Design

Moncler Meets Palm Angels: An Interview with Francesco Ragazzi

Jennifer Newman

palms-angels
Looks from Francesco Ragazzi's collaboration with Moncler. Courtesy of the brand.

Last night 300 people gathered in Soho at the Moncler boutique to celebrate the latest “Moncler Genius” project with Palm Angels and Francesco Ragazzi, who joins the retail experiment following the creative capsule collections by a range of designers including Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino, Simone Rocha and Craig Green.

Ragazzi’s collection is aimed at a new audience for Moncler, one that looks to streetwear, hip hop artists and celebrities, connecting them to the world of Moncler’s luxury products. The energy, music and culture of today’s evolution of streetwear culture could be felt at last night’s event, from the crowd of next generation streetwear and music influencers to the deft mix of music from Kerwin Frost, down to the sake and cucumber cocktails. Cultured checked in with Ragazzi about this season’s Moncler x Palm Angles collection.

Congratulations on your latest collection with Moncler. It’s great to see the brand evolving its vision for cross-pollinating American culture with Milan. Is it true you will return to Milan to present Palm Angels collection this season? What inspired you to show there? Thank you. Yes, the presentation is in one week actually, next Sunday and it will be for menswear in Milan. I originally started there and then I brought the show to New York last season, which was great. It was a big success and I definitely want to come back, but now I’m dividing menswear and womenswear into two different shows, so for menswear I decided to show it in Milan.

I love the cannabis part of the brand story for Palm Angels. What are your thoughts on the fast-growing success of new cannabis businesses? Are you still planning to collaborate with a cannabis company on a new product? Will it be as irreverent as your anti-theft tag? I will definitely do it. It was part of how Palm Angels originally started, being an LA-inspired brand, so it’s part of that culture. Maybe it will be less irreverent than the anti-theft tag because now it’s an expanding market and you have more states in America where you can actually have weed so maybe it’s not as it could have been, like five years ago. I find it interesting. It will never happen in Italy. Never.

You’ve mentioned being inspired by the Asian market and the interesting way it connects with American culture, through social media, music and celebrity culture. Is it as fun as, say, last night’s event in London? I heard you shut it down. How does the Asian audience compare in how they connect with the brand? It’s different. The Asian market can be very similar to the American or European market. They are fun in a different way though, parties are less crazy. I like to do smaller parties in Asia. Yesterday London was more of a youth thing, with a thousand people. It was good.

Your role at Moncler and Palm Angels covers a lot of ground, from marketing, photography and campaigns. What do you think about the idea of the celebrity designer? The role of designer has changed. You can’t just be a fashion designer now, you have to be more than that. You have to know more about everything. Thank god I was trained to be an artistic director working for Moncler so many years, where you have to know about many different things. Maybe not being the best in just one, but many different things. This is kind of what I want to do with the brand.

You have been an early supporter of elevating streetwear to luxury. You’ve said, “this is the moment we live in, with streetwear becoming the norm.” Where would you like to see streetwear go from here? My goal is to evolve it every season or every occasion that I have. I think streetwear can mean having luxury quality. My goal is to do the best that I possibly can with it. I’m Italian so I love fabric, I love craftsmanship—where it can connect with streetwear, that’s what I want to do.