Vogue Runway was the unwitting victim of Moncler’s success in London this evening. Because by the time we got from Burberry show to the Milanese brand’s Art of Genius unveil at the cavernous Olympia exhibition hall, the sheer weight of numbers made viewing the eight Genius installations—plus Rick Owens’s side-Genius furniture project—physically impossible. 10,000 tickets were officially issued, but the queues outside as we circled looking for a side entrance to ooze in through told a greater story. Later, at the event’s afterparty, Moncler CEO Remo Ruffini shared that the Metropolitan Police had told him an estimated 40,000 people attended—or tried to— the launch.
As we waited up on a roof level for Alicia Keys, the evening’s star, the grapevine delivered an assessment: apparently in Jay-Z and Roc Nation’s installation a recording booth was installed that allowed guests to record their own vocals and have them mixed into a live and organic piece of music. The groundbreaking collaboration with Mercedes-Benz—a boundary-pusher for both fashion and automotive industries—delivered a futuristic sculpture of a G-Wagon infused with Moncler-esque curves. Adidas Originals had a full collection rather than a concept in place that elevated its context into the alpine, and the designer Salehe Bembury's installation was titled The Art of Elements, which seemed to involve a giant floating structure possibly not of this planet. Finally, Pharrell Williams, the new creative menswear at Louis Vuitton, created The Art of Terrain, in which the installed trees and grass somehow—details were vague—interacted with the space to create abstract music.
Even in our rarified area, the crowd was massive: Lewis Hamilton, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Alexa Chung were but a few of the familiar faces spotted in it. Pharrell Williams was there too, draped in another blanket—this one by Moncler. Rick Owens, Michèle Lamy, and Hiroshi Fujiwara of Frgmt, were others glimpsed.
“This is a new scale of achievement. All these thousands of people being here and sharing the experience: that’s definitely inclusive,” said Francesco Ragazzi of Palm Angels, who created a foam party-type space that was hotly reviewed by those who experienced it. “What I like is that it is one of a kind—that’s for sure!” He continued, “Remo is clever and brave. It’s not easy to come to London and do something like this. If you are brave you succeed.” Shortly afterwards, Keys emerged on the stage below and delivered a tight medley of some of her finest songs to a sea of cellphone-lifting Moncler guests.
“I really found that the crowd and community that came out tonight was fantastic,” Ruffini reminisced back at the after party, adding, “I was super proud.”