In an exclusive interview to CPP-LUXURY.COM, Remo Ruffini, CEO of Moncler Group shares his views on the latest developments in luxury and gives an insight into his company’s development plans
In June last year, your group has opted for a direct investment opportunity with the Eurazeo, a French listed investment company, deferring the planned IPO indefinitely. How has the Moncler Group performed since and how has your company’s business strategy changed?
With Eurozeo we are continuing to pursue the growth of the group and enhance the value of our brands.
How do you perceive today’s international economic climate in regards to an IPO?
The future, in my opinion, is linked to the knowledge and the perception of the brand. It could happen that you have a raise, in terms of turnaround, but it’s more important to have a growth of the knowledge. That’s a kind of investment that assures strong bases for a tangible growth also in the future.
The Moncler brand has been expanding internationally, with several mono-brand stores. What is your strategic future approach of wholesale versus mono-brand stores?
In terms of distribution we’re planning some important freestanding openings in the most important destination street in the main world capitals. At the same time we are expanding the wholesale properly and according to our market positioning keeping in mind that the direct retail network is for sure more distinctive for a brand to strengthen the image and let the consumers enter the brand lifestyle world.
Which are the most recent store openings and what other stores are planned for 2012? Which is your number one priority market in terms of retail expansion?
The most interesting market for the brand is the world itself according to Moncler Global Down Filled Jacket Strategy. We have opened recently a store in Cannes, on the famous Boulevard de la Croisette and we are planning other important openings such as Frankfurt, in Europe, and new openings in China.
All the brands of the Moncler Group are inherently related to lifestyle, especially sports. However, in the past years you have created two high fashion lines “Moncler Gamme Rouge” and “Moncler Gamme Bleu”. How do you manage their positioning in terms of the Moncler core brand values?
When I bought Moncler I have carried back the label at its root: the jacket was the core of the new era. Then I started to think about a global jacket, for every use for every moment. That was the time when I realized that it would be perfect to collaborate with some designer for some small collections. I have always looked for different approaches that the designers could have working with Moncler. Everyone has to give the brand their own vision, while keeping with the brand codes and values. After the first collaborations with designers such as Balenciaga and Watanabe, we decided to set two high-end collections: Moncler Gamme Rouge for women and Moncler Gamme Bleu for men, designed now by Giambattista Valli and Thom Browne respectively. With their own vision of style, they are both perfect to decline Moncler spirit into a new creative world. They have a great vanguard-classic attitude in terms of creativity and vision. That’s the real talent, in my opinion.
Which are the key elements that make up Moncler’s desirability DNA as a brand?
In line with the brand philosophy, Moncler has constantly found new ways of expressing itself offering thought the years new interpretations of the concept of the quilted jacket, proposing an individual and unrestrained style, which has now become an integral part of the world of upper sport style. The intuition of every-changing combinations of technology and nature, mountain and city, functionality and aesthetics made Moncler the quilted jacket par excellence. And 2012 is the time to celebrate the essence of Moncler, it’s DNA, the heritage and the lifestyle that comes within.
Which do you consider as Moncler’s direct competitors? Which are Moncler’s competitive advantages?
The great heritage and history of Moncler was the main reason I was attracted to the brand. It is rare to find a label with deep roots in tradition. The practice of using down and feather from Grenoble is continued today. For this reason Moncler has always been an outstanding brand: quality and performance made our jackets unique. I can say that the evolution is still the most attractive challenge: Moncler is a global brand that reflects the spirit of the time in all its collections and now the classic casual join the sporty style, notably in fabrics and manufacturing. A really successful mix.
An increasing number of luxury brands have been embracing digital platforms as a means of communications. What is your approach in this respect?
I do believe in this new tool of communication, Moncler has started in the recent past to use this new communication systems slowly after the launch of the e-commerce one year ago.
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