This past weekend was a celebratory one for The Walking Dead fans, with Season 9 finally getting to debut its new and evolving take on post-apocalyptic life. But it was also a time to mourn, with former star (and all-around acting legend) Scott Wilson passing away at age 76. Understandably, the Internet was awash with loving tributes to Wilson and his work, with many of his Walking Dead co-stars showering his memory with love and praises. And suitably, the premiere episode “New Beginnings” also gave Wilson an honorable tribute at the end of the telecast.
On Saturday, October 6, Scott Wilson passed away, with leukemia being the central cause. His Hollywood career started way back in 1967, the same year he wowed audiences co-starring with Robert Blake in In Cold Blood. He was in a ton of other movies and TV shows over the next 50 years, but arguably none skyrocketed him to the nexus of pop culture quite like the role of The Walking Dead‘s Hershel Greene.
Scott Wilson played the emotionally weighed-down Hershel for three seasons, in which he saw his family get torn apart, his farm home destroyed, and his leg amputated. (Among other tragedies.) It was a role that didn’t provide a lot of hilarious performances or light-hearted scenes, which is partially why the character remains such a big part of fans’ memories. But he obviously wasn’t so dark and tortured behind the scenes, which is why everyone on The Walking Dead loves and respects him so much. Here’s the TV show’s appreciative tribute to the late actor.
To be expected, perhaps, Walking Dead star Norman Reedus shared one of the more amusing pics of Scott Wilson, whom he referred to as his “main squizz.” One can imagine the conversations these two had must have been classic.
A good chunk of the posts written in Scott Wilson’s memory were from his co-stars during those early seasons. Some of them remained on the show after Hershel had been brutally killed off, but not everyone. Laurie Holden’s Andrea, for instance, didn’t get to make it to that final prison fight. And she hasn’t been too happy about that, but she still had lovely words to say about Wilson.
British actor David Morrissey’s villainous character The Governor was responsible for decapitating Hershel in the throes of war (and was also partially responsible for Andrea’s death. But hey, that’s not the kind of person that Morrissey is, and he posted his own sweet words about Wilson.
One of Scott Wilson’s former television children is actress Emily Kinney, who starred as the fan-favorite youth Beth Greene, whose death was one of the show’s biggest and most contestable shocks. Kinney obviously still cherishes her time on the show, and called Wilson out for being a pretty excellent television parent.
Head to the next page to see more tributes to Scott Wilson from The Walking Dead alum.
The first thing you notice is the lips. No, the eyes. Well, not so much the eyes themselves, but the eye region: the plump cheeks, the bold brow, and the plumed lashes offset by all that dewy, sculpted skin. Maybe you see beauty. Maybe you see artifice. Maybe you want some of it anyway. The good news? You have options.
We’re living in the age of facial tweaks. In addition to the rising number of masks, serums, and contour kits we’re buying, a growing number of American women are taking it a step further and seeking treatments that won’t rinse off in the pool. According to the latest report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the use of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures grew by 186 percent between 2000 and 2017. The favorites include Botox, up 819 percent in the same period, fillers, up 312 percent—collagen is out, hyaluronic acid, in—and laser-skin resurfacing, up 244 percent. (Botox and other neurotoxins temporarily paralyze muscles, which leads to a softening of the wrinkles those muscles create. Fillers, which plump skin, add volume to lips and cheeks, fill out the area around the eyes, and smooth wrinkles.)
Meanwhile, the “going under the knife” variety of plastic surgery is down 6 percent in the same timeframe, with nose jobs down 44 percent, chin augmentation down 40 percent, and eyelid surgery down 36 percent.
So how, exactly, is all this reflected in the faces of the women around us? We know the answer in big, coastal cities, where many women are inspired by their reality-TV-star neighbors and tend to go for a more-is-more approach when it comes to their faces. While they may not go full Kardashian-Jenner-West, the family’s influence is evident, especially in New York and Los Angeles. But what about the rest of the country? Are women elsewhere seeking out Botox and fillers with equal gusto? And, if so, are they looking for a radical transformation? Or subtle tweaks to their “problem spots”?
Glamour.com reached out to plastic surgeons, medical spa employees, and women in eight states across the country to learn what treatments local women are turning to, and what they’re hoping to achieve with them.
Plastic surgeries and cosmetic procedures remain rare in New Hampshire, which seems to have the most trigger-shy women among the states we surveyed. And when women do go under the knife or needle, they don’t like to talk about it—with each other, other the press. Many of the plastic surgeons and medical spas that we reached out to refused to speak with Glamour.com. This didn’t happen in the other seven states.
