseas in partnership with Carlyle Group and the quilted down jacket migrated from the ski slopes to the city. ‘It was absolutely unique and rare to find a brand with deep roots in tradition. Our aim was to roll out down jackets all over the world and to make it as popular in towns and cities as they were in ski resorts… to turn them into a classic must-have that could be worn by anyone, anywhere in the world’ he explained per The Standard. In 2015 the Group turnover reportedly exceeded one billion euros.
On 16 of December 2013 Moncler was floated on Italian Stock Exchange of Milan. Shares were offered at EUR 10.2 and rose over 40% the first day, signaling Europe’s greatest success story in recent years. 2018 witnessed project ‘Moncler Genius: One House Different Voices‘. It was the Italian luxury fashion brand’s most ambitious overhaul.. replacing seasonal fashion collections with collaborations featuring a collective of guest talents including Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, Craig Green and Simone Rocha. They were given free reign to create capsule collections that were rolled out through the year and though the capsules have little in common stylistically they all reinterpret the essence of the fashion brand. That year Remo Ruffini was named Knight of Labour: the highest recognition by the President of the Italian Republic. Till date Moncler Group continues to rethink its values and purpose.
Per Vogue Business: “Moncler Group said sales surged 44 per cent- pushing past €2 billion– driven by sales of Stone Island and growth in Asia and the Americas. Annual revenues and net profits both beat expectations for fiscal 2021, Moncler said in a press release today. By brand, Moncler reported €1.82 billion in revenue, while Stone Island reported €221.9 million since the Moncler takeover was finalised as of 1 April.”
Moncler announced that it had signed an agreement for the acquisition of Stone Island. This agreement was finalised on 31 March 2021 when Stone Island became part of Moncler Group. While jackets continue to remain Moncler‘s focus, Ruffini perceived footwear and knitwear as categories ripe for expansion. The fashion brand launched its new footwear line led by a former Nike designer with a focus on sneakers that work well in the urban environment where most people wear their Moncler jackets.
The results are stellar. Per BoF: ‘Moncler’s revenue in the third quarter reached 638.3 million euros slightly topping a company-provided analysts consensus forecast of 637 million euros.’
The core team of moncler envisions creating lightweight quilted, high performance down jackets that remain steadfast to the brand heritage and is as relevant on the ski slopes as in city life. Versatility, performance and style is key to this brand vision.
To combined style with constant technological research aided by mountaineering experts.
In 2017 CEO and Chairman Ruffini was named Entrepreneur of the Year by EY and in 2018 he was named “Knight of Labour” in Italy, one of the highest recognitions bestowed by the president of the Italian Republic.