Or so it does according to Jeremy Scott. The designer currently at the helm of Italian fashion house Moschino has brought the brand into a renewed renaissance since taking over the role of creative director from Rossella Jardini in 2013. The House of Moschino was originally founded by Franco Moschino in the 1980s and its penchant for social commentary on the fashion industry and beyond soon become a tour de force.
Like Moschino himself, Jeremy Scott likes the drama of the runway and isn’t afraid to take aim at the cultural icons of our age. There has been a Barbie collection, a take on the colors and style of fast food icon McDonald’s, and most recently a car wash collection. With its runway themes, the brand is sometimes reminiscent of Karl Lagerfeld’s work with Chanel where every runway collection is set in a specific time, place, or situation. Save for Fall 2016 of course, where Karl made a statement with a un-themed, non-front row show reminiscent of the couture houses of ages gone by.
But we digres: Back to Moschino. The brand’s Fall 2016 collection was pure Moschino with a simple message: Fashion Kills à la Smoking Kills. Scott said that he was inspired by the Bonfire of the Vanities. He was not referring to the book by Tom Wolfe, but instead the period in 1497 Florence when religious zealots took to burning works of art and culture in response to the Renaissance. The collection was a message to those who criticize his work and he used the smoking theme to show visually the damage done by these Florentine monks in their wake. And going deeper on the subject, the designer explained that, as people are addicted to cigarettes, they are also addicted to fashion.
Among a set décor of what appeared to be the remnants of a decadent stately home with a love of the Baroque that is slowly withering away, a bevy of Moschino-clad models walked the runway with the biker attitude of a mob in charge. The smoking reference started slowly as the main foci of the beginning of the collection were Moschino staples of denim, leather, and t-shirts with swaths of boldly-colored 1980s evening gown fabrics. Then came the chained skeletons that elevates the look of not-so simple little black dresses. Next was the warning label t-shirt worn as a dress under an animal print fur coat.
By the middle of the collection, the reference was clear: patterns of lips with cigarettes, several looks that played on the Marlboro color palette with a Moschino reference, and cigarette packet purses. A Le Smoking jacket was topped with a top hat and turned on its literal head as both had been clearly charred with smoke. The final garments of the collection, all evening gown attire, were charred similarly and many were accompanied with their own train of smoke that appeared as the model sashayed in the garment.
And ending the collection with high-voltage chandelier references provided a reminder that we were in fact watching a Moschino show, where Mr. Scott always needs to include something over-the-top. It wouldn’t be Moschino without it.
The designer’s point about peoples’ addiction to fashion is well made and very true. As the industry has grown to now include six seasons every year for the major fashion houses (Pre-Fall, Fall Ready to Wear, Fall Menswear, Resort, Spring Ready to Wear, Spring Menswear), consumers are accusomed to a constant stream of new fashion to digest and celebrate. We are addicted to the new and expect it to come at regular intervals, much in the same vein as the constant releasing of the latest and greatest smart phone and the 24-hour news cycle.
While it feeds into our ever-shorter attention spans, I would not blame the industry solely for perpetuating this cycle. If there wasn’t a demand from consumers, brands would not produce so many collections. That’s just simple economics.
By the way, the six season number does not include twice-yearly couture shows that are a staple for brands like Chanel and Armani. It’s also important to note that Moschino releases six collections a year as described above. So does this collection mean to show that Moschino is changing its ways? No, that’s just not fashion.