“Women here are more skeptical and conservative,” said Dr. Lawrence Gray, a plastic surgeon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. While he sees a demand for fillers and Botox, they’re mostly used to address aging concerns—not to create a whole new face. He said lip lifts are growing in popularity, as they create a fuller lip that some feel appears more natural than fillers.
“It’s definitely not about creating what isn’t there,” said Emily Sullivan, a physician’s assistant at Concord Med Spa in Concord, New Hampshire, who uses Botox and fillers to smooth her face. “Women here get nervous about looking like a Kardashian or Joan Rivers. There’s not a ton of knowledge about what aesthetic procedures can achieve. It’s just not super-popular here compared to the rest of the country.” She said the vast majority of women she sees in the local supermarket or mall don’t appear to use fillers. “It’s maybe 10 to 15 percent.”
Thought facial tweaks don’t appear to be popular, overall, in New Hampshire, the youngest fans in the state are getting a little bolder. “People see social media and want that look,” said Jennifer Lawson, a surgical scheduler for Richard Zeff, a plastic surgeon in Stratham, New Hampshire.
Still, the culture surrounding plastic surgery remains hush-hush. Sullivan said the over-40 women she knows tend to keep their treatments entirely to themselves, while women in their 30s tend to tell one or two close friends. “There’s no shame or guilt, but they’re still close-lipped about it.”
Arizona has two vastly different plastic surgery cultures: In Phoenix, the state’s most populated city, and nearby Scottsdale, women whose looks were obviously inspired by the Kardashian-Jenner-Wests are a common sight. In Sonoran Desert-adjacent Tuscon, women “want to look like themselves, but refreshed,” said Dr. Raman Mahabir, a Scottsdale plastic surgeon and editor-in-chief of the American Society of Plastic Surgery’s education network. “You have that sharp contrast.”
What’s popular in Phoenix and Scottsdale? “I still have my original nose and my boobs. It’s rare around here,” said Phoenix resident Teresa Strasser, 48, an Emmy-winning writer and co-host of The List. “The lips here are not conservative. The lips and boobs are competing to see who can be most inflated. I don’t know who’s winning. Maybe we’re all losing.”
Strasser said plastic surgery, including Botox and fillers, appears to be more common in Phoenix and Scottsdale than in Los Angeles, where she used to live. There’s also a lot of enthusiasm in the Phoenix area, she said, for facials and skin-rejuvenating treatments.
From what she’s seen, women often start small and then continue to tweak until there’s little left to do. “You add a little of this and it’s so pretty,” she said. “So you want you more.”
With this enthusiasm comes little taboo. Strasser said people talk about it openly—and exchange notes: “There is not a lot of derm-shame here. Nobody cares.”
Many Minnesotans are in pursuit of the youthful femininity that a syringe of filler can offer.
“People think of us as a flyover state, but we still really see a lot of volume with our fillers, Botox, and skincare,” said Kally Karjala, a medical aesthetician at Edina Plastic Surgery, located in an affluent suburb outside of Minneapolis. “They’re out there, people do want them. They just might not talk about it as much.” Her patients are mostly 40 and older, though she does see women in their 20s and 30s as well. The younger patients, she said, want the #Instaface look—poster child: Kylie Jenner—but they want to enhance their natural beauty, and “do it without looking extreme.”
“We all want to look like Kylie,” said Samantha Prestidge, a 22-year-old web developer in Minneapolis, who said she and her friends are inspired by what they see on social media. “I think the Minnesota version of Kylie is less about her body, and more focus on the top end. We want to be youthful looking, with a feminine face.”
Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz, a plastic surgeon in the Twin Cities said, that his younger patients tend to go for bolder looks with fillers and neurotoxins. “The younger they are, the harder they want to hit it,” he said. “They want to like what they look like in their selfies.”
Oregonians aren’t against getting work done, but they’re not willing to give up on their individuality in the process.
“Our community is about being different. Portland prides itself on being less cookie-cutter than other places,” said Portland plastic surgeon Dr. Juliana Hansen. She said the women she sees of all ages want to look like themselves, not like one particular celebrity. “Our version of beautiful is so much wider. … People here aren’t buying into this notion that there’s one look that’s great or beautiful.”
Heather Moffenbeir, a 31-year-old registered nurse, began getting Botox in her forehead and filler in her lips last year. She said her goal with Botox was never to achieve a completely smooth look.
And while she’s noticed a rise in the use of injectables in the Portland area, the effect tends to be subtle. “There’s way less vanity here than in other cities,” she said. “Obviously they want to look younger, but they look for a natural-looking way to do it. And they don’t like to talk about it when they get things done.”
