A trip to Chamonix Base Camp 2015 was a good opportunity to review Millet’s new products for the 2016 spring/summer season. Combining personal get togethers, presentations and outdoor product testing activities, this French maison has decided on “Rise up!” to summarise the concept behind their new course: rise up, be positive, improve yourself. There is no real distinction between “vertical” and “horizontal” activities; Millet prefers to talk about young climbers, explorers, athletes and amateurs who experience the mountains as an environment ideal for adventure, exploration, challenges and wellbeing in both physical and mental terms.
The 2016 Millet Summer collection, presented by Michel Pacallet, highlights a will to celebrate a glorious past for French climbing while tending to woo a young dynamic target that has exploration, mountain or urban, in its DNA. The Trilogy Limited Series on the one hand pays homage to the quintessence of climbing represented by the concatenation of three historic slopes like the Eiger, Matterhorn and Grand Jorasses by Eric Escoffier – wearing Millet gear – in March 1987, an enterprise recalled in the logo, colours and details of the new products. On the other hand lies “alpine fluidity”, that is to say the art of moving elegantly on all types of terrain, at the core of the identity of Millet’s products, starting with its backpacks.
Fundamentally for the French company the experience gained by cooperating with the Chamonix alpine guides who use Millet products every day and provide valuable feedback helps constantly improve the features of backpacks, jackets, footwear and accessories in terms of both comfort and durability. It’s not by chance that Millet uses the slogan “Guided by Guides”, seen in the video here, to underline the importance of its cooperation with the oldest and most numerous group of alpine guides in the world (founded in 1821).
Without going into the products too deeply because they’ll be presented at OutDoor (Friedrichshafen) in July and illustrated by our videoclips, it’s clear that Millet has taken great care with this collection from the points of view of both design and materials. Their backpacks, right from the start the cutting edge product of the French company, display some really interesting solutions for climbing and urban use. An example is the model with a waterproof pocket perfectly integrated into the backpack for carrying tablets or computers.
Attention to its image has led Millet to patent a special design that recalls the initials of the brand, used on the uppers of fast hiking and approach boots, to give the products a distinctive identity that stands out from the competition. Other very interesting products are climbing and mountaineering boots, ideally “merged” into a single product with the ambition to combine the sensitivity of climbing boots with the protection of those for high altitude trekking; a model resulting from the direct experience of the Chamonix alpine guides presented as the highlight of the 2016 Millet Spring/Summer Footwear collection.
Field tests performed in a day covering three activities: trekking, climbing and mountaineering, have confirmed the impression gained at the product preview. Whereas Millet’s name as a producer of the top in backpacks is confirmed, apparel and boots gave everyone a pleasant surprise, which testifies to the fact that the French maison has taken care of even the smallest details in this new collection. Besides the technical materials, for which the partnership with Gore-Tex and Vibram continues, the products present a range of interesting, not particularly daring colours; in particular the la Trilogy Limited Series uses a “blue” that recalls the French tradition, combined with red and white inserts that are further proof of the company’s links with tradition. Naturally, the climbing and fast hiking collections feature bright colours whereas footwear combines shades and design where details such as an insert in the uppers or a special feature in the soles give a touch of elegance and personality to Millet products.
In conclusion, this Millet Chamonix Base Camp has been the perfect chance to find out at first hand the guidelines for the present and future of the French enterprise. A tribute to tradition with the Trilogy Limited Series, cooperation with the Chamonix-Mont Blanc alpine guides as special consultants, “alpine fluidity” as perfectly balanced movements in all contexts, no distinction between vertical and horizontal activities and “Rise up!” to summarize the spirit of this Millet Summer Collection 2016.
Andrea Bonetti – MountainBlog.eu