Alicia Keys Talks Collaboration with Moncler on 90s Streetwear Collection

    Alicia Keys (Angela Weiss-AFP-Getty Images)

    *Alicia Keys is speaking out about her recently launched Moncler collaboration that was inspired by “poignant moments” from her career. 

    “Cool, casual, 100 percent New York – inspired by late 90s streetwear but with a twist” is how Keys describes her collection, per the brand’s website. The company notes that this collab is personal for the Grammy-winning artist because it is “heavily inspired by her hometown of New York City,” per the company states on its website.

    Adding, “It’s a city she paid tribute to on one of the biggest hits in her repertoire, Empire State of Mind, whose lyrics are applied with brush strokes to the back of the jersey pieces within this collection. The Big Apple is also referenced on a new collaborative logo, a crown is merged with Moncler’s iconic feltrino, representing the Statue of Liberty and the crowns we all wear in our daily lives.”

    The Moncler Genius collection designed by Alicia Keys features “long jackets and crop tops to hoodies and t-shirts,” which are, of course, “gender-neutral”.

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    Keys spoke of the importance of creating a line that reflects her personal style in a new interview with Complex. Check out excerpts from the conversation below.

    What influence did growing up in the ’90s in NYC have on your personal style?
    I think growing up in New York really brought up my masculine side, because the streets were dangerous and it wasn’t a place to express the feminine so openly. It made me want to protect myself more, so that kind of masculine baggy-er, tougher style became my signature. You wear boots, you wear baggy jeans, you wear big puffers and it’s all about having that safety, that armor – that became my personal style.

    How did those influences play a role in what you wanted to accomplish with this collection? What specific elements of those influences do we see in the collection?
    Those influences definitely played a role and when I wanted to accomplish this collection, I wanted it to focus on the New York energy, that sort of “toughness meets the fresh”. I wanted it to be effortless, not only chic but cool.

    I love the textures that we were able to work with. The colors are brilliant, the cuts are both masculine and feminine and I think that’s a lot of who I am – a balance between masculine and feminine that we all are. I love this unisex collection because I can occupy both those spaces. Also, that 90s energy really brings force to both of those elements and influences them. I think it clearly comes out here.

    What’s the design process behind this collection?
    It was an amazing process. I loved it so much! Working with the Moncler team was incredible: so detail-oriented and ready to make it all happen. I loved that we had a very genuine back and forth, it was like bringing together their expertise and my expertise and making it all make sense. I love the way we played with materials, with shiny textures, with nylon. We played with the way that nylon gets into with jean material, even the color runner jeans…we’re making flag colors on the one-track suit. I love the silhouette of the bucket hats with the bright colors. Those pieces feel so strong, the hand painted design on the vest and even the sweatshirt where there’s “dream are made off”. All those details that we really want to feel your hand on and to be hand done, and to have these touches on it that you can feel on all the collection, it is very special, intentional and purposeful. I even love the way that I overall see the collection modeled for me and I can really get the sense of how it was falling, how it has been worn and how I would wear myself and get this sense, how it feels? does this material feel good? Does this shape look right?

    We really were very meticulous about the cuts and how the cuts feel and there are obviously just exceptional edits, so it was one of the most fun and exciting experiences of my life. For sure I have just been able to pour 100% into it.

    What’s your favorite item from the collection that you designed. Why is that your favorite?
    I love this collection so much. I would wear every piece a million times a day, it is really hard to choose.

    I love the freshness of the jeans, that kind of whitewashed jeans suit: I love that is a classic jeans suit with a million percent New York fresh. I love that it has the big wide leg and an incredibly tailored fit for the waist. I love how it has pieces of nylon fitted into the jeans; I think it’s super unique, I love the way that the jeans jacket fits with it. I feel like is something that has flavors of pieces that you have seen before but never exactly like that. To me it is one of the freshest looks of the collection but I have to say that I love the entire collection. To me the entire collection is super fresh. That’s why it’s my favorite – it has not a classic silhouette, but a jeans suit silhouette with such a fresh take on it.

    Read the full interview here.

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