Kentucky women want a polished, feminine look with a little glamour, and they’re not ashamed to get help to achieve it.
They’re “looking at Kim Kardashian, they’re all looking at social media, but they’re much more conservative than that,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Sandra Bouzaglou, who has an office in Lexington, Kentucky, and also works in Ontario, Canada. “They have the same reference points” as the rest of America, she said, but they’re not going to extremes.
Marica Jenkins, 42, an order-filler at American Greetings Corp., said her favorite source of inspiration is the Bravo Housewives franchise. “They’ve influenced me more so than the Kardashians, both in terms of treatment and look,” she said. Jenkins gets Botox and fillers regularly to smooth and plump, and had a facelift at 40. “It’s really natural. I didn’t go crazy overboard.”Her most recent tweak was a lip lift: “I’m six weeks out and absolutely adore it.”
Dr. S. Randolph Waldman, a plastic surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky, said he’s seen a rise in patients interested in filling out their lip and cheek areas in recent years. “They’re recognizing the importance of the mid-face, even at younger ages.” Still, many request “a subtle, natural looking, result.”
While the women of Baltimore are well aware of the #Instaface and there seems to be a small population of Kylie wannabes, the majority of women opting for facial tweaks there want to look like a better version of themselves.
Dr. Michele Shermak, a plastic surgeon in Baltimore, said her average patient wants to “normalize, not exaggerate” her look. “People want to look refreshed and proportionate, and get back to the middle of the spectrum,” she said. They want fillers and Botox to help them look “like they’ve been on a vacation, not in the doctor’s office,” she said.
Women in Maryland “don’t use fillers and Botox like make-up,” said Amy Ford, a surgical assistant at Dr. Shermak’s office.
Mesha Ross, 40, who owns Lux Lash Spa in Pennsylvania, just over the Maryland border, said she got injections to feel rejuvenated. “I had kids, and saw my body and face transform for the worse,” she said.
She also got fillers in her lips, which she said was controversial among her African-American peers. “They question why I’m doing it,” she said. “It isn’t to make me look like Kylie Jenner. I do it get a little fuller, but I don’t get ridiculous with it.”
Ross said that the women she knows seek inspiration from plastic surgeons’ Instagram pages, not from celebrities. “What entices us are the before-and-afters of regular people,” she said. “This is the big thing. Who did her butt? Who did her face? That’s what we want to know.”
Like Arizona, we saw two distinct plastic surgery cultures in Utah: In Park City, which has a large population of transplants from big, coastal cities, women tend to go for a bolder, more obvious look. In Salt Lake City, there’s equal enthusiasm for facial tweaks, but the desired effect is more muted.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Larry Sargent said Park City clients prefer minimally invasive procedures that have no downtime, including injectables and lasers. It’s “more of a healthy, athletic sort of look,” he said. “They don’t have any problems having something done,” but the goal is to “look youthful and fit, like you’re taking care of yourself.”
Dr. Renato Saltz, a plastic surgeon with offices in Salt Lake City and Park City and president of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, said the “mommy makeover”—a tummy tuck and breast lift with optional augmentation—is popular among Salt Lake City moms, who also get facial tweaks to help them maintain a vibrant look.
Maddie Bryant, a 23-year-old student in Salt Lake City, said women there, above all, like to look younger: “Kind of ageless.” She gets chemical peels and fillers in her laugh lines. “I saw them peeking through and I wanted them to be gone,” she said. “It’s definitely a smoother look.” Facial tweaks are common among the women she knows in their late 20s, who get Botox and fillers, often in their lips.
She said Salt Lake City women want to look good and are inspired by celebs’ appearances, but “there’s a limit to how much we’re getting done. I’m not going to take away every single flaw. I just want to slow down [aging] a little.”
Women in Ohio embrace plastic surgery, including minimally invasive treatments, but most don’t want to look too “done.”
“We’re down to earth, but we also want to look like rock stars,” said Dr. Anne Taylor, a plastic surgeon in Columbus, Ohio. While she’s seen a big rise in women, particularly younger ones, seeking fillers to make them look more youthful, they don’t want their faces to look “pulled” or fake. She said a lot of her patients enjoy the impermanence of fillers, and often view them as an opportunity to “test out a new look.”
“I don’t have one friend who doesn’t [use fillers] to enhance and contour. Everybody gets filler under their eyes,” said Allison Newman, who does marketing and PR for Ponsky & Frankel, a plastic surgeons’ office in Cleveland. “Getting Botox … is as common as getting your nails done.” But the end goal isn’t #Instaface: “We want to feel pretty and groomed.”
