Sandro Mandrino, the Italian designer and creative director of Moncler Grenoble, Moncler’s outdoor and most functional brand born in 2010, and 3 Moncler Grenoble, the latest offering of Moncler Genius, told SI where outdoor apparel is heading.
Mandrino started working in fashion 33 years ago after he realized he was not made to be a surveyor. He focused his career on sporty collections in 1996 working on the Prada Sport project as design director of ready-to-wear until April 2004 working on both the men’s and women’s collections. From 2002 he also became design director of Prada’s men’s collection. After leaving Prada in 2004, he worked at Tod’s Group for its brand Fay to design the men’s and women’s sportswear collections. He then became men’s director for Dolce & Gabbana and right after, in the same position at Gucci. He now works for both S Max Mara and Moncler.
Where are sportswear and outdoor apparel heading? And what trends are characterizing them?
Technology, performance and quality are the most important pillars sportswear is focusing on. For sure technology and performance are very important because they could affect the performance itself but what I am feeling nowadays is that people really want to buy garments that last over the time, being really mindful of the importance of sustainability. Once these needs are met, I can start playing with the collection and find my way to talk with my consumers, creating different functions for their different needs, both technical and climatic.
When you start such a technical design project, you have to take into consideration different functions: you have to help your consumers choose the right item for their own needs. That’s why we segmented the Moncler Grenoble collection into three different layers to satisfy different needs and different levels of technicality: High Performance, Performance and Style, and Après Ski. Names are of course evocative: High Performance is for very demanding skiers that see function and performance as a crucial element in the buying process; Performance and Style is for a wider use, with a more marked attention to design; Après Ski is designed for more relaxed off the slopes moments, but it’s still perfect to be worn in the city as well because the level of technicality is perfect to face the winter weather in the city.
What about 3 Moncler Grenoble Genius? How was it born?
When we launched the Moncler Grenoble collection in 2010 Moncler was focusing mainly on outerwear, its core business. With the Moncler Grenoble collection we started to think about the idea of the total look; we have multiplied the offer to satisfy every need and the result now offers three total look collections. Moreover my collections offer both a men’s and women’s proposal. We presented 45 looks at the Moncler Genius show.
Fabric research is key when working on a technical collection where tech features have a strong impact on the performance. That’s why we often partner with high level technical material brands that match with our expectations as we have done with Dyneema this season to improve the lightness, Gore-Tex to give the ski suit the maximum water repellency and breathability, and Polartec High Loft to guarantee a perfect full body insulation.
Our biggest mission right now is to merge perfectly performance and sustainability, always being truthful to who we are and whom we stand for. There is a big focus now on fabrics’ functionality and sustainability, that’s why research includes also these two pillars. When it comes to sustainability, it’s an ongoing process. In my opinion there is no point of arrival; we can always do better and better and improve all processes related to fashion and in all areas of our life. I really think everyone plays an important role and we must not underestimate it even in big projects or in our everyday life. As a designer I am very careful about the fabrics we select and this year we created a Recycled range crafted from recycled nylon and polyester, featuring a new graphic highlight of Moncler GRE[e]NOBLE. It is a starting point, there are a lot of areas of improvement and I am very happy to challenge myself to do better! I am also very proud of the Moncler sustainability plan Born To Protect, presented in October, and I am very happy to give my contribution to this commitment knowing that it is only a starting point of a long journey.