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Battle of the Sundance Parkas: A Guide to Hollywood's Favorite Brands

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Chelsea Handler wears at Mackage coat at the Women's March at Sundance Film Festival

Emma Stone's favorite Canada Goose vs. Olivia Palermo's Moose Knuckles and more.

Once a year, Angelenos who are spoiled by 65-degree "winters" make the trip Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival — or, as we like to call it, the Parka Parade.

Like the Hollywood red carpet during awards show season, Park City's snowy Main Street is ready made for celebrity brand placement. And this season, when puffer jackets are making a fashion statement from the Balenciaga runway to Old Navy, competition is fierce.

Even with last year's warmer temperatures, Hollywood's favorite fashion parka brands — Moncler, Canada Goose and Mackage, to name a few — outperformed other outerwear purveyors in 2016, who were forced to sell their stock at heavy discounts. Turns out when it comes to dressing for winter, it's the name — not the weather — that dictates sales. That, and the fact that upper tier parka brands are seen as long term investments, rather than one-and-done seasonal throwaways.

In addition to the classic luxe brands, there are a few up-and-comers infiltrating the market with modern takes on the Michelin Man look. But what makes each brand unique? Here, a guide to the puffers that will be keeping Hollywood warm this week.

CANADA GOOSE

 

A photo posted by Canada Goose (@canadagoose) on

The look: New Hollywood glam.

Who wears it: Canada Goose’s signature red parkas have been worn not only by the Canadian Rangers, Antarctic explorers and dogsledding champions, but they were also featured on the silver screen in National Treasure and The Day After Tomorrow in 2004. Celebrity fans include Ansel Elgort, Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Drake's OVO did a collaboration with the brand, too. Canada Goose is an official sponsor of Sundance, and has a base camp there.

The backstory: Canada Goose was founded in Toronto in 1957 by Polish immigrant Sam Tick, who called the company Metro Sportswear Ltd. The company specialized in vests, raincoats and snowmobile suits before it created its now famous down-filled puffers and parkas in 1970.

What’s in a name: Dani Reiss, grandson of Tick, became CEO of the company in 2001, and made the decision to officially change the name to Canada Goose. He also pledged his commitment to keeping the company Made in Canada.

Sundance-approved style: Expedition parka with coyote fur ($1,000)

MOOSE KNUCKLES

The look: Indie up-and-comer.

Who wears it: Fashion girls Olivia Palermo, Chanel Iman and Suki Waterhouse as well as The Chainsmokers and Katie Holmes.

The backstory: Family-owned brand Moose Knuckles Canada was founded in 2007 as a luxury outerwear company. Like Canada Goose, Moose Knuckles prides itself on its Canadian roots; the brand has manufacturers in Winnipeg and furriers in Toronto while its design headquarters is located in Montreal.The coats are insulated with duck down and each emblem is made from steel and finished in metallic colors, including a 14k gold-plated option. According to the website, the interior logo’s depiction of a hockey fight between Canada and “our neighbor to the South” reflects “our brand’s humorous spirit and the love Canadians have for our national sport.”

What’s in a name: According to the Urban Dictionary, “moose knuckles” is the male version of a camel toe. What does that look like, you ask? BuzzFeed answered that question 18 different ways following the 2014 winter Olympics.

Sundance-approved style: The fur-trimmed Stirling Parka ($850)

AETHER

 

A photo posted by AETHER Apparel (@aetherapparel) on

The look: Do-gooder director.

Who wears it: Wouldn't you like to know? Though it launched just seven years ago, the brand's clean, anti-flashy aesthetic has garnered a cult following. 

The backstory: Aether was founded as a menswear line in 2009 by former movie producers Palmer West and Jonah Smith; the brand launched womenswear in 2012. Ironically, the outerwear specialists are headquartered in sunny Southern California, in Los Angeles. Their flagship store is located on La Brea, with an walk-in freezer to test coats, and they also have stores in chillier New York, San Francisco and Aspen. According to their website, Aether’s lifestyle collection is designed with urban dwellers in mind — those who are seeking warmth without the puff of a traditional cold-weather coat. The brand has collaborated with Italian brand Spidi as well as SALT Optics in the past.

What’s in a name: Aether is a nod to the founders’ gravitation towards a clean, minimalistic aesthetic as well as their love of the outdoors. (Aether is also a colorless and highly flammable volatile liquid… take that as you will.)

Sundance-approved style: The Capsule down jacket ($875)

MONCLER

 

A photo posted by Moncler (@moncler) on

The look: Old Hollywood glam.

Who wears it: Gwyneth Paltrow, Drake, Reese Witherspoon and Salma Hayek.

The backstory: Moncler is a French lifestyle line founded in 1952 and now headquartered in Milan. The brand initially created quilted sleeping bags and covered tents, and began making its signature quilted, down-filled coats in 1954. In 2016, the brand paid homage to its history during its men’s Moncler Gamme Bleu show in which creative director Thom Browne staged a runway stacked with tents; the 2017 menswear show featured a snow-covered runway. Moncler’s rich history has included campaigns photographed by the likes of Annie Leibowitz as well as collaboration with fashion’s cool kid Virgil Abloh

What’s in a name: Moncler took its name from an abbreviation of Monestier-de-Clermont, an alpine town near Grenoble, France.

Sundance-approved style: Joinville parka ($1520)

MACKAGE

 

A photo posted by Mackage (@houseofmackage) on

The look: Action hero.

Who wears it: Madonna, Meghan Markle, Priyanka Chopra and Chelsea Handler (who wore the brand most recently to lead the Women's March at Sundance).

The backstory: Mackage was launched in 1999 by designers and childhood friends Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan when they were just 20 years old. The label has since become one of the largest outerwear retailers in North America, with flagship stores in New York and Canada, and boasts ethically sourced duck down. In 2013, Mackage expanded its portfolio to include handbags.

What's in a name: In a 2012 interview with The Fashion Spot, Elfassy noted that the name stemmed from his niece's improper pronunciation of "maquillage" (French for makeup). 

Sundance-approved style: Kerry Jacket with raccoon fur ($890)

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