Rachel Fife, 45-year-old stay-at-home mom, said that in Cincinnati, fillers and Botox are common among the women she knows as well. But, unlike in Cleveland and Columbus, the effect in Cincinnati isn’t always subtle. “Everyone’s trying to look the same with the big huge lips,” but she says the results aren’t always good.
Fife gets fillers to help reverse the effects of aging and plump her face. She said it can be hard finding someone who’ll give her subtle work, so she often turns to RealSelf to find good doctors. “When you live in a small city, you need help to scope out the scene,” she said
In addition to the Game of Thrones tattoos on Turner, and other abstracted tattoos on Jonas, the couple went to the famed celebrity hot spot Bang Bang Tattoo in New York City to get inked by Mr. K, who permanently etched half of one of the most famous movie quotes on each of their wrists in cursive font. “To infinity & beyond,” reads the tattoo, with “To infinity” inked on Jonas’s inner wrist, and “& beyond” on Turner’s. Though the couple has yet to officially exchange their vows at a wedding ceremony, the matching Toy Story quote tattoo about sticking together forever pretty much says it all.
This Toy Story quote, however, is technically not the first thematically matching tattoo that each half of the couple has gotten together. Earlier this year, Jonas and Turner got commemorative tattoos for their respective grandfathers, with Jonas intricately sketching a photograph of his grandfather on his arm and Turner opting for a small cursive initial on her finger. Both of those tattoos were completed by Mr. K at Bang Bang Tattoo as well.
Last October, the Game of Thrones star and announced her engagement to Jonas, and the couple was followed by one more engagement in the Jonas family the following summer, when Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra announced their plan to marry in August 2018. “Wow. First I’m blessed with an incredible future brother-in-law, and now such an beautiful, inside and out, future sister-in-law. I’m so excited to welcome you into the family @priyankachopra . I love you both @nickjonas,” Turner said of the engagement on Instagram.
Over the weekend, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as an Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court to applause from the right, many of whom celebrated his appointment with congratulatory tweets and beer (a nod to the many times he referenced the alcoholic beverage during his fiery testimony).
Meanwhile, Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee almost two weeks ago about her allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, is still receiving “distressing” death threats and has been unable to return to her home. Ford alleged that Kavanaugh held her down and tried to remove her clothes, even covering her mouth at one point, during a 1982 party when they were both in high school.
Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, revealed this information in an interview with MSNBC on Sunday. “This has been terrifying,” she said. “Her family has been through a lot. They are not living at home. It’s going to be quite some time before they’re able to live at home. The threats have been unending. It’s deplorable. It’s been very frightening.”
Katz said that Ford has “also received extraordinary letters of support and encouragement.”
The nomination, hearings, and confirmation vote have been one of the most divisive in history. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted after Ford and Kavanaugh’s testimonies before the Senate Judiciary Committee showed that 43 percent of those surveyed believed the California professor to be telling the truth compared to 33 percent for former DC Circuit judge.
Even still, it is Ford who continues to pay the price for coming forward with her story. That she is facing such vitriol and extreme threatening behavior is horribly sad, but not even close to shocking. It is fear of this sort of response that can frighten women into not reporting their assaults.
But not Ford, who stated in her initial written testimony, “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”
Meanwhile, Kavanaugh is expected to hear his first case on Tuesday.
“The past few seasons Maisie and I have sleepovers every night when we’re shooting. Or every night whenever both of us are in town,” Turner said, according to Vulture, describing the pair as “loners on Game of Thrones.”
“We just used to sit there and eat and watch stupid videos and smoke weed,” she added. “I don’t know if my publicist will kill me for saying this. We’d get high and then we’d sit in the bath together and we’d rub makeup brushes on our faces. It’s fun.”
Though this sounds like a bit of an absurdist exercise, we suppose it’s no more so than the Game of Thrones spoiler-aversion strategy of filming fake scenes for the show. “We got into costume in Croatia because we know the paparazzi lurk around there, so we would spend like half a day doing nothing,” Turner explained, adding that the set has a “drone killer” that sinks any drones that drift across the set.
Even though the show is about to end, Turner and Williams almost certainly have innumerate bathroom hangs ahead of them. After all, planning a wedding is probably just as covert and elaborate an operation as shooting a beloved HBO costume drama.
Tosh Ackerman took part of what he thought was a Xanax pill to help him sleep one night three years ago. His girlfriend found the 29-year-old dead the next day.
