February 14, 2018 / 11:38 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Italy's Moncler turns on speed to tackle fickle fashion

(Recasts, adds details, quotes and background)

By Giulia Segreti and Claudia Cristoferi

MILAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Italian luxury coat and knitwear maker Moncler said on Wednesday it will tailor the pace of its collections to younger and more fickle customers with a speedier strategy.

As Instagram posts and so-called influencers drive faster fashion, brands are under pressure to deliver more collections, with limited items and exclusive “capsule lines”, where a few items are available for a short time or only in selected shops.

Moncler, which sells its signature puffer jackets for more than 1,000 euros ($1,236), signalled a change in November, ditching its two ready-to-wear catwalk clothing lines Gamme Bleu and Gamme Rouge and parting ways with its designers.

It will now collaborate with eight new creative directors on several collections of its jackets and knitwear, cutting the time to get them into shops.

Major brands, such as Louis Vuitton and Kering’s Gucci, have already increased the number of annual collections, adding cruise and resort collections on top of the the two traditional spring-summer and autumn-winter ones.

Others are closing the gap between runway shows and shops to get their clothes and accessories more quickly on the racks, helping them fight off competition from high-street retailers.

“Moncler Genius is a vision of the future, available now. A vision beyond the seasons establishing a daily dialogue with consumers,” Milan-based Moncler said in a statement.

MULTIPLE VOICES

Moncler said it would kick off Milan’s popular fashion week with the new project on Feb. 20 and then launch its new products monthly. It will present eight new collections, representing “the multiple voices” of the brand, a spokesperson told Reuters.

The collections will be available one at a time, starting from June, the spokesperson said, adding that the idea was to make the collaborations with its creative directors permanent.

These include Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, former Gucci menswear designer Sandro Mandrino, Ireland’s Simone Rocha and Moncler’s own artistic director Francesco Ragazzi.

Founded as a traditional skiwear brand in the French Alps in 1952, Moncler was turned into a trendy fashion label after now chairman and chief executive Remo Ruffini took control in 2003 and floated it on the Milan stock market in December 2013.

Moncler posted a higher-than-expected 15 percent rise in 9 month sales and revenue in the same period was up 16 percent at constant exchange rates.

Shares in Moncler, which began trading at around 14 euros at the time of its IPO in 2013, were up 0.45 percent to 26.7 euros at 1135 GMT on Wednesday. The stock hit a lifetime high above 27 euros late last month. ($1 = 0.8085 euros) (Reporting by Giulia Segreti and Claudia Cristoferi; Editing by Kim Coghill/Dale Hudson/Alexander Smith)

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