There’s no denying that fashion is a serious business. It’s become a multi-billion dollar industry and the whole world reveres it. Even the images the industry has conjured up is serious—models are fierce and clothes are constricting. It’s also noted to be a cut-throat industry, one of the most competitive fields in the world. As the famous Heidi Klum saying goes, “In fashion, one day you’re in, the next day, you’re out!”. However, not all designers and labels have conformed to the industry’s idea of fierceness and seriousness. For many, fashion should be fun, light, cheery, and optimistic. The house of Moschino certainly shares this idea.
Unlike other fashion houses, Moschino always has a message in their designs, mostly with a sense of humor. Their clothes are often eccentric, colorful, and quirky, different from other Milanese brands who are more so serious and fierce. Their injection of humor and freedom of expression is what sets them apart from the entirety of the industry. Although often misunderstood, the label still respects the rules and traditions instituted in fashion, but the company often moves to the beat of their own drum. Their nonchalant approach to fashion is what helped them achieve commercial success, even though critically, they’re often panned.
The company was founded in 1983 by Franco Moschino. His label quickly rose to prominence by is his innovative and quirky designs—often injected with comical relief or a message to society. He introduced the idea of trotting out clothes with slogans and images that directly criticized the world of fashion and beyond—making his runways a protest of sorts. It was completely different from what other houses were offering at that time, which were either exuberant haute couture or exotic and sexy. Due to his untimely death in 1994, the label was led into the 21st century by Moschino’s assistant, Rossella Jardini.
Similarly to her former boss and predecessor, Jardini offered clothes that were eccentric, quirky, and outright ridiculous at times. She continued his traditions of social commentary through fashion. She became known for injecting other cultures into her collections, such as the military outfits of the British or the matador costumes of the Spanish. She was also unafraid to use bright pops of color, often in very strong hues against black and white backdrops. She also referenced other fashion houses’ heritages as well, like Chanel, Balenciaga, and Dior. She worked as creative director of the brand until 2013, culminating almost a two-decade-long career in the label.
Apart from the main line, the company has also launched a series of subsidiary lines, targeting a variety of customers, most of which are with more affordable price ranges. In 1988, they launched Moschino: Cheap and Chic, a secondary womenswear line offering pieces with the same design quality but at a lower price range, hence its name. There’s also the denim diffusion line called Moschino Jeans, which debuted back in 1896. In 2008, its name changed to Love Moschino. Apart from all these ready-to-wear lines, the brand has also released an array of accessories, fragrances, jewelry, and cosmetics—offering the customer a complete, head-to-toe wardrobe of Moschino.
Moschino Today: Jeremy Scott
In 2013, American designer Jeremy Scott was hired to succeed Rossella Jardini as the new creative director of the label. From the get-go, Scott’s collections became controversial, viral, and some of the most talked about season after season. He took the comical approach of Moschino to a higher level, often taking on pop culture themes and interpreting them literally on the runway. Some of his most memorable collections include the fast food-inspired Fall 2014, Spring 2015 inspired by Barbie, and the automobile-inspired collection of Spring 2016, complete with a carwash set on the runway. Although they’re not always critically-successful, they’ve induced many conversations in social media and among the fashion press.
Impact Beyond Fashion
Beyond the sense of humor that the brand is known for, Moschino runways are almost always full of subtext surrounding the problems of both the fashion industry and the world. One of the most iconic slogans of the brand, that has since been imprinted on numerous products, was “Fur Real”, a play words attacking the industry’s use of animal fur. Slogans such as that became a signature of the brand. Furthermore, the label was commissioned to design the opening outfits for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. That moment showed the significance the brand has accumulated throughout the year, both for Italy and in fashion.
Because of such outrageous designs, the house of Moschino has become the favorite of many pop superstars. The label has even been commissioned by a number of artists to design their tour costumes. First, there was Kylie Minogue in 2005 for her “Showgirl-The Greatest Hits Tour”, and Madonna in 2008 for her “Sticky and Sweet Tour”. From 2011-2012, Lady Gaga has the company design six outfits for her “The Born This Way Ball” tour. Legendary style icon Iris Apfel is also a known fan of the brand and have often worn their clothes on the street. On the red carpet, Katy Perry once wore an evening dress from Jeremy Scott’s Fall 2015 collection to the 2015 Met Gala. She even had designer by her arm that night as well.
As serious a business as fashion is, it can also still be a lot of fun, as proven by Moschino. No other house has injected so much humor and witness quite like the Italian brand.