The Xanax he obtained from an acquaintance was counterfeit, says his mother, Carrie Luther, who lives in Mount Hermon, Calif. Toxicology reports found it contained a fatal dose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often produced illicitly for the black market.
Riverdale fans are in overdrive after Camila Mendes posted a pretty cozy Instagram with costar Charles Melton. OK, scratch that, extremely cozy.
The ‘gram in question appeared on Mendes’ feed Sunday, October 7. In the picture, Melton is seen kissing Mendes’ forehead, with his arm loosely hung around her shoulders. Mendes, in turn, has her arm around his waist, and her face is scrunched up in a sweet smile.
Perhaps more telling than the photo itself is the caption. “Mine,” Mendes wrote alongside the pic.
To say that a freakout soon commenced in Mendes’ comments would be an understatement. “Blow up the whole internet why don’t you,” one fan wrote jokingly. Another described the picture as “what we’ve been waiting for,” while others simply expressed their excitement in a flurry of heart emojis and exclamation points. Even actor Tommy Dorfman weighed in on the picture, writing: “WE OFFICIAL YAS.”
Fans soon took their joy to Twitter. “Charles Melton and Camila Mendes just broke the internet,” one person tweeted. “I’ve decided to stan forever,” another wrote.
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if either Mendes or Melton concretely confirm their relationship status. But from the photo and corresponding caption, it seems as though the two actors are pretty happy…and that makes their fans pretty happy, too.
Meanwhile, Riverdale‘s other favorite maybe-couple, Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse, have been cute on Instagram, too. In September, Sprouse took to Instagram to wish Reinhart a happy birthday, calling her his “love.” “Both the birthday and the gift. My little muse, happy birthday my love,” he wrote.
Sarah Hyland‘s enviable collection of glasses frames has been popping up everywhere from red carpets to gym selfies lately for a very, very good reason: They help her see. And when one troll tried to question her functional fashion choice, her boyfriend, Wells Adams, stepped in to defend her with the perfect response.
On Sunday (October 7), Adams posted a photo of he and Hyland attending an event where she accessorized her gown with a set of oversized black frames. A troll commented on the photo, “I don’t get the glasses look at all?” To which Adams flawlessly replied, “Oh, it’s so she can see s**t.”
Fans jumped to her defense, calling the Modern Family star an “inspiration” for repeatedly showing off her glasses in formal or public settings. “@sarahhyland from a fellow girl who is blind w/o glasses or contacts I love that you wear glasses out to events and make them look stylish!!!!” wrote one fan. “I’ve been kicked out of my contacts for two months bc of a cornea injury so she’s major inspo but also there’s not too much to “get” about choosing to wear glasses or not.”
This isn’t the first time Adams has stepped in to defend Hyland against trolls. When someone commented on a recent bikini photo of the actress telling her to “eat a donut,” Adams replied by telling the troll to “eat sh*t.” Hyland screenshotted the exchange and posted it to Twitter, writing, “I love @WellsAdams.”
If you follow Hyland or Adams on Instagram (which, by the way, is highly recommended), you know that this is just one example of the adorableness that happens between them on a daily basis. A few weeks ago — long before glasses gate — Hyland took to the app to post a sweet tribute to her boyfriend of of a year. “Here’s to the good men. The men that support us. The men that believe us. The ones who know right from wrong,” she wrote. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ❤️.”
Surprise! It turns out Barbara Bush got married in a small, secret wedding by the seaside over the weekend. According to a report from People, the former First Daughter and her fiancé, Craig Coyne, tied the knot at the Bush summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, in what she described as a “very short, sweet ceremony” attended by only 20 people. The guests included former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, former President George H.W. Bush, and other family members from the bride’s and groom’s sides.
Bush’s father walked her down the aisle, while her aunt, Dorothy Bush Koch, served as officiant, People reported. Her twin sister, Jenna Bush Hager, was matron of honor, while the roster of flower girls consisted of Hager’s daughters, Margaret and Poppy—who was also the ring bearer—and Coyne’s niece Emma. Laura Bush also did a reading.
Meanwhile, Coyne’s brother, Edward, was the best man, while his mother, Darlene, and sister, Katie, each read as well.
The bride, who wore a custom Vera Wang wedding dress, according to a press release from the bridal label, featuring ivory silk crepe, spaghetti straps, and a cowl draped neckline. Bush completed the look with an Italian tulle floor-length cape and a floor-length Italian tulle veil. She also incorporated a memento from her late grandmother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, who passed away earlier this year, as reported by People. “It’s really sweet,” Bush said. “The ‘something borrowed’ that I’m wearing is this bracelet that my grandfather gave to my grandmother on their 70th anniversary.”
