When your business is located high in the French Alps and your employees are often exposed to severe cold, what do you do? How do you help them stay warm, comfortable and productive? Well, in the case of Remé Ramillon and his Moncler factory in the village of Monestier-de-Clermont near Grenoble, you design and manufacture a quilted jacket to be worn on top of overalls. Moncler was already successfully producing sleeping-bags and tents for Alpinists but when the renowned French climber and skier Lionel Terray realised the potential of the new jacket, a range of specialist extreme weather clothing and equipment, 'Moncler pour Lionel Terray', was born. In 1954 the Moncler quilted jacket was chosen by the Italian team that made the first successful ascent of K2, the world's second highest mountain. Terray also wore Moncler apparel on his Antarctica expedition in 1964 and in 1968 Moncler was named official supplier to the French downhill ski team at that year's Winter Olympics. It was they who suggested changes to the quilted jacket. It became lighter, flexible and more comfortable to wear, with leather shoulder patches to offer protection while carrying skis. In effect it was much like the jacket available today.
Since then the company has gone from strength to strength and its products have before increasingly popular. The 1980s saw another overhaul of the quilted jacket design with the introduction of bright colours and a satin finish. Moncler has grown to be a global luxury clothing brand offering garments for skiing, après-ski and everyday use. There is even a range of designer Moncler polo shirts. Those wishing to buy Moncler jackets for men, women and children, can do so through their website or from one of their exclusive high-end boutiques, some of which are located in the world's most sophisticated ski resorts. Each retail space is designed by Gilles & Bossier to reflect Moncler's ethos of ultimate elegance combined with comfort and practicality, with a warm and inviting atmosphere derived from the use of natural, rustic materials such as oak and with carved wood panelling. We can only wonder if Moncler employees themselves still enjoy the privilege of quilted jackets to keep warm at work during winter.