Moncler Jackets: What to wear skiing on the slopes

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Perfect Moment skiwear

Style and substance: can the two co-exist in skiwear? Not so long ago, it was an either-or situation: either look like a Bond girl at the risk of hypothermia (and you thought a smooth-talking spy was the biggest hazard) or go for technical gear that wasn’t terribly sexy, but did the job.

Thankfully, the two aren’t so mutually exclusive any more. The kit is constantly being tweaked for the better on both fronts, and there’s now more choice than ever – which makes shopping for it doubly fun. Moncler has been instrumental in fashioning tech-specs into elegant designs (so elegant that their jackets have become the ultimate city staples in winter). The upmarket label has boutiques at some of the world’s swankiest ski resorts including Courchevel, Zermatt and Chamonix, catering for über-discerning customers.

There are others, too: Bogner (fabulous coloured jackets), M Miller (one of the sleekest ski labels around) and Stella McCartney, who has made designer skiwear accessible with her long-running partnership with adidas, are a few highlights.

If you’re heading to the slopes for the first or fortieth time this winter, our guide will have everything you need to know about what to pack – and why. Because having a soggy bum from a jacket without a snow skirt (all will be explained below) is the last thing you need…

How to choose the right ski jacket

It’ll be the hardest working piece of your gear, so your jacket needs to be technically spot on: as it’s nippy, it needs to be warm and windproof; if you fall, it needs to be waterproof. It should also be light and breathable, because you’ll get sweaty racing around on the slopes.

Attention to detail counts for everything. Every jacket should have a snow skirt – a width of waterproof fabric that buttons up around the waist and keeps the cheap moncler jackets secure so snow doesn’t go up your back if you fall over. Pockets are crucial: a zippered one on the wrist arm means you have somewhere to tuck that pesky ski pass; inner pockets are handy for sunglasses or phones. Cuff seals – basically wrist warmers with thumb loops – will act as another barrier to the cold, and waterproof zips are a saving grace.

Moncler’s supremely chic jackets from Grenoble, its specialist ski range, are the dream here because they have all these features and many boast figure-flattering nipped waists.

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Marinet jacket, £90, Moncler

More affordable but no less technical are adidas by Stella McCartney’s ski jackets. Some have in-built Recco, a reflector chip which allows search teams to locate you if you get buried.

How Did Remo Ruffini Turn the Humble Moncler Down Jackets into a Multibillion-Dollar Empire?

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The French National Ski Team wearing Moncler, 1966.

By the time Ruffini was born, Moncler was already established as a European luxury label. Founded in 1952 by the French entrepreneur René Ramillon (the name is an abbreviation for Monestier-de-Clermont, an Alpine town), the company originated as a producer of outdoor equipment—tents, sleeping bags—and began to make down jackets at the request of the legendary French mountaineer Lionel Terray.

Soon there was a specialized line: Moncler Pour Lionel Terray. Italian and French mountaineers wore the gear through the ’50s and ’60s, and in the 1968 Winter Olympic Games, so did the French ski team. Jean-Claude Killy hung his three gold medals over a cheap Moncler jacket. As Alpine holidays grew more popular, the company became a signifier of ski glamour. “Moncler!” reminisces the Italian-Texan socialite Michele Recchi. “You put on one of their jackets and felt like you were Grace Kelly at the Palace Hotel.”

At 14, Ruffini himself owned a prized puffer that he flaunted on his motorbike. In the ’80s, the jackets became an unofficial uniform for a posh group of teenage rebels nicknamed paninari, after Il Panino, a popular snack bar in Milan. The fad got so big that it inspired a song by the Pet Shop Boys, “Paninaro,” and spawned a rogue subculture of kids who slashed their puffers and covered them with graffiti.

By the end of the ’90s, however, Moncler was struggling, pinched between the viral expansion of luxury brands like Prada and Gucci and mega sportswear companies like the North Face. But in 2003, Ruffini arrived, determined to woo a broader range of consumers. When he and his backers bought the ailing label, it had total annual sales of about $62 million; by 2010, they were $368 million. “Other brands have a target,” he says, “perhaps a certain age group, people earning a certain amount of money. But I thought: We need to make something for skateboarding kids, for travelers, for the elegant lady who dines out.” The jackets became both more high-tech and more high fashion. He expanded aggressively, especially in the hungry new markets of Asia, and balanced tradition and innovation by creating distinct lines: Moncler outlet uk Grenoble, the classic sportswear division; Gamme Rouge, the couture-ish women’s line, designed by Giambattista Valli; and Thom Browne’s daring Gamme Bleu men’s line. (Aside from Pharrell, there have also been collaborations with Junya Watanabe, Sacai’s Chitose Abe, Erdem Moralioglu, Masaaki Homma, the kooky Los Angeles collective FriendsWithYou, and most recently, Kanye West’s stylemeister, Virgil Abloh.) Less splashy but perhaps most remarkable of all is an ultralight collection called Longue Saison, which has somehow succeeded in getting people to consider down jackets a warm-weather staple.