According to People, the surprise nuptials are the first time Bush and Coyne have gone public with their relationship. The couple revealed that they got married after a five-week engagement, and have been an official couple since New Year’s Eve, after meeting during a blind date orchestrated by their friends last November. Bush told the magazine that Coyne proposed in Kennebunkport over the summer, in the same spot where George H.W. Bush had proposed to Barbara Bush 75 years prior.
“It’s just been a very sweet romance,” Bush told People. “And we’ve been long-distance for most of it — he’s been in L.A. and I’ve been in New York — but we’ve gotten to spend a lot of time together.”
ITALIAN STYLE Remo Ruffini in his home in Como, Italy. He is forgoing seasonal presentations to bring customers an array of Moncler products in a project dubbed the Genius Building. “It’s a new way to look at fashion,” says Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, one of the designers collaborating with Moncler. Photo: Salva López for WSJ. Magazine
FROM REMO RUFFINI’S magnificent terrace on Lake Como, lined this summer day with pots of white gardenias, you can almost see the house across the water where he grew up. It’s only a few miles from here, but in its way, Ruffini’s journey traces the history of fashion. His grandfather owned a fabric mill, which is what this region of northern Italy is known for. His father shifted the family business into garments and later had success in the U.S. with disco shirts.
As a young man, Ruffini followed the prevailing winds to America. The world was getting smaller, and Italians were looking for something new. He ended up founding his own brand, which riffed on American preppy style.
And then Ruffini hit the zeitgeist jackpot: In 2013, he bought a failing French sportswear brand that produced a functional staple—the puffy down winter jacket—just when people began spending their luxury bucks on casual clothing. The brand is Moncler, which became the first company to put puffy down jackets on the fashion runway and sell them for a fortune. In short order Moncler made Ruffini a billionaire.
A sculpture-filled dining area, all designed by the firm Gilles & Boissier. Photo: Salva López for WSJ. Magazine
Ruffini is now on the cusp of the next phase: Three years ago, he looked out into the future and determined that fashion just couldn’t keep going the way it had been. The mechanics of it, with the whole enterprise oriented around the seasons, had gotten creaky and would get progressively creakier. Shoppers with Instagram attention spans—in other words, everybody representing the future of fashion—were already bored stiff.
Ruffini, 57, is hardly the only executive to notice this. The fashion landscape today is littered with quickie collaborations, dead-of-night “drops” and jack-in-the-box pop-up stores. Anything to create cheap buzz without dismantling the seasonal engine of fashion. Ruffini has gone much further. He is betting on a different way of operating, in which designers and their ephemeral collections come and go in frantic rotation with scarcely a pause between to catch a breath. It makes the head spin.
A frescoed hallway. Photo: Salva López for WSJ. Magazine
“The client wants to see something new every day,” says Ruffini. “Every day they open Instagram and they want to see what’s up with Moncler, with Vuitton, with Gucci. They’re not going to wait six months to see what’s going on. That means I need a new story every month at least to give news to my customer. So I said, Why don’t we link the whole business to this attitude?”
Ruffini calls this new Moncler organization, somewhat confusingly, the Genius Building. The metaphor he used to describe it was the Guggenheim Museum, with its side rooms branching off from a central spiral ramp. In this case, Moncler is the building and the “genius” designers are the temporary tenants—there are currently eight, but the roster will change constantly.
The Genius Building kicked off in earnest in June. First up was a collaboration with a Japanese streetwear brand called Fragment Design and its avatar, Hiroshi Fujiwara, whom Moncler describes as “a cultural fomenter.” In August, English designer Craig Green served up spiky spacesuits that seemed unlikely to be worn by anyone but the most committed attention seekers, which is fine with Green—and Ruffini. (“Remo just wants you to do what you want to do,” says Green.) In all, Moncler scheduled 10 different product drops between June and the end of 2018, ranging from workaday puffers that account for the bulk of Moncler’s sales to quirkier collections created for their blinding viral moment. In September, Moncler showed five more collections due out next year, and this month, the brand is opening pop-up stores in New York City and Tokyo, where the Genius collections will be available for three months.
COMO OVER The pool overlooking Lake Como at Ruffini’s house. Photo: Salva López for WSJ. Magazine
“When Remo first told me about his idea, I was fascinated. It’s a new way to look at fashion,” says Pierpaolo Piccioli, whose day job is creative director of Valentino. Piccioli drew on religious imagery from his boyhood—not normally the way you’d envision a down jacket, but Ruffini’s only instruction to his “geniuses” was to think of it like a blank canvas with feathers. “He left everything up to me. It was a brave act,” says Piccioli. “Moncler is not a fashion brand like Valentino. You can’t interpret it if you have nothing to say.”
