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Ski Couture Puts Posh in the Piste

But perhaps the biggest breakout star in recent years has been Moncler, famous for quilted black jackets popular with champagne ski-set members such as Mariah Carey and Heidi Klum. The hardly entry-level starter line is simply called Moncler, offering signature shiny black jackets that maximize slopeside comfort and warmth. Buyers should stick to snugger sizes, as the marshmallowlike shape can give the illusion of added pounds. This season the collection offers more earthy colors, such as hunter green vests, flannel gray parkas and aviator-style jackets with racing-stripe sleeve details. An accessories line now includes a selection of quilted boots and fur-trimmed handbags for women.

Last year Moncler debuted designer collaborations with Thom Browne and Giambattista Valli, who put their stamps on Moncler Gamme Bleu and Moncler Gamme Rouge, high-end men's and women's lines. This season Valli's Gamme Rouge women's collection utilizes creamy whites and all-black coloring for quilted over-jackets with exaggerated collars and cable-knit leggings with matching cashmere gloves. Dressier ensembles seem more geared toward dinner at Badrutt's than traversing Buttermilk, considering their draped-ribbon detailing on moss-colored cashmere dresses with matching gloves and leggings, keeping every inch of flesh hidden from the neck down.

Elements of utilitarianism and collegiate playfulness abound in the men's collection, which is just as easily worn down Fifth Avenue as Whistler Peak. Browne's signature looks for the year were debuted in Milan via an infantry-inspired catwalk of army cots and wake-up trumpets; models took off their cashmere-knit sleeping caps to strut around in a collection of quilted shorts with cashmere leggings, collegiate possibly the most exquisitely styled ski clothing ever made, and sure to make you the talk of any lift-line, whether in Verbier or Vail.

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Michael Martin is the managing editor of, a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in InStyle, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine and on ITV and the BBC.
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