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PARIS — He’s experimented with down outerwear before, so Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière knew exactly what to do when Moncler approached him to do a joint label for next season. His luxurious vests — one with a hood, another lined in flannel and a third with an asymmetric closure — are part of the pre-fall collection he’s showing and selling to retailers here this week. Ghesquière was eager to use the French outerwear firm’s expertise with high-tech down, which he melded with his flair for unique fashion detailing. These include unpadded nylon sleeves that zip out, a meticulously sculpted hood and a heavily embroidered military crest that adds a touch of high fashion to down.

This story first appeared in the February 2, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.