There was no commercial pressure on Ruffini to take this step. When he conceived the idea, the sky above Moncler was as cloudless as the one in Como. “You have to have serious guts to rip the whole thing up when you’re on top,” says Etienne Russo, who has designed Moncler’s fashion shows for the past 10 years. “Business was so good, and then he comes in and says, ‘I want to change the whole supply chain’—that’s amazing!”
At first glance, Ruffini doesn’t strike you as a very disruptive sort of person. He has a friendly, bearded face that betrays little of what’s going on behind it. He dresses simply but impeccably; if he’s got a uniform, it’s what he’s wearing on this summer day: blue blazer, always double-breasted and always unbuttoned, gray slacks and black loafers. These are the months when Italian men trade their winter hose for ankle socks, and Ruffini does the same.
A 2016 show at New York’s Lincoln Center. Photo: Courtesy of Moncler
He earned his advanced degree around the family dinner table. “As I started growing up, every day I listened about clothing, about fabrics, about fashion,” recalls Ruffini. In the ’70s, business success took Ruffini’s father, Gianfranco, to the U.S., where his groovy Nik Nik brand was flourishing. “He never came back,” says Ruffini, whose mother, Enrica, had her own clothing business, in Italy.
Eventually, Ruffini followed his father to New York, but neither a stint with the company nor a stint in college did much for him. What launched him in life was a trip up the East Coast in a rented car. “I loved it,” says Ruffini. “When I understood the style, I said this is going to be big in Europe, because they like traditional things. I came back in August 1984, and in September I founded my company, which I called New England. It was a twist on the classic Brooks Brothers look—buttoned-down shirts, for instance, but with a flower print. I didn’t know anything about how to run a company, but I learned from my mistakes.”
A jacket from The Yellow collection, at the pop-up Genius stores this month. Photo: Courtesy of Moncler
In 1987, Ruffini sold part of his stake to a partner. That’s when he bought the Como house, or houses, really, because they came as a set of four former government buildings built in the 19th century (his sons, Pietro, 29, and Romeo, 26, each have one, and Ruffini and his wife, Francesca, use the others). It’s a spread that looks like a brick-and-mortar version of Ruffini himself: The houses are classic white buildings with dark trim, the pool has a simple slate border, and the paths leading down to the boathouse contain the perfect number of pebbles, as if they were allocated by an algorithm. Ruffini has an apartment in Milan for when he works late, but he much prefers to drive an hour back to the lake.
By the late ’90s, Ruffini and his partner were on the outs, so he sold his remaining interest and started looking for an existing brand to buy. “I said to myself that it could be interesting to work with something that had strong roots, and then try to be more innovative, to develop the idea but to remain consistent.”
This, in a nutshell, is what he has done with Moncler. The brand was created by two French mountaineers in 1952 and named for the tiny Alpine village of Monestier-de-Clermont, near Grenoble. They made Moncler for outdoorsmen like themselves. Ski god Jean-Claude Killy and the rest of the French team wore the brand at the 1968 Olympics. Ruffini even had a Moncler jacket himself as a teenager. “It was very good at 6:30 in the morning on the motorcycle to school in Como,” recalls Ruffini, “but it was very heavy—over one kilogram.”
An installation view of the new 2 Moncler 1952 collection. Photo: Courtesy of Moncler
When Ruffini bought the company years later, it had fallen out of style and was going out of business. He got it for a song. “The first and most important thing I did was go down to the archives. I remember going into a room with, like, 500 pieces—yellow, pink, blue,” says Ruffini. These were the days when cool meant black. “We presented 20 jackets—super colorful, super bright, super shiny, with the old logo from the ’50s. The idea was to develop something disruptive for the market—that was the key. They sold out in minutes.”
It’s not just that Ruffini doesn’t seem to mind operating outside his comfort zone; he doesn’t even appear to have one. First he transformed Moncler from a wholesaler to a retailer, opening a network of Moncler stores (there are currently 209, plus 65 boutiques in multibrand stores). “It’s very tricky to change the whole culture. And it was not my culture. When I founded my first company, you make the product, you make the sale to the store, and your job is finished. Now you have to think about your windows, the people in your stores—it’s a second job.”
