Now you can shop Moncler and Sacai’s ‘Interstellar’-inspired collaboration

By Laura Hawkins

Photo: Scott Trindle

The collection transports us 70 years into the future, as inspired by the space travel in Christopher Nolan's 2014 sci-fi blockbuster

Chitose Abe doesn’t do things by halves. That is unless she’s splicing and dicing, patchworking and piecing together the hybrid designs that are the signatures of her 24-year-old Japanese label, Sacai. “When it comes to collaborations, we want to work with somebody that is authentic,” she explains. “When it’s workwear, it’s Carhartt; the best sneakers, it’s Nike; the best down jacket, it’s Moncler.”


Sacai’s transfigured designs fuse sportswear and tailoring, eveningwear and utility, but back in 2009, when the Tokyo-based brand first collaborated with Moncler on a spring/summer '10 collection, it didn’t have a down jacket in its offering. Moncler, a label born 71 years ago in a snowcapped mountain village near Grenoble, is now as synonymous with viral brand team-ups as classic ski gear, but back in the mid-2000s this was one of its fledgling collaborations (the first being in 2003 with Balenciaga under Nicolas Ghesquière). “I immediately noticed Chitose’s meticulous design process... She has the capacity to rethink the normal construction of garments,” says Remo Ruffini, chairman and CEO of Moncler. It’s one akin to devising complex architectural plans and a skill honed in Abe’s early career as a pattern cutter for Comme des Garçons. “We understood each other with just a glance,” he adds.

Photo: Scott Trindle

A close-up examination of the collaborative pieces that featured on Sacai’s futuristic autumn/winter '23 catwalk in Paris: a down jacket that morphs into a backpack, and a coat and blazer that unfold to reveal a pleated dress, both imagined in Arctic white, space-age silver and midnight black. Moncler may have created its first down jacket in 1954, to clothe Italian climbers Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli as they ascended the deadly 8,611-metre summit of the mountain K2, but when asked if she has an affinity for mountain pursuits, such as skiing, Abe laughs. This collaboration is focused on the aesthetic intersection between slope and apres-ski, “the mountain and the restaurant” – with a backpack for bouldering, a frock for afternoon fondue. “It represents something between high fashion and functionality,” Ruffini says.

It’s about the transcending dimensions of time and space.

Chitose Abe, founder and creative director of Sacai

Ruffini has long admired the principles of Japanese design, having also partnered with Hiroshi Fujiwara, Comme des Garçons and Junya Watanabe. “There is a distinctive trait that runs throughout, including material research, technicality and attention to detail,” he says. So it wasn’t a coincidence that the flash of inspiration he had for Moncler Genius – a now five-year-old collaborative project that invites a cross-pollinating A-list roster of creatives, from Pharrell Williams to Salehe Bembury, Roc Nation by Jay-Z to Mercedes-Benz, to reinterpret its design DNA – occurred when sitting at a bar in Tokyo. Less a traditional fashion show, more a behemoth stadium event, The Art of Genius at last February’s autumn/winter '23 London Fashion Week saw 10,000 spectators flock to see silver acrobats fly around giant G-Wagens, a Palm Angels foam party and Alicia Keys perform live.

“We cross-fertilise our ethos to keep pushing ourselves and our communities to newer and better places through the power of design,” Ruffini says of Moncler’s ever-expanding network of collaborations. It’s a mindset that sublimely mirrors the wider cosmos-spanning theme of Sacai’s autumn/winter 2023 show, inspired by the space travel in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 science-fiction blockbuster Interstellar. “It’s about the transcending dimensions of time and space,” Abe explains. Now you can contemplate the sublimity of the stars when navigating a black run or sipping hot chocolate in your ski chalet.

Originally published on British Vogue.