He hired fashion designers to put a creative stamp on what for decades had been a shapeless nylon sack. First came Junya Watanabe and Nicolas Ghesquière. Later, Moncler split men’s and women’s collections under Thom Brown and Giambattista Valli. With designers came fashion shows, but the routine stroll up and back on a catwalk clearly wasn’t going to cut it. Even a designer down jacket with silk fabric and a fur collar still looks like a down jacket. So Ruffini bet big on extravaganzas where the down jackets themselves were secondary.
A 2011 show in Grand Central Station. Photo: Courtesy of Moncler
In 2010, he positioned 100 young men and women on scaffolding at New York’s Chelsea Piers and had them stand in the cold for two hours while editors sipped hot chocolate. He convened a 363-person flash mob in Grand Central station. He sent 180 ice skaters around the Wollman Rink in Central Park. “He told me, ‘I don’t want a normal fashion show—I’m after another vision, a different way of showing. I’m not selling a collection, I’m selling an attitude,’ ” says Etienne Russo, who staged those shows. “You couldn’t really see the clothes, but this was for the longer term—for the gossip, for the word of mouth, for the Instagram feeds.”
Ruffini took Moncler public in 2013. He had gone through several private equity partners by then, and he says he was sick of looking for new ones every few years. The public offering instantly boosted his visibility and his bank account. The stock opened at a price that valued Moncler at around $3.5 billion, but such was the clamor for shares that the company ended the day worth just over $5 billion, a 47 percent jump in an afternoon. Ruffini’s 32 percent stake made him an “overnight billionaire” in the next day’s headlines.
It’s been pretty much straight up since then. Revenues grew from $800 million in 2013 to $1.43 billion in 2017. Profits did even better, rising from $104.6 million to $299 million. Ruffini’s stake is down to 26 percent today, but Moncler stock has more than doubled, making his smaller stake of the now-$11.5 billion company worth almost $2.7 billion.
A 1952 poster. Photo: Courtesy of Moncler
That performance is all the more impressive considering that Moncler really sells only one thing, and it’s a thing most people need only one of, and then only in certain cold places at certain very cold times. Ruffini has successfully denied that reality, and he keeps denying it. Earlier this year, Moncler opened a store in sweltering Dubai. “The best market for luxury today is travelers. People don’t want to buy anymore where they live,” says Ruffini.
Observers keep waiting for reality to catch up to Moncler. A year ago, Luca Solca, the luxury goods analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, downgraded Moncler’s stock to underperform. “It would be naive to expect any brand to sustain growth above the market average forever,” Solca wrote in an analyst note in May 2017. In the first half of 2018, Moncler announced revenue of $575 million, 27 percent above the same period in 2017 at constant exchange rates. Net income was up 47 percent to $71.7 million. “We were wrong. We thought the stock would be quiet, but then it wasn’t,” says Solca, who subsequently raised the rating. “It’s still a one-trick pony, but Ruffini has built a great machine.”
An image from the Pierpaolo Piccioli collaboration. Photo: Suzanne Jongmans
I saw what that pony could do on a tour through Moncler’s wholesale showroom in Milan. The racks were lined with hundreds of down jackets, no two of them alike, and almost none of them bearing much resemblance to the bread-and-butter puffer Ruffini wore to school (they also weigh about a tenth as much). Some had nylon panels stitched in intricate geometric patterns. Some had leather or camouflage outer shells. One had the motto “From Down Jacket” printed on it, just so you don’t lose sight of where Moncler is coming from. A rose-colored creation with a matching faux-fur collar is apparently a big seller, but it’s obviously not meant for me (Moncler’s sales are split evenly between men and women).
It’s enough to make anyone nostalgic for the days when a fashion house had that quaint thing called a look. “In some ways, I kind of miss the days of a Christian Dior, ” says Craig Green. “But people just don’t want to keep seeing the same thing. It really shifts your head space to something you’re not used to.”
An image from the 1970 Moncler catalog. Photo: Courtesy of Moncler
If this reminds you of the sneaker business with its bewildering merry-go-round of short-lived styles, well, Ruffini doesn’t exactly discourage the comparison. “The young generation may buy the $90 Adidas, but they dream of getting the Pharrell collaboration for $700. This is the game at the moment, and it works.”
Of course, when you’re surfing the zeitgeist, you’ve got to make sure you don’t miss the next wave. When Ruffini goes to Tokyo, perhaps three times a year, there’s a particular coffee shop in Shibuya where he likes to sit for several hours. “It’s very important to do nothing,” says Ruffini. “You see thousands of people walking across the street, and you notice the differences. Maybe the Genius Building is good for today, maybe it can last three years, maybe it can last 10 years. You must be ready to make something new.”